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Royal Victoria Hospital: Pseudomonas find halts ICU move

image captionThe intensive care unit was due to move into the £150m building

An eight-year wait for moving the ICU at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast will continue after the discovery of a potentially deadly bacteria.

The Belfast Trust said it was delayed after Pseudomonas was found in taps.

The infection does not usually affect healthy people but infants and people with weakened immune systems are vulnerable.

The new intensive care unit was pencilled in for a move to the critical care building, which cost £150m.

The emergency department opened at the building in 2015, but most of the floors are not being used due to a long list of problems.

The latest delay to plans was first reported by the Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday.

image captionThe majority of the Critical Care Building is not being used

"We are disappointed that we are unable to move the intensive care unit in to the Critical Care Building as scheduled," a Trust spokesperson said.

"Our plans to move ICU into Level 5 and 6 of the building are delayed due to planned water testing which identified pseudomonas in taps.

"No patients have been put at risk as a result.

"All necessary infection control measures are in place and remedial work is now under way.

"Belfast Trust will work to reschedule the move as soon as possible however this may depend on the prevalence of Covid-19 and its impact on services."

The bacteria discovered in the taps at the building is a common one, found mostly in soil and water.

Government guidance suggests that it is unlikely to affect healthy patients, but can cause a wide range of infections in those with a weakened immune system.

That could include cancer patients, newborn babies and people with conditions like cystic fibrosis.

The government has also said that in a hospital environment, the bacteria could contaminate items like respiratory equipment and catheters.

The Trust has pointed to the coronavirus pandemic as another factor that has to be considered in their decision around the plans to move the intensive care unit.

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