FINDING SOLUTION: CEO Mark Radford said the health of patients is of top priority at Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital.
FINDING SOLUTION: CEO Mark Radford said the health of patients is of top priority at Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital. Claudia Williams

'Very serious': Hospital responds to deadly bacteria cases

CEO of the Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital, Mark Radford, said the health of patients and staff continued to be the hospital's top priority.

This comes after Queensland Health quarterly report data revealed legionella bacteria was detected 35 times in the health facility this year; the highest number across the Burnett region's 11 hospitals.

Twenty-two water samples were taken at the community hospital in Kingaroy between April 1 and June 30, the second quarter of 2018, and legionella bacteria was detected in every sample.

"We see things like this as a priority concern for us and the health of our patients and staff is always a priority. Anything we can do to protect this will be done and that is what we are doing in this situation," Mr Radford said.

"At the hospital we take these cases very seriously and we conduct regular mandatory tests every quarter and it is not only reported but we work with Queensland Health to make sure that immediate and appropriate action is taken to ensure the health of patients and staff."

Mr Radford said when a case of legionella is detected in the water the taps where the case was found are isolated and not used until they have been flushed out.

This is a short-term solution and the hospital is currently working with the South Burnett Regional Council to find a long-term solution.

Mr Radford said they had identified old and dead-end pipes were the reason behind the number of cases.

"When we first started to get two to three positive results we decided we needed to put this as a priority," he said.

"We are currently working with council on how to come up with a better solution to deal with the dead-end pipes and come up with a long-term solution."

Opposition leader and member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, said she was concerned by the number of legionella bacteria cases reported in Queensland.

"I am not comfortable with 170 hospitals and health centres having found traces of legionella," she said.

"Every life is precious to me in Queensland and we need to be doing everything we can to make sure that everyone that turns up to a health centre or hospital in Queensland gets the best care possible and certainly not subjected to legionella."

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