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Belfast trust to be questioned over pseudomonas outbreak

5th April 2012

The chief executive and chair of the Belfast Trust are to be quizzed by Northern Ireland health minister Edwin Poots about the findings of an interim report on the pseudomonas outbreak.

Four deaths at hospitals in Londonderry and Belfast in December and January are being investigated by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).

From the interim findings, it has been stated that the Belfast Trust should have declared the outbreak sooner, a lack of communication between health officials has been criticised and the review team also discovered there was no common approach across neonatal units for declaring an outbreak.

Mr Poots said: “I think the Belfast Trust has answers to give, and I will be challenging them on these issues. I think that it’s vitally important that whenever letters go from chief medical officers, they’re taken seriously and they’re responded to in a timely and appropriate fashion.”

An independent review team led by Professor Pat Troop found the bug was linked to water from contaminated taps in neonatal units.

With concerns that the most likely reason for the bug spreading was the use of tap water in washing during nappy changes, the review team has recommended that in future only sterile water is used for washing babies in neonatal units.

Professor Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen and a leading expert in pseudomonas, said the interim report showed that there were various things that could have been done that were not carried out.

 

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