Routine three-monthly water quality testing at Longreach Hospital has returned two further lowlevel
positive results for Legionella bacteria.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Michel Lok said immediate action
had been taken to isolate two affected showers and ensure patients were not in contact with
them.

“We took similar action in March, when we cleared Legionella bacteria from three shower areas
that returned positive results during the previous round of three-monthly water quality testing,’’
he said.

“The latest two positive results were extremely low-level and do not represent a significant
health concern.

“Nevertheless, we will be shock-chlorinating the water system and replacing the affected tap
ware according to standard protocols for removing the Legionella bacteria.

“Once the water system had been cleansed and tap ware replaced, the affected areas will be
retested and will only be re-opened once they have tested clear.

“Clinical services at Longreach Hospital have not been affected in any way and there is no risk
to any patients or staff.’’

Mr Lok said Legionella bacteria were commonly found in the environment.

“The risks for staff, patients and visitors are low as the Legionella bacteria must be inhaled in
the form of water droplets to have any chance of being infectious,’’ he said.

“Secondly, it is generally only those that are particularly vulnerable, sick or immunecompromised
who are susceptible to infection.’’

Mr Lok said the Legionella was detected during routine water quality testing procedures that is
undertaken at the facility every three months.

“As part of our Water Quality Risk Management Plan, we routinely and regularly test all our
inpatient facilities on a regular basis,’’ he said

Mr Lok said the testing at Longreach Hospital had been done on 1 July, with the results
returned to the health service late on 12 July.

NOTE

On 26 May 2016, the Queensland Parliament passed the Public Health (Water Risk
Management) Amendment Bill 2016.

The objective of these new legislative requirements is to implement measures to improve the
management and control of health risks associated with the supply and use of water in hospitals
and residential aged care facilities, in particular the health risk associated with Legionella
bacteria.

The new laws also give effect to the State Government’s commitment to greater public
transparency of water testing activities being undertaken by these facilities.

This includes a requirement for the person in charge of a facility to notify the Department of
Health, within one business day, after becoming aware of a test result confirming the presence
of Legionella bacteria.

ENDS