Listeria outbreak claims more lives and the NHS reveals affected hospitals.
Following the initial announcement of the listeria outbreak, the Public Health England have released a full list of hospitals which were supplied products from the Good Food Chain. The government agency refused to give up the hospital names at the beginning but caved after being pressured.
The list includes a total of 43 NHS trusts and one independent facility. See if your local hospital has been affected:
- Aintree University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
- Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust
- Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- East Cheshire NHS Trust
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
- Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Leicester Partnership NHS Trust
- Lewisham and Greenwich Hospital NHS Trust
- Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
- North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
- The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
- The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
- University Hospitals Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
- Virgin (Farnham Hospital)
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Weston Area Health NHS Trust
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Despite the Public Health England stating that the risk to the public remains low, The Daily Mail Online has now reported that two more people have died due to listeria. This brings the total to 5 deaths so far.
The deaths related to listeria have been reported at these hospitals: one at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, one at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and one at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. Furthermore, two people died at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Between 14 April 2019 and 28 May 2019, the NHS found nine cases of listeria in seven different hospitals. Other hospitals where patients were treated for the bacteria include Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. Although there have been no more cases since the end of May 2019, the incubation of listeriosis is 70 days.
An important question to consider here is why patients with lower immunity were being fed pre-packed sandwiches in the first place? Even the director of the British Sandwich Association (BSA), Jim Winship, has stated that chilled food, such as sandwiches and salads, should not be served to vulnerable hospital patients.
Hospitals which did not store the sandwiches at suitably cold temperature allowed the bacteria to grow. Chilled food should be kept at between 5C and 8C. A survey which was carried out three years ago uncovered that one hospital fridge run as high as 25C, which is way above the safe average.
What is particularly jarring about the outbreak is that three years ago, the NHS was warned about the risk of listeria in pre-packed sandwiches, mentions The Sun. In 2016, Food Standards Agency commissioned a food safety firm called STS to investigate the dangers posed by pre-packed sandwiches in hospitals and care homes. They found that the food was stored in too warm fridges, was left on trolleys in warm rooms before it was served to the patients and in some cases even distributed past its use-by date.
Their report established that close to all hospital outbreaks of listeria since 2003 were due to sandwiches. Since 2003, there have been nine hospital listeria outbreaks across the UK. In each case, between two and seven people have been affected. In England and Wales, there are 166 cases of listeria annually. Between the years of 2010 and 2016, there have been 46 deaths.
To add to the horror of the situation, The Good Food Chain was also previously warned for breaching temperature rules. In 2017, an inspection of the company found that temperature records were being filled out before receiving the items, rather than left blank to be recorded upon delivery.
The firm explained that the labels were pre-printed for ambient temperature foods which lack chilled ingredients. In this case, what is even the point of printing them if they are not completed when they should be? This is on top of some other breach at the company, involving dirty heavy duty can opener. Although the company said the issue has been dealt with, the outbreak suggests differently.
The meat supplier for The Good Food Chain, North Country Cooked Meats, was also investigated by the Salford Council in February, passing all hygiene and safety checks. However, it was previously investigated in 2009 and 2010, at which points listeria was found.
There is a whole list of contributing factors that we can address which led to the outbreak. The Good Food Chain and North Country Cooked Meats had an undeniable role in the spread of the bacteria. The way the companies disregarded good risk management is appalling. The safety of the costumers should be a priority to any firm which products can cause any level of harm. All suppliers should be forced to adhere to the rigorous requirements of supplying major retailers.
The way in which the Public Health England dealt with informing the public was also poor. It was not until the 7th of June that the government agency made a statement. The initial refusal to release the list of hospitals affected by the bacteria and withholding details about the outbreak makes it seem like they wanted to keep the public unaware about the extent of the issue. They also refuse to set up a helpline for worried families, instead directing them to dial 111 or use the NHS website.
Seriously ill patients should not have been served sandwiches or salads, even if the standards of hygiene were up to scratch, which they were not. Furthermore, larger emphasis should be put on making sure the outsourced food supplies are safe to eat upon delivery to the hospitals and continue to be handled to the standard of safety guidelines before being served.
We believe actions should be taken in situations such as these, where other people’s negligence and disregard for safety has led to suffering of others. If you or your loved ones have been affected by the listeria outbreak or perhaps suffered a major illness from no fault of your own, you may be able to receive compensation for your problems.
Fill out a claim form here or call our team on 0151 306 3694 to discuss your circumstances. Our clients can benefit from our vast network of experienced medical experts and our offer of rehabilitation anywhere in the country. Our ‘no win, no fee’ agreement means you will not have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees and will receive 100% of your compensation when the claim is successful.