Legionella bug closes birth centre in Somerset

Any expectant mothers who will be affected by the closure have been contacted Credit: Katie Collins / PA

Paulton Birth Centre has closed after a strain of bacteria called legionella was found in the water system.

NHS Property Services, which owns and manages the centre, said it has been closed to new births since Friday. They're now carrying out essential upgrade work on the centre's water system.

Any mothers-to-be who were planning on using Paulton during this closure have been contacted by their midwife.

NHS Property Services says it's working to restore the unit as soon as possible.

We are carrying our further tests at the site and hope to hand the unit back to the RUH by the end of June

– NHS Property Services spokesperson

Services at the unit are provided by Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. The birth centre is on the site of Paulton Memorial Hospital where the hospital ward, the Minor Injuries Unit and Outpatients are open as normal.

What is legionella?

  • legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems like rivers and ponds
  • they can also grow in purpose built water systems under the right conditions
  • this is more common if water is maintained at a high temperature
  • if people inhale droplets of infected water it can lead to Legionnaires' disease - a potential fatal type of pneumonia