Hospice sentenced after Legionella death

Southwark Crown Court have sentenced a Sydenham based hospice after a patient died of Legionnaires’ disease and a worker suffered life changing effects as a result of contracting legionnaires disease.

The 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.  He later died on 17 August 2012. He was subsequently found to have died of Legionnaires’ disease which he contracted during his time at the Hospice.

Later that year, 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.

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