Hospital chiefs are predicting a £1.5m overspend as a result of "unforeseen" spending on Legionella works at Watford General.

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection people can get from inhaling droplets of water from things like air conditioning or hot tubs.

It's uncommon but it can be very serious and is usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply.

There is work ongoing at the Watford hospital to reduce the risk of patients catching Legionnaires' disease - but it is proving to be costly than first thought.

In a report to the West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust board on October 7, chief financial officer Don Richards said the trust had been committed to deliver a break-even position on its spending for the financial year.

But he pointed to the "unforeseen cost pressure" relating to Legionella works. He said that this was driving the forecast deficit position – expected to be £1.5m by the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

He also reported that discussions were ongoing with the Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated care system (ICS) to see if additional funding could be made available.

The report to the board states: "Despite a commitment to deliver a break-even position, an unforeseen cost pressure relating to Legionella works is driving the forecast deficit position.

"Discussions are ongoing within the ICS to see if there are any additional funding streams available to the organisation to help mitigate this cost pressure."

Following the meeting, the trust’s director of environment Paddy Hennessy confirmed that some issues had been identified and that the trust planned to invest in the upgrade’ work required.

Mr Hennessy said: "We have identified issues with the temperature control and condition of the pipework in some buildings across our estate.

"As part of our water hygiene controls, we routinely monitor hot and cold water temperatures and carry out water sampling to ensure patient safety.

"We are significantly investing to carry out the necessary upgrade work."