HC Deb 14 November 1991 vol 198 c655W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how often, and when, the central heating systems at Broadgreen hospital were checked for Legionnaire's disease.

Mr. Dorrell

Closed water systems, such as central heating, which do not generate aerosols will not infect patients or staff and are therefore not tested for the presence of legionella.

In 1988 the Department issued a code of practice on "The Control of Legionellae in Health Care Premises", published by HMSO, which provides detailed advice and guidance on the design, operation and maintenance of hot and cold water systems, cooling towers and other systems which can harbour legionella. It is for hospital managers to ensure compliance with that guidance. A copy of the guidance is available in the Library.

The code of practice does not, however, recommend routine testing of water systems for legionella on the basis that the bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment. Instead the guidance recommends measures designed to minimise the risks of legionella multiplying in water systems in a way that could cause outbreaks of disease.

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