Basildon Hospital will never be free from deadly water bacteria
15 September 2010
Basildon Hospital will never fully eliminate the legionella bacteria from its water supply, its boss has revealed.
Chief executive Alan Whittle said the hospital trust had hoped to remove all traces of the bug, which can lead to the potentially deadly legionnaires’ disease, from its water system.
However, he added: “We accepted some time ago, on the advice of experts, that we will never be able to completely eradicate the bacteria from such a large, complex water system.”
Mr Whittle promised everything was being done to prevent further patients contracting the disease.
He added: “We take the legionella risk extremely seriously.
“We test any patient with suspicious respiratory problems and we regularly test our water system for the bacteria.
“We have worked extensively over the years with external legionella experts and have implemented their advice.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure patients we take every possible precaution against the infection.”
Three deaths at the hospital are believed to be directly linked to legionnaires’ disease.
These include George Bate, who died in 2002, aged 77. Mr Bate’s death led to the hospital being fined £25,000.
The families of James Compton, 74, from Billericay, who died in 2007, and Raymond Cackett, 54, who died on March 11 this year, just nine days after bosses were condemned for failing to control outbreaks of the deadly bug, are still awaiting coroner’s inquests into the deaths.
It is believed they contracted the disease at the hospital.
However, until the inquests have taken place it will not be conclusively established whether they contracted the disease at the hospital or elsewhere.