This week's Councillor Column is written by George Freeman, independent councillor for Lomond North.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Firstly, I hope that everyone across the Helensburgh and Lomond area is remaining safe and well during these troubled times.

Being a stickler when it comes to statistics, I was unhappy when the figures for Covid-19 only covered health board areas and not council areas. Although we could see stats for NHS Highland, these were not broken down between Argyll and Bute and Highland Council areas.

As constituents continued to ask me for Argyll and Bute figures, I asked if that information could be provided but was told it was not available.

READ MORE: NRS reveals latest Argyll and Bute coronavirus figures as Scotland-wide statistics are published

I continued to press for that information and was eventually told that although the Argyll and Bute health and social care partnership would be aware of more detailed figures, these were not being released “for reasons of patient confidentiality”.

As I do not accept that patient confidentiality could be compromised by providing the stats for Argyll and Bute, and that this now appears to be a convenient excuse used by many organisations for withholding information, I raised this issue with Jackie Baillie MSP who agreed to take it up at the Scottish Parliament.

Thankfully, the figures for councils started to be published as from last month.

READ MORE: Helensburgh and Lomond care homes 'keeping on top of Covid', say managers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Readers may have read the report in last week’s Advertiser revealing that research by Scotianomics placed 10 of Argyll and Bute Council’s wards in the bottom half of a “league table” ranking council wards across Scotland in terms of their risk of community coronavirus infection.

My own Lomond North ward was ranked the least at risk in Argyll and Bute and “one of the least at risk in Scotland”.

This report surprised me as it appeared to be at variance with the stats being published by the Scottish Government.

READ MORE: Helensburgh and Lomond ranked in community coronavirus risk index

Death rates from Covid-19 are normally calculated as a figure per 10,000 population to ensure a consistent approach across the country. The latest Scottish average is 6.5 deaths per 10,000 population.

At 6.9, the Argyll and Bute figure is higher than the Scottish average – and, surprisingly, more than three and a half times higher than the Highland Council figure of 1.9 deaths per 10,000 population.

I thought long and hard before deciding to provide this information but, given the ongoing requests from constituents and the potential for confusion with regards to the Scotianomics report, I believe that the position within Argyll and Bute required to be clarified.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond