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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5355 ..


(1) Have copper overflow pipes been removed from any water header tanks, other water heater tanks, or other plumbing services at The Canberra Hospital (TCH) at any time since 1 January 2015; if so, (a) why, (b) how were they disposed of, (c) what material was used to replace them and (d) if the replacement material was other than copper (i) why was replacement material used and (ii) in what ways is it an improvement.

(2) Have brass taps been removed from any fire hydrants at TCH at any time since 1 January 2015; if so, (a) why, (b) how were they disposed of, (c) what material was used to replace them and (d) if the replacement material was other than brass, (i) why was the replacement material used and (ii) in what ways is it an improvement.

(3) Have there been any instances of legionella bacteria found in any HVAC or plumbing services at TCH since 1 January 2015; if so, (a) in (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017 and (iv) 2018 (to the date on which this question was published in the Questions on Notice Paper) how many instances were identified, (b) what causes were identified, (c) why were maintenance procedures inadequate to prevent their occurrence, (d) what action was taken to ensure patients, staff and visitors were not infected, (e) what action was taken to restore the quality of air and water services, (f) what action was taken to test for the presence of the bacteria after restoration of air and water quality and (g) what changes have been made to maintenance procedures to prevent repeat occurrences.

Ms Fitzharris: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) No.

(3) Yes.

(a) i. Two.

ii. None.

iii. Two.

iv. One.

(b) Warmer temperatures present higher risk periods for legionella growth in cooling towers. Legionella bacteria is commonly found in water. The bacteria are dormant below 20C and do not survive above 60C.

(c) The maintenance, sampling and testing procedures within all water systems (including cooling towers) within Canberra Health Services portfolio are managed as per best practice in accordance with required Australian Standards. All systems are currently without maintenance issues.

(d) Water Quality is actively managed by the Facilities Management team with collaborative support from Infection Prevention teams and clinical representation. Clinical assessments are conducted on each and every positive legionella result, ensuring patient and staff safety is prioritised.

(e) Facilities Management has an active annual schedule of sampling and testing water distribution systems for the Canberra Hospital campus. All buildings are sampled and tested at least twice a year. The testing and monitoring schedule forms part of the Water Management Plan managed by Facilities Management.

(f) All identified positive results are immediately addressed and retested until negative testing results are produced.


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