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Patrick McGuire, PartnerEsteemed microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington has called for a public inquiry into the recent outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh.

The outbreak, which claimed three lives and affected over 100 residents, has raised a number of questions about the safety inspections of high-risk facilities such as cooling towers which are suspected of being the source of the Edinburgh outbreak

Professor Pennington today said: "Legionnaires disease is one of the nastiest and most lethal of infectious diseases in the UK. But it is utterly preventable. So something went badly wrong in Edinburgh. A Public Inquiry would be the most effective way to establish the facts and to prevent yet more outbreaks."

Professor Pennington's statement comes further to earlier calls by the Scottish Labour Party for a public inquiry into the outbreak and similar calls from victims of the outbreak.Scottish Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jackie Baillie MSP, said:

"Professor Pennington's intervention is significant and his authoritative voice should be a reason for the Scottish Government to pause and reflect on their decision not to have an independent inquiry into this outbreak.

"There are real fears that the inspection regimes that the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities have are inadequate and are failing to protect citizens from these fatal outbreaks.

"Scots deserve to know that lessons will be learned and every step taken to prevent another outbreak and those who have suffered and lost relatives deserve nothing less."

Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons Solicitors who are representing some of the victims, welcomed Mr Pennington's call.

He said: "I am delighted Professor Pennington has added his voice to the calls for a full, independent public inquiry into this outbreak.

"Although many factors could have lead to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh, mismanagement and human error lie at the very heart of the matter.

"The victims of this outbreak – including not just those with Legionnaires' disease, but also those with Pontiac fever and other related illnesses – demand answers and the assurance that this can never happen again.

“We’re committed to the objectives of the Legionnaires Disease Scotland campaign group, and we support victims of Legionnaires disease, Pontiac fever and other related health concerns in their quest for answers and action. Our expert lawyers are on-hand to provide advice and assistance to those affected by the outbreak and their families.”


Notes to editors:

•    For further comments/quotes from Patrick McGuire, contact Tim Weir on 07974 262 997 

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