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Legionnaire’s bacteria found in water supply of Scots hospital

The bacteria which causes Legionnaire’s Disease has been found in the water supply at a Scots hospital.

Legionella was detected following routine testing of water in wards one and two – an endoscopy ward and a renal (kidney) ward – at Monklands Hospital, Airdrie. It was also found in the renal dialysis unit.

Patients are being given bottled water and told to avoid drinking tap water at the hospital while a probe is launched.

Staff handwashing facilities on toilets are also out of commission as a precautionary measure while testing is ongoing.

Last night Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “It is critically important that every hospital has robust infection control measures in place.

“People expect to go into the hospital to get better – not to pick up infections.”

She added: “I would hope that urgent action is taken in the interest of patient and staff safety.”

Susan Friel, Nurse Director Acute, NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Following routine water sampling legionella bacteria has been detected in the water system in the renal and endoscopy units.

“As soon as this was identified we immediately installed filters on both wash hand basins and shower outlets in both units to ensure the water was safe for use.

“As a precaution we have also fitted filters on the wash hand basins and shower outlets in Ward 2 which is served by the same water tank.

Monklands Hospital
Legionella has been found in two wards at Monklands Hospital

“We are working closely with microbiology and facilities colleagues to put in place further steps following these results to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

“This will include sampling on a regular basis until we have a full sets of negative samples and filters will remain in place for as long as required.

“We want to reassure our patients and staff that the risk of contracting legionella disease with this particular strain is extremely low and the measures we have taken are precautionary while we continue to sample the water.”

She added: “Patients are being contacted and staff are available to discuss any concerns they may have.”

“Currently there are no patients showing any signs of legionnaires disease and we will continue to monitor this closely over the next few days.

“NHS Lanarkshire follows the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (ARHAI) Scotland guidance and all standard infection prevention and control measures are in place to keep patients and staff safe.”

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It is understood bottled water was provided for renal dialysis patients but that the bacteria had not got into the water supply which serves the dialysis equipment because it comes from a separate source.

Christina Coulombe, head of infection prevention and control, added: “The option of portable sinks was discussed with staff and have now been provided in the areas requested by staff.

“Senior staff in all three areas can request further portable sinks by contacting facilities colleagues.

The Daily Record asked Anas Sarwar whether he supports the Scottish Government’s plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. He said:

“I think we have to wait and see what the detail of the legislation is. What is absolutely the case is that there is transphobia across our country. We still have huge issues around sexism and misogyny across our country, as well as other forms of prejudice and hate.

“And I want to live in a society where people live free of fear, are able to live their lives the way they choose to live their lives, and for us to try and continue the journey of creating a more equal and more progressive society. So we’ve got to see the details of the legislation, but absolutely trans rights are human rights, and we’ve got to fight for equality for all.

He also said there were “extreme elements” on “both sides” of the debate who had allowed the discussion to become “really black and white”. Sarwar said: “I think is really unfortunate. And I think that does a disservice to people who genuinely are having to live with prejudice and hate on a daily basis.”

We also asked his view on assisted dying, as Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur has a proposal for a member’s bill on this subject. Sarwar said:

“The contribution that I was most struck by, in response to the launching of Liam McArthur’s Bill was [Labour MSP] Pam Duncan-Glancy’s, who spoke about how what currently didn’t exist in Scotland was a right to live, and people who have really, really difficult personal circumstances, particularly those with disabilities, don’t get the opportunities they need to live the life that they wish. And so I think that’s a really, really powerful argument.

“Again I’ll look at the details of the bill, but it’s not something that I’m instinctively in favour of.”

“We have to re-emphasise that the risk of contracting legionella disease with this particular strain is extremely low and the measures we have taken are precautionary while we continue to sample the water.”

No patients have so far shown any signs of infection but patients who are no longer in the hospital are being contacted to let them know about the risk.

Legionnaire’s Disease is a lung infection you may contract by breathing in tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria which causes the infection.

It’s usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply.

If untreated it can be fatal but it normally responds reasonably quickly to intravenous antibiotics.

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