The risk of legionella infection in residential nursing and care homes is by their nature increased. This is due to the fact that the key occupants will normally be the elderly or those whom may have a lower immune system. Both old age and lowered immune systems substantially increase the risk of contracting the disease. In recent years there have been a number of care homes fined by the Care Quality Commission, The Health & Safety Executive and the courts for failures in both preventing legionella and legionella control.
The Care Quality Commission
Since October 2010 all adult social care providers that carry out activities that are 'regulated' under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010 must be registered with the Care Quality Commission. In order to register with the CQC care providers must be compliant with the new regulations and with the Guidance about Compliance: Essential Standards of Quality and Safety published by the CQC.
These “essential standards” cover a wide spectrum of areas and contain the outcomes the CQC expects service users to experience if a provider is compliant with the new regulations.
• Outcome 10: Safety and Suitability of Premises specifically requires service providers to manage risks in relation to legionella and to do so with reference to the Legionella Code of Practice.
• In addition, Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010, along with Outcome 8, refers to cleanliness and infection control and a new legal duty, applicable to adult social care providers, to protect service users against any “identifiable risks” of acquiring infections.
In July 2012 the Care Quality Commission and the HSE agreed to a "Liaison Agreement" in an effort to combat a range of issues including Legionella.
What Action Do We Need to Take? - The CQC will expect that the minimum requirements of the ACOP L8 are in place which includes a valid Legionella Risk Assessment (carried out within the last two years). They will also expect to see the results of annual Legionella Testing carried out by a UKAS Accredited Laboratory and the records of any recommended Legionella Prevention & Control measures.
It is important to note that what may satisify a CQC inspection may not meet all your legal health & safety obligations.
How We Can Help - Our WaterTech Engineers carry out a range of services including Legionella Risk Assessments, UKAS Accredited Legionella Testing, Legionella Control & Prevention and Legionella Awareness Training.
As a Duty Holder or person in charge of premises is it your responsibility to ensure anyone who undertakes work in your property is competent to do so. Our WaterTech engineers are City & Guilds and NVQ qualified, members of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, Water Industry Approved and Water Safe Registered. As Water Industry Approved Plumbers our engineers are recognised by DEFRA and the Secretary of State as Approved Contractors. Our engineers have also been trained by Legionella Control International and hold City & Guilds accreditation in Legionella Risk Assessment, Management & Control.
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