PATIENTS in a Huddersfield hospital ward cannot take a shower because it is broken - and has been, on and off, for up to eight years.
People in Ward 8 at the Royal Infirmary have to brave cold water or visit other departments to wash, a patient said today.
The ward, on the top floor of the hospital, is awaiting major refurbishment as part of a £1m scheme to upgrade bathrooms at HRI.
Now, hospital bosses say patients will have to wait until April for a new shower to be put in place.
Cancer patient Val James, 61, is appalled that patients are being treated in this way.
She said: "It is about personal dignity. You should be able to start your day with a shower.
"Luckily I am mobile, but other patients are not.
"April is a long time to go with only stand-up washes."
Val, from Holmbridge, who has been in the respiratory ward for 10 days, said she had been using showers on other wards so she can wash her hair.
The former teacher, who retired from Longley Special School last year, said: "I was told the shower has been broken for as long as eight years.
"There is a bath with a shower attachment, but the water is cold before 9.30am.
"Even then it is only tepid.
"You really can't take a shower because you shiver," she added.
"In any case there is no shower curtain or bracket to hang the shower head from."
But Val praised ward staff for helping patients take showers in other wards.
She said: "The staff are wonderful and are doing their best.
"But it must be hard for them and it is affecting patient morale."
Heather McNair, associate director of nursing at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Royal Infirmary, said: "The shower in one of the bathrooms on Ward 8 is faulty.
"It has been mended on numerous occasions over the years.
"But unfortunately, due to significant drainage problems, it has flooded the ward below.
"This problem will be properly addressed at the beginning of this financial year as part of the major £1m bathroom refurbishment programme at HRI.
"Female patients in Ward 8 have access to bathing facilities, including a bath or a shower over a bath.
"They can also have access to a shower in Ward 9 opposite.
"If any patients have felt inconvenienced by the arrangements we ask them to bear with us until the new, modern bathroom facilities are installed," she added.