Get the right checks

Could there be a worse event than a preventable death inside your hotel property? This month we reported on an outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the Feathers Hotel in Ludlow, Shropshire.

The hotel closed temporarily after taking advice from Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands and Shropshire Council, and laboratory tests from the hotel subsequently showed links between the legionella bacteria found in the water samples and the two guests who stayed there.

The first guest, a woman in her 70s, was diagnosed in April this year and has since recovered. The second guest
however, a woman in her 60s who stayed at the hotel in July, is understood to have died mid-August. The hotel wrote to guests who had stayed in the two weeks approximate to the suspected cases, to contact them if they have experienced any symptoms of the disease.

What’s particularly shocking about this is there is no reason to suspect the owners were negligent – a thousand other responsible hoteliers could fall foul of a problem like this, manifesting as it does in silence and low  detectability. But as with so many rare and isolated cases of tragedies taking place in hotels (take the death from scolding shower water we reported on recently), it is a reminder of the responsibility hoteliers have to their guests for safety and wellbeing. It’s expensive to get the professionals in, and much more so to have them tell you that new equipment or time-consuming processes are required. But good heavens, it pays to avoid a horrific tragedy.

The vast majority of the trade are hot on this, and that’s why we do not hear of cases every week. But it never hurts to carry out an internal audit, and make sure that all is truly well.

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