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Patients in two wards at children's hospital to be moved to enable drain cleaning investigations

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From January until June this year we experienced issues with the water supply in wards 2A and 2B of the Royal Hospital for Children when a number of patients were affected by bacteraemia. 

Our technical experts advised the metal parts inside taps were replaced with plastic ones, filters attached to the taps and the drains cleaned with a chlorine based detergent.  In addition the ward environment was cleaned with Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour (HPV). ​ 

After this work was completed there had been no new cases of bacteraemia for several weeks. 

But more recently there have been six new cases and although all the children have recovered and been discharged or are continuing with their normal treatments we instigated an Incident Management Team to further investigate and manage the situation. 

What we are seeing is a build-up of biofilm in the drains which is the same sort of biofilm we get in domestic sink drains. This build up has happened only seven weeks after they were cleaned by HPV. 

We have worked with national experts in Scotland and sought advice from UK experts on the issue as we seek to find a permanent solution and understand why this has happened. 

These wards treat children with cancer who have very low immunity to infections so to let our experts in and put cameras down the drains we need to move the patients. 

Ward 2A has a combination of haemato-oncology patients and other cancer patients.  Four bone marrow patients will move to the bone marrow adult ward (4b) in the adjoining Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).  

The remainder of the 22 patients from ward 2A and the outpatients who attend ward 2B (this is a day case ward with no inpatients) will move to another ward in the QEUH.   

Patient safety is the one key overriding issue and this temporary move will enable our technical experts to make thorough investigations. 

No other services at the Royal Hospital for Children are affected.

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