File picture: The Oncology Centre at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Over 50 cancer patients waiting for treatment were turned away from the Oncology Department of the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday after a sewer problem caused all the toilets to back up.

Some of the patients, who came to get chemotherapy injections and Intravenous therapy (IV) said they were told to come back on Friday to get their treatments.

A source told Guardian Media the sewer started backing up after 9.30 am and half an hour later, the entire building was evacuated.

“The Oncology department has faced many closures over the past few months, a leaking roof, faulty air-conditioning unit and electrical malfunctions. Today, all the toilets started to back up and this caused a real stink and they had to send everyone home,” the source said.

When Guardian Media arrived at the department, a few people were seen leaving. A woman who walked tiredly said, “This is not the first time this has happened. It always happening.”

Contacted on the issue, the manager of Corporate Communications at the South West Regional Health Authority Kevon Gervais said, “The water situation at the department was addressed and speedily rectified earlier today by our team of engineers.”

He added, “All urgent care patients were attended, while less urgent cases appointments were rescheduled for tomorrow and the remainder of the week. There were minimum disruptions to our services.”