No date for reopening of St Albans hydrotherapy pool

Cllr Roma Mills stands outside St Albans Hospital which has closed it's hydrotherapy pool

Cllr Roma Mills stands outside St Albans Hospital which has closed it's hydrotherapy pool - Credit: Archant

Health chiefs have again been accused of dragging their feet over reopening St Albans Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool, now in its fourth month of closure.

St Albans district councillor for Batchwood, Roma Mills, said she had received calls from residents concerned about whether the pool would close permanently.

She wrote to West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to ask whether, and when, it would reopen.

The hydrotherapy pool is vital to help relieve pain in arthritis sufferers and is also used for post-operative care and exercise treatments.

The trust told her it had been closed in late September because of a gas leak in the main pipe feeding the pool and it was not known when it would open again.

Cllr Mills said: “This seems to be dragging on and I am worried about the possible loss of the service. It is much valued by those who use it.”

She was recently told by the trust that it was looking at various options including repair work or closing it permanently to use the funding for other therapies.

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Cllr Mills said: “I find this response very disappointing and really do not think it is satisfactory to have no indication of when the pool will be available.”

The pool has previously been closed for an extended period – in 2008 it remained shut for more than seven months after a bacterium was discovered in the water, despite assurances it would reopen within weeks.

In a joint statement to the Herts Advertiser the trust and Herts Community NHS Trust confirmed the pool was closed because of a damaged pipe.

Patients are being offered alternative forms of therapy.

The statement added: “As the pipe runs from the pool under the whole length of the hospital site it is not something that can be fixed easily or quickly.

“We appreciate the inconvenience that closure is causing and are urgently looking to identify a solution and get the repairs carried out so the pool can be reopened as soon as possible,” it explained.

The trusts said patients would be told when the pool was expected to reopen “once work progresses”.