Hospital discharges into care home ‘reckless’ and akin to ‘Russian roulette’

The Scottish government’s handling of care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic has been labelled “reckless" following the publication of a report that showed thousands of patients were discharged into care homes without a coronavirus test.

Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised for her government's handling of care home outbreaks

The Public Health Scotland report concluded there was no significant statistical impact on care home outbreaks by the policy, but the First Minister said lessons would be learned from the report.

The Scottish Conservatives’ shadow health secretary Donald Cameron labelled the report a “scandalous dereliction” of the provision of health care to the vulnerable, while Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon slammed the policy as “reckless” and akin to “Russian roulette”.

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Mr Cameron said: “Families who lost loved ones after Covid-positive hospital patients were knowingly discharged into care homes have been waiting months for answers from this SNP government.

“To see people’s worst fears confirmed by these statistics only adds to the need for full and frank disclosure from the SNP.”

Ms Lennon said the impact on care homes was a national scandal and called for a public inquiry on the Scottish government’s handling of the pandemic.

She said: “The decision to move patients with Covid-19 into care homes was reckless and SNP ministers must be held to account for this Russian roulette strategy.

“The combination of knowingly transferring the virus into care homes and not bothering to test hundreds of other patients before moving them is unfathomable.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie echoed calls for a public inquiry and said the Scottish government made it “even harder” to protect care home residents by not testing those discharged.

He said: “It's a dark day when we discover the Scottish government knowingly permitted the admission of over one hundred people with the virus into care homes. It sends a chill down the spine to find out that thousands more were admitted without a single test.”

Scottish Greens’ health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP said the figures were “absolutely astonishing”.

She said: “Care homes are supposed to be safe havens for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and it is an absolute tragedy that so many people have been fatally let down in this way. That so many families have lost a loved one due to systematic policy failures is an appalling reflection on the handling of this crisis.”

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