Scottish Executive reports on new guidance on cryptospridium incidents

Updated guidance on the management of public health incidents involving cryptosporidium in water supplies was published recently, in the wake of two new reports.

Jan 14th, 2003

Jan. 14, 2003 -- Updated guidance on the management of public health incidents involving cryptosporidium in water supplies was published recently, in the wake of two new reports.

The reports are from the Incident Control Team (ICT) set up to look at the events surrounding the incident in Edinburgh in August last year, and from the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) which recommends a number of improvements in the handling of such incidents.

The Edinburgh ICT report highlights the need for updated guidance on incident management to clarify accountability, roles and responsibilities and to reflect public expectations about health risk warnings. These issues had already been identified as priorities by the Ad-Hoc Ministerial Group on Public Health and Water Supplies.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:
"I am pleased that we are today able to publish updated guidance on management of cryptosporidium incidents, based on advice from the expert group led by Professor Bouchier. We will also be publishing updated guidance for management of all types of public health incident for consultation later this month.

"Together, these will address the incident management recommendations in the ICT report. They will also create a strong framework on which Scottish Water and public health organisations can build in finalising a new Water Hazard Incident Plan, another key recommendation from the Ad-Hoc Ministerial Group and the ICT report."

The DWQR's report makes a number of recommendations for operational improvements required to minimise the risk of recurrence of these type of incidents.

Minister for Environment and Rural Development Ross Finnie said: "This report confirms that Scottish Water's compliance with current statutory requirements is generally good. However, it also recommends a range of improvements and we plan to strengthen the obligations on Scottish Water through a revision to the Cryptosporidium Direction.

"I also welcome Scottish Water's commitment to address the recommendations for operational improvements."

The Edinburgh ICT report was published by NHS Lothian. It forms part of the learning from experience process, which the Executive requires NHS Boards to undertake following significant public health incidents. This process is designed to ensure lessons are learned from such incidents and to ensure steps are taken to minimise risks of recurrence and allow improvements in incident management arrangements to be identified.

The report from the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) was commissioned by the Ad-Hoc Ministerial Group on Public Health and Water supplies, established following the Glasgow and Edinburgh incidents.

The Executive published the advice from the Bouchier expert group on 5 November 2002.


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