Legionnaires’ disease outbreak among staff closes Redhill mental health clinic

A mental health clinic had to be closed after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease among the staff.

Three staff members at Gatton Place in Redhill are known to have been diagnosed with the bacterial illness.

The community mental health hub in St Matthew’s Road was closed for five days from last Wednesday (February 5) while tests and a deep clean of the clinic were carried out.

Experts from Public Health England were brought in immediately.

All services and health visitor teams were sent to alternative locations in the county and made different arrangements to see patients and people using the services.

No source of the harmful bacteria was found and it was reopened on Tuesday (February 11).

Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust (SABP) runs the community hub, which offers services for adults in the Reigate and Banstead area with severe and enduring mental health problems.

Fiona Edwards, chief executive, told a board meeting on Wednesday (February 12) that closing the site was a precautionary measure to check if the source of the disease was at the clinic.

She said they were not sure the building was the source until they carried out full tests and a deep clean, adding that they are “confident it’s safe to use as a building now”.

Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection caught by inhaling droplets of water from things like air conditioning and hot tubs. It can usually be caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices, according to NHS guidance.

Treatment is usually antibiotics and some patients need oxygen tubes or machines to help them breathe if treated in hospital. Symptoms are similar to severe flu.

A statement from SABP Trust said it took the decision to close the clinic the same day it found out the staff were unwell.

Tests were carried out and precautionary measures were put in place in case the source of the disease was found to be in the clinic. All precautionary works are now complete and in place, the statement said, and no source of the harmful bacteria was found.

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