Legionella review highlights improved monitoring needed

17 October 2013
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have today welcomed Queensland Health's report into the Wesley Hospital legionella outbreak, saying the review had highlighted inadequacies in current hospital practices regarding legionella detection and monitoring that could put patients at risk.

Maurice Blackburn medical negligence specialist Sarah Atkinson said it was hoped the findings and recommendations of the review would be acted on as a priority.

"It is unacceptable to have had such a serious outbreak of legionella in a major hospital in this day and age with what we know about how legionella bacteria develops and spreads," Ms Atkinson said.

"It is also concerning that 106 facilities tested positive to legionella bacteria, showing it was a widespread problem.

"These incidents and the review have highlighted that current measures for preventing and checking of legionella bacteria in our hospitals are inadequate and we welcome that action is going to be taken quickly to improve this and to help bring Queensland's standards in line with other states.

"People have a right to expect that when they enter a hospital in Queensland they will not be at risk of legionella infection, particularly given it is easily preventable.

"In addition to implementing the recommendations, it is important that regular review and monitoring is done to ensure that any new standards are being complied with.

"It was also concerning that private residential care facilities are only being requested and not required to adopt a water quality risk management plan   - this does not go far enough, and we would urge for this component to be reconsidered to ensure patient safety remains a priority," she said.

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