UPDATE: St George’s Hospital, Hornchurch, now closed to day patients following Legionella find

Hornchurch’s St George’s Hospital is now closed to out-patients after elevated levels of the Legionella bacteria were found in sections of its water system.

Last week, the hospital’s in-patients were moved to other sites due to the find.

The bacteria is commonly found in low numbers in water without risk, but high levels inhaled in droplets in the air can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease - although no cases have been found at the hospital.

A joint statement today (Monday) by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (Nelft) and NHS North East London and the City (Nelc) said: “Further test results received today show elevated levels of legionella bacteria in other areas of the site.

“As a precautionary measure, the trust has made the decision to relocate out-patient services and administrative staff based at St George’s Hospital.

“Moving services provided to vulnerable patients will be prioritised today. St George’s Hospital is closed to in-patient admissions. The situation is subject to ongoing review.”

Staff have started contacting day patients with details of new arrangements.

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Most inpatients have been moved to the Brentwo�d Community Hospital, some others to Grays Court, in Dagenham, while some were able to be discharged.

Medical staff from the hospital have also moved sites, along with the inpatients.

Administrative staff have also been moved away from the site today.

The estate is owned by the local PCT cluster, NHS North East London and the City. Inpatient services are provided by NELFT.

The hospital’s future has been the subject of controversy in recent months with the decision to move inpatients away from the site before the end of November having already been made.