Review of negative pressure rooms

The Trust board of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has ordered a review by independent experts into the provision and specification of special negative pressure rooms at NNUH following concerns raised by staff concerning their functionality.

David Wright, a Non-Executive Director of the NNUH Trust, chairs the review panel looking at the provision and specification of negative pressure facilities. The membership of the panel includes a Non-Executive Director from another acute NHS Trust and an independent microbiologist. Independent expert mechanical and technical advice has also been commissioned. The review will produce an interim report in June.

The review comes as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital this week joined the ranks of only four hospitals in the region with special negative pressure rooms for the treatment of patients with highly infectious diseases such as multiple drug resistant tuberculosis (TB). Two rooms on the hospital's respiratory ward have been modified to provide negative pressure that prevents the air inside the room from flowing out to the ward and reduces the chances of infection spreading.

It is the first time Norfolk has had this specialised facility. Although the county has one of the lowest rates of TB in the country, rates are rising nationally and negative pressure rooms are an added safety measure for treating the rare cases of patients who are at risk of having multiple drug resistant TB.

Consultant in respiratory medicine, Dr Simon Watkin, said: “At the N&N we do have a small number of patients for whom these facilities are suitable. We have always had agreed procedures in place for treating any patients suspected of having TB so that there's protection for all patients, staff and visitors. In some cases, we have referred patients to other centres that have this type of facility.

“It is good news we now have two negative pressure rooms and this means that patients at risk of multiple drug resistant TB can be treated locally.”

Media contact: Andrew Stronach on 01603 287200

Note:  The membership and terms of reference for the review are available on request on Norwich 287200

Friday 30th of April 2004 04:00:51 PM