Legionnaires – One Year On

Legionnaires CommitteeOne year ago this month an outbreak of Legionnaires disease hit Edinburgh.   Over 100 cases were confirmed or suspected, 3 cases resulted in death and many more people were left with side effects which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

After the disease hit I called for a public enquiry to establish how this happened, what the source of the outbreak was and how the HSE and council dealt with it.  I also at the time asked how another outbreak would be prevented.   My call was echoed by others who wanted a proper investigation, lessons learned and accountability.

However to date we are no closer to finding out the truth about the outbreak.   We still don’t even know the source of the outbreak.

I’ve written to NHS Lothian for an update on the inquiry they have carried out to ask what lessons have been learned from the NHS perspective and to ensure that people’s questions are answered.

My understanding is that NHS Lothian are to release more information about the Legionnaire’s disease outbreak later this month but we are not likely to see the transparency those affected have asked for because of the possibility of future legal action.   This case adds more weight to calls from my colleague Patricia Ferguson MSP for changes to be made to our Fatal Accident Inquiry system.   The families of victims are still not able to get closure on the outbreak and local people deserve to know the source of the outbreak.