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Legionnaire death sparks new fears at hospital
A PATIENT died of legionnaire’s disease at Basildon Hospital just days after bosses were condemned for failing to control outbreaks of the deadly bug.
The Echo can today reveal Raymond Cackett, 54, died on March 11 – nine days after the hospital was ordered to improve the way it tackles the bug.
The order came from health and safety chiefs following an outbreak last December, which was not made public by the hospital.
Yet six years ago, following previous outbreaks, hospital bosses promised to reveal any future incidents. When Mr Cackett died over two months ago, they stayed quiet.
His death comes as a further blow to the hospital which is still reeling from the catalogue of high profile scandals identified by health watchdogs in the winter.
In November, the A&E department was slammed in a hygiene report, carried out by the Government’s Care Quality Commission.
Three days later the hospital was criticised for high death rates by independent health watchdog, Dr Foster. This Echo investigation can also reveal the hospital is still facing serious problems, despite a vow to make urgent improvements.
These include: l The closure of six wards due a norovirus outbreak in March l Failure to reduce mortality rates to the necessary level l Complaints from patients soaring in February and March l Paying out for a clinical negligence claim l Breaching same sex ward requirements Problems with legionella has dogged the hospital since 2002, with at least eight patients suspected of contracting the bug.
In regards to the latest death, spokeswoman Nicola Laver said: “We can confirm a patient was admitted to the hospital on March 7 with respiratory symptoms.
“Legionella was confirmed on this occasion. The patient subsequently died.
“The patient had been in the hospital on a separate occasion within the previous month. An investigation is underway to establish where the legionella was contracted.”
The hospital would not comment on why it failed to reveal the December outbreak or death.
Days before Mr Cackett died, HSE inspectors discovered a string of failings in the control of legionella in the hospital’s hot and cold water system and gave the hospital until August 2 to make changes.
Officials ordered improvements to staff training, maintenance of quality control and monitoring of precautionary measures against the bug.
They also identified failings with: l the control of the bacteria in newly-built, or refurbished, parts of the hospital lActions taken when high legionella counts were identified lCommunication with water treatment contractors.
The hospital has yet to comply.
Have you been affected by legionella at the hospital or did you know Mr Cackett?
Call Jon Austin on 01268 469304 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.