A NEW Barrow cancer ward was shut down on its opening day after the discovery of a bug in the water taps.
As a result no patients were transferred to the revamped unit at Furness General Hospital.
On Tuesday staff and patients gathered to mark the official opening of the new suite.
FGH was set to transfer patients yesterday but the discovery of the pseudomonas bacterium in water taps halted the move.
Pseudomonas is a bacterium, also called a bug or germ, that is often found in soil and water. It can cause a range of infections, particularly among those who have a low immune system through illness such as cancer.
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “This news is worrying, particularly as there remains a real need for managers to show the new unit can adequately protect cancer patients with vulnerable immune systems from picking up infections.
“We really want to be optimistic about our oncology unit and I recognise that people have worked really hard on the new facilities but this last-minute delay will not help allay the concerns that persist about the new set-up.”
Health campaigner Darren McSweeney said: “Infection control is one of the key concerns of the FGH Cancer Care Campaign. If the transfer of immunocompromised oncology inpatients has indeed been delayed, then we welcome this if there is any threat of infection. The new unit has been designed with easy cleaning and infection control in mind, so hopefully this is a minor commissioning blip. We look for a speedy resolution as the stress placed on poorly patients being transferred to unfamiliar surroundings will only be increased by any uncertainty.”
Juliet Walters, Trust chief operating officer, said: “As part of our routine water testing, levels of pseudomonas aeruginosa have been detected in the water supply in the Coniston Suite at Furness General Hospital.
“We are currently flushing out the system and will take further samples over the coming days to monitor the levels.
“National guidance states that testing of this nature is only required in areas where patients are at high risk.”