The HBE has prosecuted Basildon University Hospital foe Legionella failings under the Health and Safety at Work Act when two patients died after contracting the disease in 2007 and 2010. In total eight patients and visitors had been affected between 2004 and 2010.

The hospital pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act over failing to protect visitors and patients adequately from legionella bacteria.

Pascal Bates, from the HSE, said the hospital’s procedures on legionella control fell “markedly short” and that “The hospital had numerous warnings from regulators and consultants which weren’t followed.”

In the financial year 2006-07, the hospital reduced its clinical treatment to save money which was “an inappropriate cost saving measure,” said Mr Bates.