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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 12 May 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Urgent Question, Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase, Point of Order, Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Bill, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time


Point of Order

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I raise the matter reluctantly, after the debate that we have had, but I feel that I must. When she responded to my urgent question, referring to the first Covid patient in Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport said:

“In the first case, we said that the individual was a resident of Tayside and we believed that they had contracted the virus from travel in a country where the virus was present. We did not name the country. Our approach has been consistent in all this.”

However, on 1 March, before the Edinburgh Nike conference outbreak was recognised, the Scottish Government’s website carried the statement:

“First positive case in Scotland: a patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus (Covid-19) in Scotland. The patient is a resident of Tayside and has recently travelled from northern Italy.”

The Government named the country: it has not been consistent and has treated the outbreak at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton differently from the first outbreak in Tayside.

Will the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to correct the record? More important, will he ask her to explain why we have not seen consistency between the first case in Tayside, where patient confidentiality was clearly treated differently from the case in Edinburgh, where patient confidentiality was given as the reason why the news was not made public.

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The issue is not a point of procedure for me to rule on; however, Neil Findlay has drawn the matter to the attention of the Government, and I am sure that the cabinet secretary will have taken note.