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.