Totnes Community Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit temporarily closed

Published: 17 January 2019

The Minor Injuries Unit at Totnes Community Hospital has been temporarily closed today (Thursday 17 January 2019) following the discovery of Legionella bacteria in some taps and showers on the hospital site. The rest of the site – including inpatient wards and outpatient clinics – is continuing to operate as normal.

The Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU), which is run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, is being closed because it uses a lot of water and the site’s water system is currently being disinfected. The Trust hopes to re-open the MIU tomorrow (Friday 18 January 2019) once the disinfection of the building has been completed.

Patients needing Minor Injuries Unit treatment during this period are advised to visit Newton Abbot Community Hospital’s MIU which is open 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm.

Although it is normal for Legionella bacteria to be present in older buildings and any risk to people in a hospital setting is minimal, the Trust has decided as a precaution to temporarily close the MIU at Totnes Community Hospital while disinfection, further testing and remedial works are carried out.

The Trust’s swift actions will prevent the possibility of infection. However, anyone who has a compromised immune system* or is pregnant and develops a cough/fever above 38 degrees after a recent attendance at Totnes Community Hospital should seek advice from their GP – there is a urine test for Legionella that can be undertaken, performed at Torbay hospital, and should Legionella be detected, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Dr Selina Hoque, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We carry out regular testing of all our estate buildings, and are temporarily closing the Minor Injuries Unit whilst we are disinfecting the water system in the whole of Totnes Community Hospital.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the MIU closure, but protecting people’s health and safety is our first consideration.”

Further information:

* People with a compromised immune system include:

  • people taking high dose steroids
  • people receiving chemotherapy
  • people receiving injections for Rheumatological illnesses