A 'prescribed facility' means:
- a public sector hospital that provides treatment or care to inpatients; or
- a private health facility licensed under the Private Health Facility Act 1999; or
- a State aged care facility; or
- a residential aged care facility, other than a State aged care facility, prescribed by regulation.
A 'prescribed test' for Legionella is a test that:
- quantifies the number of Legionella colony forming units in the sample tested; and
- is carried out by a laboratory accredited as complying with the international standard ISO/IEC 17025, and
- is a test identified in the scope of the laboratory'ss accreditation.
Legionella are a class of bacteria found in the natural environment around the world. There are over 50 species of Legionella bacteria, some of which can cause disease in humans. The most common disease causing species are Legionella pneumophila and Legionella longbeachae.
Most Legionella species, including Legionella pneumophila, thrive in warm water, and need the presence of other organisms (e.g. amoebae) to multiply. They grow readily in man-made environments such as inside plumbing fixtures and pipes, where warm temperatures and the build-up of nutrients and microorganisms on surfaces (called biofilm) provide an ideal environment.
Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella. Humans might contract this disease by inhaling microscopic/ invisible droplets (aerosols) of contaminated water from man-made systems such as hot or warm water systems, showerheads, spa baths and fountains.
While most people are unlikely to get Legionnaires' disease, some groups are more at risk than others. It is not spread person-to-person.
Under Section 61I of the Public Health Act 2005 periodic (quarterly) reports, summarising the results of prescribed tests taken for Legionella under a Water Risk Management Plan (WRMP) must be submitted to the Department of Health.
Data submitted in a periodic reporting form under the WRMP provisions of the Public Health Act 2005 must only relate to samples taken from infrastructure and/or fixtures covered by the facility's WRMP. The periodic report must not include data that relates to samples taken from infrastructure or fixtures not covered by the facility's WRMP. For example, it must not include sampling data that relates to cooling towers unless the cooling towers are covered by the facility's WRMP.
A quarter means a three month period ending on:
Q1 - 31 March
Q2 - 30 June
Q3 - 30 September
Q4 - 31 December
Particular information within a periodic report can be published externally, so every effort should be made by a prescribed facility to adhere to the data set attributes listed within the data elements for what is required to be supplied. It is also essential to have appropriate senior management clearance on the contents of the report prior to submission.
The chief executive of the Hospital and Health Service has accountability for ensuring that a facility operates in accordance to its WRMP. Should the number of samples taken be less than what was required under the plan, the chief executive should be advised of this prior to submission of the report.
A 'business day' means a day that is not a Saturday or Sunday or a public holiday, special holiday or bank holiday.