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Oxfordshire hospital closes indefinitely

An Oxfordshire hospital is to close indefinitely because of an increased risk of Legionnaires’ disease.
Wantage Community Hospital is scheduled to shut early in summer after “raised levels” of legionella bacteria were detected in its hot water system.

The hospital said this was because the site’s pipework is old, corroded and water circulation is poor.
However, repairs will not start until after a consultation determines the future of the hospital in autumn.

A spokeswoman for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said there was no current risk of the disease, but it could appear in the future unless a long-term solution is found.

She added: “Keeping the hospital open while work on this scale takes place would make it very difficult to maintain a safe environment and would have a detrimental impact on patient care.”

The hospital runs services for 12 inpatient beds, a midwifery-led unit and physiotherapy outpatients.
Practical assistance with travel arrangements will be offered to patients and staff who need to access these services elsewhere, the spokeswoman added.

Legionella bacteria is commonly found in water and if inhaled it can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal type of pneumonia.

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