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A top solicitor has assured the families of C-Diff victims at a Scots hospital that the Lord Advocate is duty bound by law to hold a public inquiry into their deaths.

Local politicians have been calling for an inquiry following NHS Grampian’s confirmation that two patients have died and eight others have tested positive for the killer C-Diff bug at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors said: “The Lord Advocate must hold a public inquiry into these deaths.

“It is not a case of the families having to fight for an inquiry, or pleading for one to be held.

“There is a legal obligation because we have established the precedent in the case of victims of Hepatitis C from infected NHS blood supplies.

“For years Scottish Ministers refused to hold a public inquiry into Hep C deaths, but Thompsons challenged their stance through a judicial review and Lord Mackay ordered the Scottish ministers to hold an inquiry.

“That is why there had to be a public inquiry into the 18 C-Diff deaths at Vale of Leven, and that is why there will also have to be an inquiry into the deaths at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.”

Mr Maguire said it was too early at this stage to say if the inquiry into the new outbreak could become part of the Vale of Leven inquiry under Lord Coulsfield, or if there would need to be another separate inquiry.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has already challenged First Minister Alex Salmond to widen the inquiry into the 18 deaths linked to the C diff bug at the Vale of Leven Hospital to include the Dr Gray’s outbreak.

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