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Hospital fined £80k for failing to follow safety guidance

A hospital was fined £80,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week for failing to control the risks associated with the legionella bacteria. The Royal United Hospital (RUH), Bath, NHS Trust was fined for being in breach of Regulations 6 and 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. It was also ordered to pay costs of £23,883. Daryl Eyles died in February 2004 after contracting Legionnaire’s disease from a dirty showerhead hours before he was due to leave the hospital, following successful treatment for leukaemia. Susan Chivers, the HSE inspector investigating the case, said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to all NHS Trusts that they need to assess the risks of Legionella bacteria in their water systems and put in place measures which effectively reduce these risks. They particularly need to ensure that their risk assessment takes into account the vulnerability of certain patients, such as those with reduced immunity to infection.”