More questions on the Legionnaires Outbreak

I’ve laid a series of questions to follow up on today’s ministerial statement on the outbreak of legionnaires disease in south-west Edinburgh. Clearly the current priority is to ensure that the public health message gets across to everyone that if they have any of the symptoms they contact NHS 24 or their GP urgently.

However, in interviews this morning I stressed the importance of learning any lessons that can be learnt to improve the effectiveness of communications with members of the public. The feedback I’ve had locally is that people felt that information came out too slowly.

There is also still a lot of work to be done to identify the source. This is vital to ensure that there is not another outbreak. For as Prof Hugh Pennington said this morning: “This should never have happened”.

Finally, there is the issue of the impact on an already stretched NHS Lothian. Although there is support from other health boards there remains the issue of what the impact will be on patients who had planned treatments programmed and on the wider issue of Waiting Times where NHS Lothian is still playing catch up.