Dr. Susanne Surman-Lee

Dr. Susanne Surman-Lee has over 35 years’ experience as Public Health Microbiologist having worked in both in clinical and public health microbiology within the National Health Service, University Sector and then the Public Health Laboratory Service which became part of the Health Protection Agency (now part of Public Health England) in support of both public and private sector organizations including the healthcare sector. Until 2010 leading and directing the HPA Regional Microbiology Network London Food Water & Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (LFWE), as Lead Regional Microbiologist providing a responsive and high quality comprehensive food water and environmental microbiology testing, advisory and consultancy service to the London and Home Counties NHS and private healthcare, health protection teams, local and port health authorities and commercial customers.

Susanne was a member of the HPA Legionella investigating team working closely with other agencies and units within the HPA to investigate outbreaks and incidents of food and waterborne disease including legionellosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and was an active member of EWGLI (European Working Group for Legionella Infections now the ESCMID Study Group for Legionella Infections) for over 20 years and was a member of the EWGLI team (now ESGLI) as part of an expert  team developing courses and training EU epidemiologists and microbiologists funded by the EU and then ECDC. Bespoke training was developed for hoteliers and public health bodies including in the UK , Ireland, Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Cyprus and Malta. She has active experience of auditing and investigating hotel and healthcare complexes following Legionella incidents and outbreaks and has recently led the working group updating the European technical guidelines for the prevention, control and investigation of infections caused by Legionella species (formerly the EWGLI Technical Guidelines for investigations of legionellosis).


Susanne also works closely with the Royal Society of Public health and is their principal advisor on water issues and is Chair of the RSPH water special interest group and programme Director for the RSPH freely available water webinar programme which reaches over 60 countries worldwide.

  • Experience on the detection, identification and management of waterborne indicators and pathogens from a range of sources and systems particularly on the management and control of water systems within building water systems (including healthcare) ; the environment and including infectious hazards from environmental sources working with hospital infection control teams, health protection units; environmental  and port health authorities regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Extensive practical experience in the investigation of water management problems including the development of water safety plans and groups; biocide treatments; the ecology and control of legionellae and other clinically significant micro-organisms such as pseudomonads, mycobacteria etc. in various water systems including hot and cold water systems; private water supplies; spa pools, hydrotherapy pools; endoscope washers; dialysis units etc. and the investigation of gross water system contamination, outbreaks and nosocomial cases of Legionnaires ’ disease including in over 30 hospitals regionally, nationally and internationally working with, and advising, regulatory and other bodies including the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities
  • Excellent communication; presentation and training skills with formal training and experience as a further education lecturer; developing bespoke training for all levels of operational and management staff involved in water hygiene and has given well over 200 formal presentations at conferences; seminars and webinars nationally and internationally.

Services Provided


  • Water Hygiene safety audits nationally and internationally;
  • Water Hygiene Specialist advisor ( Authorizing Engineer) HTM 04-01 )
  • Bespoke training for the commercial, private and public sector at all levels on water hygiene; developing water safety plans and control measures and managing water safety including for hotels and on board ship.
  • Provision of water hygiene audits for potable and recreational water hygiene and specialist healthcare services
  • Managing and supporting water hygiene research projects
  • Developing and writing guidelines for the safe management of water within buildings
  • Trouble shooting water hygiene failures; positive results and providing advice on achievable solutions

Relevant Recent Activities

2017       Masterclasses on water safety plans and water hygiene to healthcare engineers and infection control staff in, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne

2017       Workshop on water hygiene for Plumbing inspectors in Brisbane

2015-2016            Developing and delivering training courses for senior staff of a ferry ship operator

2016       current Auditor and advisor to a leading hotel chain on water safety

2015 -current    Member Water Safety Expert Panel Wesley Hospital Brisbane Australia

1999-Ongoing    Trouble shooting; independent water safety audits several NHS Trusts

2016-     Lead member of the working Group updating the PWTAG hydrotherapy pool guidelines

2014-2016            Trainer / Advisor on Legionella prevention and detection, Queensland Department of Health ,

2016       ESGLI Scientific Committee member ESGLI 2016 Conference

2015      Invited keynote speaker Legionella Everybody’s business Brisbane 2015 and Legionella  Master class in Melbourne 2015

2015       Chair Organising Committee European Society of Clinical Microbiology (ESCMID)  and Infectious Diseases Study Group for Legionella infections Conference (ESGLI) 2015

2013-2014            Member of the working group to update the UK, Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice Legionnaires’ disease The control of legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) and associated guidance (HSG274)

2012–2016          Hong Kong Department of Health Microbiology Grant Reviewer

2012       Appointed temporary advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) workshop in Jordan on water safety plans and water hygiene in healthcare premises;

2012       British Standards Institute representative on ISO TC 147 SC4 and CEN TC 230 (microbiological methods including Legionella by culture and PCR)

1995-2011            Developer and Trainer on the EU/ ECDC funded course on the investigation of travel associated Legionnaires’ disease

2012       Co-chair and co-organizer RSPH conferences on Water Hygiene in Healthcare and in the travel industry

Current activities also include

  • Chair BSI working group developing a Code of Practice for Water Safety plans
  • Member of the Technical Committee of the Water Management Society
  • RSPH representative on the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group
  • RSPH representative on E/H ¾ Water Microbiology Methods Working Group of the British Standards Institute (BSI)
  • BSI representative on ISO TC 147 SC 4 subcommittee working groups (water microbiological methods)