‘Elevated levels’ of legionella found at Darlington Memorial Hospital

The Northern Echo reports the showers on a hospital’s maternity unit will not be in use for weeks after special equipment was installed to stop legionella from entering its water system.

The filtering equipment had to be installed at Darlington Memorial Hospital after elevated levels of legionella was discovered during routine testing of water samples on the site.

A spokeswoman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said no infections linked to the bacteria – which can cause Legionnaires’ disease – had been identified in either current or recently discharged patients, adding that the situation was being monitored.

But as a result, the trust has had to install filters connected to all showers and cold water taps to maintain the hospital’s drinking supply.

It means there is not sufficient water pressure on the maternity unit, which is at the top of the hospital, to allow women to have showers on either the labour or ante-natal ward.

It also means the hospital’s water birthing facility is not in use.

The new equipment aimed at restoring shower facilities is scheduled to arrive by September 9.

It is understood the unit has been without showers for a number of weeks.

A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, “As part of routine and regular testing of our water supply, elevated levels of Legionella have been detected in water samples from several areas across the Darlington Memorial Hospital site.

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