Another Outbreak At Illness-Prone Hotel
Travel lawyers from the award-winning law firm Irwin Mitchell have called on tour operator First Choice to ensure that health and hygiene measures are tightened up at the Holiday Village Hotel in Sarigerme, Turkey after yet another large outbreak of gastric illness, including cases of salmonella poisoning, at the resort this summer.
Nearly 600 holidaymakers have now instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to bring claims against First Choice after suffering gastric illness while staying at the Holiday Village Hotel.
But this isn’t the first time that the hotel has been at the centre of an outbreak of illness. Following outbreaks of salmonella poisoning in 2005, 2006 and 2007, when the hotel was known as the Pegasus Palace, over 140 guests instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to make claims for compensation. First Choice has already admitted liability in respect of cases in 2005 and 2006.
Ian King (44), and his wife Paulette (43), from Margate in Kent were not aware of the history of the Holiday Village Turkey when they booked a 2 week all-inclusive package holiday for themselves and their children Rachael (5) and Samuel (8).
Only a few days into the holiday, Ian started to suffer from extremely severe abdominal pains, diarrhoea and vomiting. The doctor at the resort was “unavailable”, for reasons that were never adequately explained, even though Ian tried to see him three times. Paulette had to take care of Ian while he was ill and this meant that the whole family was confined to the room for most of the rest of the holiday.
Since coming home, Ian has had to take time off work due to the severity of his continuing illness.
Mr King believes that there was a serious lack of awareness about hygiene in the food preparation at the hotel and that this was what caused his illness. The family saw undercooked chicken being served as well as new food being scraped onto trays of existing food. They also suspected that food was being served up on more than one occasion.
Matters were not helped by the attitude of the First Choice representatives during the holiday. Samuel King suffers Muscular Dystrophy, and this means he has mobility problems. The family report they had reserved a ground floor room when they booked the holiday eighteen months previously, but on arrival at the hotel they were given a room on the top floor of the hotel, which was unsuitable for Samuel’s needs.
On complaining to the First Choice representative about having to carry his son up three flights of stairs every day, Mr King reports that he was fobbed off with inappropriate excuses.
Mr King said that he feels “extremely disappointed” with his holiday. “My illness ruined the holiday not just for me but for my whole family. It was hard for my wife to cope with everything by herself.” Paulette also had the worry of who would look after her children should she herself fall ill.
Clive Garner, head of the Travel Law Team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said:
"The history of illness amongst guests at the Holiday Village Turkey is completely unacceptable. In fact, there have been outbreaks of salmonella each year since 2005. We now act for approaching 600 people who have become ill while staying at this hotel and this number is continuing to rise. All of these people could have avoided illness if only the hotel operated using effective food hygiene and safety procedures, most of which involve using basic common sense.
"It is staggering that we are receiving the same complaints year after year from so many guests at this hotel. We and our clients want to know why more has not been done to tackle the problems and make the hotel safe.
"What most people do not appreciate is that many of those who suffer gastric illness abroad go on to develop long term, and in some cases, permanent bowel problems.
"It is simply not enough to change the name of the hotel. To avoid yet more holidaymakers being subjected to salmonella poisoning next year then fundamental changes in the hotel’s food hygiene standards and procedures need to be put in place, maintained and carefully monitored."