‘Potentially lethal’ bug bacteria found in hospital water supply sparking urgent action


LEGIONNAIRES’ bacteria has been found in the water supply of a Scots hospital.

Legionella bacteria was found during work on pipes at Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.


Legionella was found in the water supply at the Western Isles Hospital
Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaire's disease


Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaire’s disease

Heightened levels of the bacteria that can potentially cause serious lung infection were found in the cold water system at the hospital.

NHS Western Isles said they water system is separate from the site’s drinking supply which remains unaffected.

As a precaution, bottled water is being given to patients while an investigation is being launched.

The health board said the risk of contracting Legionnaires disease was extremely low.

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But they added precautionary measures were in place that included three-times daily flushing of the water system.

Hand washing stations have also been replaced by portable sinks while regular tests are carried out.

A NHS Western Isles statement said the discovery was made during routine water testing.

It read: “Essential work to replace isolation valves to the water distribution pipework at Western Isles Hospital commenced earlier this month.

“As part of this project, regular water testing is carried out at planned intervals throughout the project.

“Recent testing has shown elevated levels of Legionella species contamination of the cold water system in certain parts of the hospital.

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“The drinking water system is a separate system and is unaffected.

“Elevated levels of Legionella species are not uncommon across the country, and NHS Western Isles is experienced in managing such events.

“All necessary immediate actions have been taken, including three-times daily flushing of the water system throughout the hospital and the provision of bottled water for toothbrushing.

“Some sinks have also been removed from use. Portable sinks are being made available to be used on a temporary basis, which provide handwashing facilities without the need for plumbing.

“Point of use filters are being fitted to outlets as an additional precaution.”

It comes after the Scottish Sun revealed last week how hundreds of Scots cops cadets were left on alert after Legionnaires’ scare at Scotland’s police academy.

Cop cadets were warned to stay away from showers in one section of the college after the disease was discovered in five shower heads.

Around 300 rookies were said to be horrified when the bacteria scare came to light on Wednesday at the Scottish Police College.

Back in the Western Isles, the health board promised to continue to undertake regular sampling to check levels.

They added: “Once the valve replacement programme is complete next month, full decontamination of the cold water system will be carried out.

“Whilst the risk of contracting Legionnaires Disease is extremely low, patient safety is always our priority, which is why we have implemented robust measures.

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“These findings do not impact on patient care, although additional precautions are in place to reduce exposure to aerosolised water.

“NHS Western Isles continues to monitor the situation and is meeting as a formal Incident Management Team group on a daily basis to share progress, monitor risk and agree actions.”

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