Tuesday 01st August 2023,
North Edinburgh Community News

Legionella bacteria discovered in hospital water supply

Investigations are being carried out at the Western General Hospital following detection of Legionella bacteria in water supplying parts of the radiotherapy treatment area.

The source has been isolated and there have been no cases of infection in patients or staff.  The type of Legionella detected does not usually cause infection in humans.

In line with national guidance, a thorough programme of disinfection and cleaning is being carried out and services temporarily relocated to minimise any potential risk.

Essential patient services are continuing to be provided in other areas of the building.

Two specialist radiotherapy treatment machines (Linacs) have been temporarily closed while remedial works continue.

Patients who are normally treated on these Linacs will be reallocated to one of the other five treatment machines at the Western General Hospital which are not affected.

The remaining radiotherapy machines will be run for extended hours to ensure patient appointments continue to be allocated and carried out as quickly as possible.

Alison MacDonald, Nurse Director, NHS Lothian said: “Legionella bacteria was detected during routine water sampling as part of our building monitoring and hygiene vigilance measures.”

“The risk to patients and staff is low but we’ve enhanced infection and control measures across the building as a precaution. 

“We assure patients that radiotherapy treatments will continue to be carried out as quickly as possible and apologise to anyone who has been affected or had their appointment rescheduled.

“The situation is being closely monitored and continuously assessed. Patients will be kept informed of any changes and should speak to their treatment team if they have any concerns.”

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