Legionella risk assessment needed by GP practices

Carrying out a Legionella risk assessment is an essential requirement for GP practices to demonstrate that they are fully compliant with health and safety regulations and legislation.

This point as been made clear with the case of the Hawthorn Drive GP practice in Ipswich, which has been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission, the social and health care watchdog.

One of the findings detailed in the CQC’s inspection report was that the practice, which cares for more than 8,000 NHS patients, had not undertaken a Legionella risk assessment.

The Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaire’s disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

Legionella risk to GP patients

There is a greater risk of elderly people and people with weakened immune systems contracting Legionnaire’s disease, so GP surgeries need to be sure they are Legionella compliant.

The report, which has been published following a planned inspection in November 2016, acknowledged that practice staff have pledged to make improvements, including to systems for Legionella control.

Carrying out a Legionella risk assessment is the first stage in a four-stage process to put in place an effective regime for the control of the Legionella bacteria.

Without carrying out a risk assessment, companies, organisations, and public bodies, such as GP surgeries, cannot demonstrate they are meeting their legal obligations in relation to the Legionella bacteria.

Once the Legionella risk assessment is completed, remedial work can be carried out, if it is needed, Legionella monitoring can be put in place, which includes an appropriate water system testing regime, and Legionella awareness and technical training can be given to staff.

Legionella data records vital

Robust recording and management of data to demonstrate Legionella compliance is also vital.

LegionellaSafe is a specialist consultancy that delivers the full range of Legionella compliance services, including risk assessments, monitoring, testing, recording and training.

It works with a range of health facilities, including GP practices, hospitals and specialist units to support their Legionella compliance strategies.

Steve Morris, Sales Director of LegionellaSafe, said: “Best practice is to have a robust Legionella compliance regime in place from the start. We work with clients to ensure this happens, and to put in a recovery plan if standards have been found to fall short.”

Need expert advice or help from LegionellaSafe? Call 0808 133 0131 or email info@legionellaSafeservices.co.uk.

Legionella control vital for dental practices

For dental practices, following Legionella control procedures to the letter, showing they have done all that is expected of them to keep their staff and patients safe is vitally important.

The safeguards to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease should be considered a chain of actions that need to be taken to minimise the risk of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

A dental practice in Bolton has been criticised for failing to adopt this approach regarding its management of a Legionella risk assessment carried out at the premises in 2015.

CQC investigated Legonella control

Bolton Road Dental Centre in Farnworth, was visited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector in December 2016. One of the key areas its team looked at closely were procedures for Legionella control.

The CQC’s official report, published on 17 January 2017, found that recommendations in a Legionella risk assessment, carried out in January 2015, had not at the time been acted upon, namely that water temperature testing was not being carried out.

That means the CQC was concerned that actions recommended as a result of the Legionella risk assessment had been delayed by nearly two years.

Four stages of Legionella compliance

Legionella risk assessments are the first crucial stage in a four-stage process for achieving Legionella compliance that all organisations must go through.

Understanding the specific risks of a property allows a robust plan to be devised and implemented to maximise the safety of staff, customers and the wider public.

In most cases, an independent, skilled and experienced Legionella expert is commissioned to carry out the Legionella risk assessment. It is then the responsibility of the organisation to act on the findings.

LegionellaSafe has many years of experience in carrying out Legionella risk assessments. We can also then devise the follow-up plan to carry out Legionella remedial work, if required, and establish good Legionella monitoring systems to minimise the risk of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

Bolton Road Dental Centre said it had worked hard to act on the findings in the CQC report and to improve its health and safety standards.

Need expert advice or help from LegionellaSafe? Call 0808 133 0131 or email info@legionellaSafeservices.co.uk.

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