Hospital admits fault over deadly legionella bacteria

The Argus have today reported that SUSSEX’S busiest hospital has admitted putting patients at risk of a deadly bug after one patient died.

Joan Rayment died after catching legionella – the bacteria which causes legionnaires’ disease, at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Now the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of putting patients at risk over a period of more than six years. The hospital’s chief executive Matthew Kershaw yesterday said he was “extremely sorry” for their failings and apologised unreservedly to Ms Rayment’s family.

The charge stated that between March 2007 and November 2013 the trust failed to ensure as far as reasonably practicable that persons not under their employ, including Joan Rayment, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, including the risk of legionella.

Simon Antrebus, defending the trust, entered a guilty plea on their behalf at Hove Crown Court yesterday.

Ms Rayment, 78, of Albion Hill, Brighton was admitted to the hospital’s Howard 2 ward in the Jubilee building in August 2011 suffering from blood cancer. While on the ward she developed legionella pneumonia – thought to have been caught from a shower- and later died.

An inquest into Ms Rayment’s death in 2013 concluded that although she died from natural causes, her death was accelerated because of catching legionella.

After her death dangerously high levels of legionella were found in the hospital’s Lawson Unit, Barry Building, Tower Block, Sussex Eye Hospital and outpatients department, as well as the Jubilee building where Ms Rayment contracted the bug. A Sussex Police investigation into Ms Rayment’s death found legionella was an “endemic problem” at the hospital.

The trust is due to be sentenced on May 18.

Source – The Argus for full story