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Hospice sentenced after Legionella death

Date:
18 July 2016

A hospice based in Sydenham has been sentenced after a patient died of Legionnaires’ disease and a worker suffered life changing effects as a result of contracting legionnaires disease.

Southwark Crown Court heard how a man was admitted to St Christopher’s Hospice (SCH) on 9 July 2012. He was taken to a nearby Hospital on the 12 August 2012 where he died on 17 August 2012. He was subsequently found to have died of Legionnaires’ disease which he contracted during his time at the Hospice.

In December 2012, an orderly worker contracted Legionnaires’ disease while carrying out her duties at the Hospice and spent 18 days in a coma before making a recovery.

After the hearing HSE inspector Matt Raine said: “The risks of legionella are well known in the healthcare industry. St Christophers Hospice had implemented some measures in an attempt to control legionella. However they failed to appoint a competent person to manage the risk of legionella in the Hospice’s hot and cold water system.

“The failures in the management of legionella led to conditions in hot and cold water system that favoured the proliferation of legionellae. It was entirely foreseeable that there would be risk of contracting legionnaires disease for patients and employees working at this hospice.”

St Christopher’s Hospice, of Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 2(1)of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was sentenced to a two year conditional discharge, and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.

For further information on legionnaires visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/index.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk 
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/  
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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