Wolverhampton hospital shut after Legionella bacteria found in water system

Patients at a hospital in the Black Country have been temporarily moved after "increased levels" of the Legionella bacteria were discovered in the water system.

Penn Hospital. Photo: Google
Penn Hospital. Photo: Google

Staff at Penn Hospital in Wolverhampton, which offers 24-hour care and support to older people with mental health needs, were alerted to the issue on Sunday.

Legionella is a bacteria which can give rise to mild flu-like illness known as Pontiac fever – and a serious type of lung infection known as Legionnaires' disease.

Chris Masikane, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at the Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust which runs the Penn Road hospital, said: "Following routine water testing at Penn Hospital in Wolverhampton we can confirm that increased levels of Legionella bacteria has been identified in the water system.

"To ensure the comfort of patients’ is maintained, we have temporarily moved them whilst urgent works takes place to rectify the problem. We are liaising with staff, families and carers to keep them informed. We will continue to monitor the situation closely."

A woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Express & Star: "My daughter was told there had been an outbreak and patients and staff have come down with it – and the hospital has had to be shut down. The NHS trust emailed Sunday to say the hospital is shut until further notice because of the big outbreak."

The source added a worker at the hospital had become unwell and staff have been advised not to go into work – due to patients and staff having "come down with it", she alleged.

But a spokesman for the NHS trust said there were "no confirmed cases", but bosses "continued to monitor the situation closely".

It marks the second time there has been Legionella bacteria detected at the site, with health chiefs previously confirming it had been detected in 2014 in the water.

During that occasion access to some sinks, showers and toilets were blocked as a precautionary measure and temporary toilets were installed for patients to use.

Specialist filters were also been fitted on some showers so patients could continue to shower and where necessary bottled drinking water was provided.

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