Swine Flu – questions

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has put questions in parliament on Swine Flu to the Health Minister and the First Minister.

On Wednesday she tackled Nicola Sturgeon. After thanking her for the statement on the Forth valley situation, Cathy asked:

“Given the World Health Organization’s statement that the disease is not containable, can she confirm that the Government is using all its resources to contact all the relevant people who have been in contact with my constituents and others, including the patients who were attended by the out-of-hours GP on the evening when he visited my constituents?”

Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government were doing everything that they could to ensure that the possibility of containment is maximised.

“I assure Cathy Peattie that we are doing, and did, everything possible to trace all the close contacts of the two people who were subsequently confirmed to be positive. From what we know from the evidence so far, that action may have been crucial in limiting the spread of the virus from them to other people in Scotland. We will continue to take a precautionary approach until things move to a stage at which we think that that is not appropriate, but such an approach is certainly appropriate at the moment.”

On Thursday, Cathy intervened at First Minister’s questions, to ask him to give credit to the work of NHS Forth Valley:

“The First Minister will be aware that the two confirmed cases of swine flu are my constituents. Like others, I wish them well. Will the First Minister join me in commending NHS Forth Valley on its quick and efficient implementation of its emergency programme last weekend?”

Alex Salmond was happy to do so: “The constituency member obviously has the right to ask that question and will be well thought of for carrying out her duty of care towards her constituents. I was delighted to be able to say that Iain and Dawn Askham have been released from Monklands hospital. NHS Forth Valley and the other affected health boards have reacted extremely well over the recent period. The WHO put out its alert last Friday—at midnight, I think—to partner organisations, including NHS Forth Valley, and the action to take Iain and Dawn Askham to Monklands hospital happened within hours of their reporting to NHS 24 on the Saturday. That action has proved extremely valuable, not just in potentially restricting the infectivity of the virus but in allowing us to learn a great deal more about the progression of the condition. That would not have been possible unless the local health board, along with other health boards, had followed the action plan and taken full part in making the contingency plans that were put in place.”

Speaking later Cathy “I have every confidence in the local health service in what could become very difficult circumstances. We do need to be thinking about how we cope if the situation deteriorates and NHS staff are affected at the same time as pressure on them increases. Further plans were put in place by the previous Scottish Executive, which can be called into action if that happens.”

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