Warning of ‘high risk’ to water supply at Glasgow hospital

The BBC has published a very interesting article about the warnings of high risk water that were placed in the Glasgow Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Warnings about the risk of water contamination at Scotland’s largest hospital were issued just days after it opened, according to a leaked report.

The 2015 inspection report into Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) was passed to Labour MSP Anas Sarwar by whistleblowers.

It ranked infection control measures as “high risk” in several areas.

The hospital stayed open despite the warnings but has since had to close wards due to the risks from the water.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) insists the hospital campus has a “safe and effective water supply” and all inspection reports have been acted upon.

In the Scottish Parliament, Mr Sarwar said that he had seen figures which suggest there were 50 cases of infections at the Royal Children’s Hospital – part of the £842m QEUH campus – between 2015 and 2018, and a further 15 unconfirmed cases so far this year.

The mother of 10-year-old Milly Main has previously said she was “100%” certain contaminated water caused her daughter’s fatal infection after treatment for leukaemia in August 2017.

NHSGGC insisted it was impossible to determine the source of Milly’s infection, and those of other children, because there was no requirement to test the water supply at the time.

Kimberly Darroch and 10-year-old Milly Main, who died in 2017

The documents seen by Mr Sarwar show NHS Estates commissioned three separate independent reports into the water supply at the QEUH.

The first Legionella assessment, carried out by private contractor by DMA Water Treatment on 29 April 2015 – two days after the hospital welcomed its first patients – categorised the management of the bacteria as “high risk” because there was “significant communication issues between the parties” responsible for managing the risk.

The report also warned;

  • there was a risk of stagnating water in parts of the 14-storey building, increasing the risk of infection
  • that cold and hot water supplies were not running at the right temperature
  • and that five plant rooms in the hospital were deemed to be “high risk”

Inspectors also found debris, including washers, in a water tank and recommended it was cleaned and disinfected.

The harshest part of this article is not that these risks were found in the first place, but the fact they were ignored and even worse lied about. It is so important that facilities such as hospitals act on the risk assessments they’re provided by compliance specialists.

To read the full article post click here.

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