‘Why take a chance and delay cleaning’

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The legionnaires’ outbreak that is casting an ever-growing shadow across parts of the Capital has raised many questions.

First there were the concerns of frightened and bewildered residents who didn’t know how to protect themselves from the danger. Can you catch it from drinking tap water? Or from mixing with other people?

NHS Lothian is quite rightly taking steps to tackle that fear and confusion by distributing information leaflets in the affected areas.

But as the situation has escalated more questions have arisen about the way the crisis has been handled.

The most pressing question is why it took up to three days for the Health and Safety Executive to test and treat two cooling towers on the edge of the Gorgie, Dalry and Saughton triangle where the cases have been concentrated.

The Scottish Government says the move was a precaution, but with no particular incident having shifted the focus to these new towers, why was this precaution not taken earlier?

If there was a risk these towers were the source of infection, then why delay and take a chance that they were continuing to spread the disease, rather than act straightaway?

There may be good reasons for the seemingly sluggish response. We simply do not know, because the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been painfully slow in answering legitimate questions from experts and MSPs.

The HSE has also failed to address other pertinent questions about potential weaknesses in the monitoring regime which may have paved the way for the outbreak to take place.

There will be time enough after the immediate danger has passed to sort out these issues.

But while the crisis is still unfolding all the authorities not only have a duty to tackle the outbreak and treat its victims but to address legitimate concerns and reassure the public.

Well played

it is easy to underestimate the value of play.

But few things are as important when it comes to making sure our children are happy and healthy – and grow up to be that way when they are adults.

Countless studies have shown how important childhood habits are in shaping the way we behave in later life.

Having a good quality play area on your doorstep makes it much easier to encourage youngsters to be active.

That is vital if we are going to tackle the couch potato habit.

The city council’s five-year plan to invest £1.5 million in play areas to make sure the vast majority of families have a good quality one within half-a-mile of their home has to be warmly welcomed.