Illness Lawyers Reveal Concerns Regarding Tonbridge School ‘Outbreak’

Investigations Underway Regarding Cause Of Problems At Hilden Grange

04.07.2014

Lawyers who have helped thousands of victims of illness in the UK and abroad to secure justice regarding the problems they have faced have revealed their concerns following reports of an outbreak of gastric illness at Hilden Grange School in Tonbridge. It was reported that the majority of the pupils who were affected fell ill on 18 June 2014.

Public Health England and local environmental health officers are undertaking inquiries following reports that up to 80 pupils and six members of staff had been affected by an illness outbreak at the private school on Dry Hill Park Road.  However it has been reported that an initial inspection has not been able to identify any obvious food related cause.

The Head Teacher is reported to have said: "Following reports of pupils and staff becoming ill, the school was immediately in contact with the local environmental health department and with Public Health England." 

The school’s caterers have also said: “We are the caterers at the school and ensure that all reports of this kind are treated with the utmost seriousness.

"The environmental health office was notified and an officer attended the school the following morning together with two of our independent food hygiene specialists.

"They confirmed that our food preparation procedures on site complied with good practice and no obvious food related item was identified as the cause. They confirmed that they were satisfied food production could continue and did so the same day.

"We retain samples of food served, as standard practice, and the EHO took these for testing. They also took swabs in the kitchen as well as other areas of the school occupied by this group of children. Currently we have not had the results of these tests so the source of the sickness, at the moment, is unknown.”

Now, illness specialists at Irwin Mitchell, who represent thousands of victims of illness outbreaks in the UK and abroad, are calling on authorities to work quickly to provide answers regarding these recent problems so that lessons can be learned across the education community.

The team notably represents more than 40 victims of a salmonella outbreak at the Street Spice Food Festival in Newcastle in 2013, as well as victims of major Legionnaires’ outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent in 2012, and a child who contracted E-coli after visiting a petting farm in East Yorkshire.

Expert Opinion
Our many years of work representing victims of illness outbreaks involves us working to help thousands of men, women and children who have suffered short term illnesses or long-term health problems.

"It is vital that Public Health England and the relevant local authorities work quickly and thoroughly to determine the cause of outbreaks of this nature, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that staff, pupils and worried parents can be given reassurances regarding safety.

"Among the key issues which will need to be examined will be the management of the outbreak, as well as how hygiene regulations have been applied.

"Information should also be shared across the education community to ensure that other schools are aware of the circumstances and what they may also be able to do to protect pupils and staff from potential issues in the future."
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner