Demand for Holyrood recall as eight deaths emerge in new care home case

The Scottish Parliament should be recalled from its Easter recess as concerns escalate over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country’s care homes, opposition leaders have said.

The Scottish Parliament should be recalled from its Easter recess as concerns escalate over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country’s care homes, opposition leaders have said.

It emerged last night that eight residents in a Dumbarton care home had died from suspected or confirmed Covid-19. This comes on top of the outbreak at the Burlington care home in Glasgow where the death toll has now reached 16.

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A home care worker was also among the latest victims of the Covid-19 outbreak amid recent concerns over the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the sector.

Elaine Smith says Holyrood should be recalledElaine Smith says Holyrood should be recalled
Elaine Smith says Holyrood should be recalled

Labour business manager Elaine Smith says the deaths at the Burlington Care Home since the end of last month, along with the resignation of chief medical officer Dr Catherine

Calderwood, underlined the need for the Scottish Government to be held to account by MSPs.

She said: “The eventual resignation of the chief medical officer and matters surrounding this, including the arrangements going forward, is a situation which requires an explanation to parliament.

“It is unacceptable that questions to the First Minister are solely left to the Scottish press, with members of parliament having to follow developments via the media.”

She added: “Another alarming development that members have read about in the press over the weekend is the tragic deaths in one week of 13 residents of Burlington Care Home in Cranhill, Glasgow, and a further three deaths reported this morning.

“Two members of staff have tested positive for Covid-19 and are being treated in hospital, but as I understand the residents were not tested. This is a matter which requires urgent scrutiny of the Scottish Government by parliament.

“I hope you will agree that parliament should not now continue with an Easter break whilst questions remain unanswered regarding these issues and that the Scottish Government must be held to account and scrutinised by members during these unprecedented times of national crisis.”

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The GMB Union had raised concerns over the situation at the Castleview Care Home in Dumbarton where eight residents with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 have now died.

GMB regional secretary Gary Smith had claimed, after communication with union members at the home, that staff were told protective equipment was locked away and not needed, while concerns were also raised over nursing cover in a letter to local MSP Jackie Baillie.

Ms Baillie says the home’s owner, HC-One, has “serious questions” to answer and called for the Care Commission to investigate.

But a spokesman for HC-One, which runs Castleview, said: “These allegations are categorically untrue. The home is well stocked with thousands of items of PPE that are available to all colleagues.

“Our home manager has been professional, effective and has treated the situation with the utmost seriousness throughout the outbreak.

“We have always had appropriate staff numbers on duty, including nurses.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised the “courage” of health service staff after revealing a home care worker who contracted coronavirus has died. The carer from West

Dunbartonshire was among 222 people who have now died in Scotland.Green MSP Alison Johnstone said protective equipment supplies were not reaching the frontline workers quickly enough or in large enough quantities.

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She said: “The Scottish Government owes it to care workers, and our most vulnerable citizens – those receiving care – to provide adequate guidance and protective equipment to keep everyone in our care setting safe.”



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