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Terminal cancer patient's fears over Aberdeen Covid cluster

By David G Scott

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A WICK man with terminal cancer is waiting to see if he has contracted Covid-19 after visiting the Aberdeen pub where 32 positive cases have now been confirmed.

Ramsay Gunn (73) now lives in Aberdeen and was a regular at The Adams Bar and Hawthorn Lounge where the Covid-19 cluster was confirmed on July 26.

The retired oil rig worker said: "I was in it almost every day after the 26th, and should have been informed about this. I have T4 cancer and was at hospital for a scan last week. On the way home I stopped in the bar for a quick pint and no-one mentioned anything about the virus.

"This has made me totally depressed and I have more than enough worries on my mind."

Wick woman Siobhain Fitzsimons acts as a welfare attorney for Ramsay Gunn who has terminal cancer.
Wick woman Siobhain Fitzsimons acts as a welfare attorney for Ramsay Gunn who has terminal cancer.

Mr Gunn was diagnosed with T4 facial cancer and two spots were found on his lungs in April 2019. He said he feels "totally disgusted" that there has been no attempt to contact him despite leaving his name and contact telephone number at the pub when visiting.

"I was drinking with a guy who says he wasn't contacted either," he added.

On Thursday last week he went to hospital for a CT scan and went to The Adams after but claims there was no mention of any issues at the establishment.

Mr Gunn lost his wife some years ago and has been helped by Siobhain Fitzsimons from Wick, who acts as his welfare attorney. Ms Fitzsimons had to arrange a Covid-19 test for her client yesterday as none was forthcoming and Mr Gunn had started to show "mild symptoms" of the infection.

"Siobhain has been a godsend looking after me, and being my attorney," said Mr Gunn.

Ms Fitzsimons talked about the fears she has over her client contracting coronavirus and feels angry that Mr Gunn received no follow-up information despite a cluster of cases connected to the pub.

"Ramsay's mild symptoms could be his illness but if not, regardless of whose fault it may be, track and trace [NHS Test and Protect] or the establishment, someone should be held accountable.

The Adams bar in Aberdeen which Mr Gunn visited.Picture: Google Street View
The Adams bar in Aberdeen which Mr Gunn visited.Picture: Google Street View

"If it is the track and trace, then it does not work and the heath board is at fault."

Ms Fitzsimons has been looking after Mr Gunn for five years and acts as his power of attorney. She said that it was only through watching a news broadcast that she learnt about the Covid-19 cluster at the pub. "Five years is a long time to look after someone, and after pulling him through his wife’s passing to then find out he has terminal cancer and now to face a possible Covid fight..."

A spokesperson for The Adams said in response to Ms Fitzsimons' fears: "It has indeed already been confirmed by the First Minister we did everything in our power. Before I lay blame anywhere I would want to be certain of the facts. The only thing I’m certain of at the minute is that we acted and cooperated the second we were informed.

"We have unfairly been labelled as the source. It is clear a customer brought the virus into the venue."

A further update was posted on the Facebook page for The Adams and The Hawthorn yesterday which said the owners "have worked tirelessly with Aberdeen City Council Environmental Health officials and NHS Grampian".

Ramsay Gunn on holiday before his cancer diagnosis.
Ramsay Gunn on holiday before his cancer diagnosis.

The post continued: "The key date in question remains 26/07/20. Customers who were signed-in to our venue on this date should have now been contacted by NHS Grampian as part of the Track & Trace system. We provided all information immediately but have since had several approaches from customers asking why they have not been contacted – this is something we cannot answer on behalf of NHS Grampian.

"After having our whole team tested, unfortunately we have come back with two confirmed positive cases. Due to other staff potentially being in close contact, we have made the decision to close our venue for 14 days."

After the cases were confirmed on Monday, Dr Emmanuel Okpo, NHS consultant in public health medicine, said: “Our Health Protection team are speaking to the confirmed cases, establishing who they have been in contact with, and providing further advice on isolation and testing as required. We are also carrying out wider contact tracing work. We cannot rule out the possibility of detecting further cases linked to this cluster.

An NHS spokesperson added: "Officers from Protective Services (Environmental Health) have visited the establishment to assess it. The business had a series of controls in place for physical distancing and enhanced hygiene, as well taking customer contact details to assist with Test and Protect.

"Advice was provided on how these controls could be improved further and this advice has been taken on board with enhanced controls being implemented immediately. The business has co-operated fully with the investigation."

NHS Test and Protect was launched across Scotland on May 28 and aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community by identifying cases through testing and tracing the people who may have become infected.

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