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Hospital Energy Cuts Risk Legionnaires

Hospital Energy Cuts Risk Legionnaires

“Government induced budget cuts have obliged the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) to give managers monetary incentives to save energy costs,” said Paul Piesse, co-leader of the Alliance party today. “Such moves have placed Christchurch Hospital and Cantabrians at greater risk of legionnaires.”

Paul Piesse was commenting on denials by the CDHB that the deaths and illnesses of nineteen Canterbury people with legionnaires disease were in any way linked to Christchurch Hospital. “Managers received $3,000 awards for cutting energy costs in the Hospital last year by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The whole focus and incentive structures is towards saving money by lowering standards to the minimum. Now we may be paying the penalty.”

“Currently maintenance cuts at the CDHB to save $500,000 are also leading to cutbacks to whereby greater tolerance is being allowed on settings at about 5,500 Building Maintenance System points round the Hospital,” said Paul Piesse. “This means greater variations in hot water temperatures are being allowed before staff are called out to investigate.”

“Air conditioning and other machines at Christchurch Womens’ Hospital are still the responsibility of the contractors who built it, yet staff report that it should have additional maintenance checks from the Hospital staff,” said Paul Piesse.

“While these cuts are saving $500,000, they must create the conditions for problems ahead,” said Paul Piesse. “Given legionnaires was found in recent tests at Christchurch Hospital, it seems extraordinary it is being ruled out now.”

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