Legionnaires’ outbreak to be probed by Health and Sport Committee

20/06/2012

The management and response to the outbreak of legionnaire’s disease in Edinburgh is to be focus of an evidence session by the Health and Sport Committee at a meeting on 26 June.

Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“This has been an extremely serious outbreak of legionella. The numbers of people contracting the disease appears to have now peaked. It is therefore an appropriate time for the members of the incident management team to answer questions about the handling of the outbreak and progress in identifying the source.

“Two people have tragically died as a result of this disease. Where we can, we must learn lessons from this case, which will be a key part of the Committee’s questioning.”

The Health and Sport Committee has called the Incident Management Team that is managing the outbreak to appear in front of the Committee. Witnesses will include:

  • Mrs Pam Waldron, HSE Director, Scotland - and Head of Field Operations Directorate, Scotland and Northern England Division;
  • Dr Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian and Dr Duncan McCormick Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian;
  • Colin Sibbald, Food Health and Safety Manager, City of Edinburgh Council;
  • Dr Jim McMenamin, Consultant Epidemiologist, Respiratory Team Health Protection Scotland

Deputy Convener Bob Doris MSP said:

“The Committee was keen to let those handling the outbreak to get on with their jobs and focus on dealing with this serious public health issue.

“With the outbreak now under control, the Committee is pleased that the incident management team is willing to appear in front of MSPs. The evidence session will allow the Health Committee to play a constructive role scrutinising the management of the outbreak. We are not calling into question any specific actions but rather assisting in promoting continuous improvement in how such incidents are managed.”