THERE is ‘no evidence' to link water cooler equipment with water-borne infections at Glasgow's children's hospital, according to manufacturers.

The British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) responded after NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde became the first health board to remove all dispensers from its hospitals and health centres.

The health board said it was following a national directive which is due to be issued by Health Facilities Scotland and will apply to all of Scotland’s hospitals.

The risk is said to arise if dispensers are used infrequently, which allows water to stagnate. NHSGGC said the use of coolers in its hospitals and health centres was "uncontrolled."

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A number of paediatric patients became unwell last year after contracting infections thought to be related to the water supply at the Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Children.

The BWCA said hospitals are issued with guidelines advising suitable locations for the dispensers as well as additional precautions related to sanitary maintenance.

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Jon Wicks, Chairman of BWCA, said: “Health Facilities Scotland is free of course to make its own judgements in relation to Infection control risk management.

“ However, there have been no problems associated with water coolers which are one of the safest as well as one of the most sustainable means of delivering drinking water.

“Sanitisation of the coolers, as with everything in hospitals, is essential and our members are trained to the highest level in this regard.”

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "The national guidance due to be issued does not set out that bottled water coolers in themselves pose a risk. 

"However, the use of such coolers is uncontrolled across Greater Glasgow and Clyde and it is how they are being used by individuals and, in some instances how infrequently they are being used allowing water to stagnate that are the potential hazards."