THE acting chief executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir, has responded to claims about mould in the Aruma Community Health building at Grafton.
THE acting chief executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir, has responded to claims about mould in the Aruma Community Health building at Grafton. Alison Paterson

MOULD DISEASE THREAT: how health authorities respond

THE acting chief executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir, has issued this statement in response to union and staff claims that mould in Community Nursing building at the Aruma Community Health Centre in Grafton, has caused health issues for staff.

FOLLOWING reports raised by staff through the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association earlier this year, Northern NSW Local Health District has been actively working to address concerns about mould in the Community Nursing building at the Aruma Community Health Centre in Grafton.

Staff health and safety is a priority and we are taking these concerns seriously.

In August this year, air quality testing was conducted by an external contractor. The report showed that fungi and mould counts were within acceptable levels. This report was circulated to staff on August 27.

Grafton Base Hospital management also consulted an infectious diseases specialist following concerns raised by staff about the presence of aspergillus.

The specialist advised that aspergillus is a common organism and primarily causes concern for people with severe lung disease or a compromised immune system. Screening of other staff was not advised.

Management have not received any medical reports from staff confirming aspergillus as a result of environmental factors within the facility.

We welcome staff to raise any concerns they may have with their immediate manager and/or work health and safety representative, or to seek advice from their GP.

The district will work with the Health Services' Union to facilitate an inspection of the Grafton Community Health buildings at Aruma.

Background

Over the years the building has undergone maintenance and repairs to remediate dampness issues consistent with the age of the building and its location under a large tree.

NNSWLHD has developed a remediation plan for the building which includes roof and guttering repairs, repair of one water-damaged wall, internal cleaning and painting and replacing floor coverings.

Roof repairs were carried out in recent months, and further work is scheduled in the next few weeks to complete these and other repairs.



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