THE Crown office has declared that there is “insufficient evidence” to prosecute any person or organisation for the deaths of four people in the Legionnaire’s outbreak in Edinburgh in 2012.
A statement was issued yesterday that said it was impossible to identify the source of the outbreak.
A decision on whether or not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry still has to be made, and the decision will be taken following consultation with the victim’s families.
Gary Aitken, Head of the Health and Safety Division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said:“Following a complex and thorough investigation which involved detailed genetic analysis we can only conclude that there is no scientific basis for any prosecution related to the deaths.
“As a result, no criminal proceedings are instructed by Crown Counsel.
“This was always going to be a difficult and complex investigation due to the number of potential sources in the Gorgie area but we continued on in the hope that the necessary scientific evidence would come to light.
“Unfortunately that hasn’t happened.
“We will now consult further with the families before making any decision in relation to a Fatal Accident Inquiry.”
Between 5 June and 15 July 2012 four people died as a result of the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in Edinburgh.
A total of 92 cases were identified in the outbreak; 56 confirmed cases and 36 probable and possible. Nine cases were identified outwith NHS Lothian.
Over 1000 patients were investigated and treated in primary care. Forty-five of the confirmed cases were admitted to acute hospitals in NHS Lothian. ?
The Incident Management Team has now concluded the investigation into this outbreak and is now aiming to publish the final report by the end of July 2015.
Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, said:
“I would like to once again express my sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of those who died during this outbreak and the patients who were affected by Legionella.
“The actions taken by the Incident Management Team at the time of the outbreak minimised the impact on public health.
“However, as is often the case in outbreaks of this nature, the further microbiological, environmental and genetic investigations have been unable to definitively establish the specific source.
As a result of the investigation a number of reports were submitted to the Crown Office for breaches of Health and Safety regulations unrelated to the deaths of the four people.
Crown Counsel have instructed that a number of companies be prosecuted on Indictment in relation to those breaches.