No Suitable System For E-Coli Outbreak Says NPHS

E-coli enquiry

12.03.2008

An inquiry, led by microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington in Cardiff, has heard from doctors trying to control the E.coli outbreak that no system was in place to alert hospitals about its spread.

In 2005 there were difficulties contacting NHS managers and GPs about the spread of the bacteria and Dr Gwen Lowe from the National Public Health Service (NPHS) said that there is no way of sending urgent information to health workers around the clock.

She believes that during an outbreak in south Wales that affected 150 people, some GPs may have been working in the affected areas without knowing.

The inquiry, which has been taking place since February, was told that the NPHS would like a system that allows them to inform all healthcare workers of outbreaks at the same time.

A mother of a five year old boy who died during the outbreak felt that that help lines, set up when an outbreak occurs, should run 24 hours a day. She said that on occasions the helpline was not in service or there was an engaged tone.

Katrina Elsey comments "Unfortunately, the inquiry has heard how contaminated food was allowed to be supplied to schools in South Wales. A lack of Health and Safety concern is not acceptable and could have been avoided."