The Department of Health has set up a working group to look at the safety of hospital taps following reports of antibiotic resistant infections tracked to bacteria found in wash basins.

DH senior medical officer in infectious diseases and blood Michael Kelsey told HSJ’s sister title Nursing Times “four or five” trusts in England had found Pseudomonas aeruginosa in sinks.

It is thought the bacteria could be related to bodily fluid traces found in sinks. The DH is warning such fluids should never be disposed of in hand wash basins. Dr Kelsey said the focus of the investigation into the infection source - which can be serious for patients with compromised immune systems - was now sink taps.

He said: “It seems to be a potential design problem in modern taps. The estates network had started to pick up on it but there has been no formal inquiry in England.

“The DH has now formed a small working party to look at the problem. It’s being taken seriously.”

The working group will report at the end of this month.