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‘Complete dereliction of duty’: Claim contact tracing failures extended Aberdeen lockdown

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has dismissed claims Aberdeen’s local lockdown lasted longer than necessary because of contact tracing failures.

Conservative MSP Peter Chapman suggested the restrictions could have been lifted earlier if Test and Protect staff had made contact with more licensed premises.

We previously revealed that the Hawthorn Bar was the only pub in Aberdeen to be asked to hand its list of customer contact details to the NHS team probing the Granite City cluster.

Ms Freeman told MSPs on Thursday it was “very much a decision that is led by the local incident management team (IMT)”.

Mr Chapman said he did not accept the explanation, however, adding: “Many bars in Aberdeen connected to the Covid outbreak have reported that no one from environmental health or NHS Grampian has attempted to contact them or to gather their contact list.

“I think this is a complete dereliction of duty and further highlights the failings of the Scottish Government’s track and trace system and I believe it inevitably meant the lockdown lasted for longer than necessary.”

Ms Freeman hit back at the claim, saying: “Regrettably, Mr Chapman has got absolutely no evidence at all for the assertion he has just made.

“The NHS Test and Protect programme is proving itself to be highly effective in a range of different outbreaks, from Dumfries and Galloway, Gretna and Annan right through to a complex one in Aberdeen, to the current one that is successfully being managed in Tayside.

“All of them different, all of them complex, and all of them being managed effectively, because we do not have a blanket national approach, but rest on the expertise of public health professionals.”

NHS Grampian previously said: “Our teams have worked incredibly hard to communicate with all close contacts rapidly and we are incredibly grateful to them for their ongoing efforts ”

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