‘Time To Get A Handle’ On Glasgow Legionnaires’ Concerns

Lawyers Call For Decisive Action As Number Of Renfrew Victims Rises To 10

05.08.2013

By Rob Dixon

Legal experts continuing to work hard to gain answers and justice for families and victims of the fatal Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Edinburgh last year are once again calling for authorities to get to grips with the continuing issues being seen in Glasgow.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has confirmed that two more cases of Legionnaires’ have been identified in the Renfrew area of the city, taking the total number of victims since the start of the problems in June to ten.

The trust is continuing its work with local public health authorities, the Health and Safety Executive and Health Protection Scotland to identify a potential source for the infection.

All of the cases can be linked both directly or indirectly to the Renfrew area and every active water cooling tower in the area has been treated with chemicals that kill legionella bacteria as part of measures to tackle the issue.

Now, specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are urging the investigating bodies to get a proper handle on the situation and ensure that the number of people in Glasgow affected by the often-devastating effects of Legionnaires’ does not increase.

As well as acting for victims and the families of those who died during the Edinburgh outbreak in 2012, the experts also represent more than 20 victims who suffered serious illness as a result of Legionnaires’ disease problems in Stoke-on-Trent last year.

Elaine Russell, a Partner based at Irwin Mitchell’s Glasgow office who is working on behalf of the Edinburgh victims and families, said: “It is very worrying that reports of Legionnaires’ cases related to Renfrew are continuing to emerge, now more than a month after it was revealed just a trio of cases were being investigated.

“One victim is simply too many when it relates to an illness which can and should be prevented through the use of the right health and hygiene procedures at sites including cooling towers. As these issues show simply no signs of abating, the local community will be increasingly worried whether the steps taken so far have been both adequate and effective.

“Through our work on recent outbreaks we have seen how such issues can impact on victims’ lives, affecting their working and personal lives and also, in some cases, leaving them with long-term health problems from which they may never fully recover.

“The absolute priority at present must be to get a handle on this and bring these terrible issues in Glasgow to a halt as soon as possible. It will then be vital that steps are taken to thoroughly review all aspects of this outbreak and what lessons could be learned which will minimise the risk of similar issues in the future.”

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