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Hospital CleaningBasildon Hospital has been ordered to pay £350,000 after two patients died and another 6 were infected with Legionnaires’ disease due to hospital cleaning cut backs.

The hospital cut spending on chemical treatment of the water system in 2007 in what has been described as an “inappropriate cost saving measure”.

Specific hospital cleaning measures were ignored, such as shower heads and thermostatic values not being cleaned properly which should be standard procedure.

Prosecutor Pascal Bates said during the trial,

“This wasn’t a situation where for a brief period of time the hospital followed advice from a particular consultant which later turned out to be wrong.

“This was a lengthy period of time during which the hospital fell short of its responsibilities and failed its patients.

“In the 2002 case, specific problems, including not taking fully into account the findings of risk assessments, were identified and those remain characteristics of the more recent cases.”

In 2007 James Compton, 74, died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, while Raymond Cackett, 54, from South Ockendon died from the disease in 2010.

The hospital admitted to it’s failings under the Health and Safety at Work Act and have also said they accept the fine imposed by the judge.

Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker said,

“The hospital would wish to extend its apology publicly, particularly for the deaths of Mr Compton and Mr Cackett, but also to those who acquired Legionnaires’ disease but did not die.

“The trust acknowledges it failed to provide a safe environment but this has not been through a want of effort, funds or desire.”

Hospital cleaning is something which cannot be cut back on and it’s extremely important specific steps are taken to protect patients and visitors.

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