NHS Louisa Jordan should be used to 'relieve' care home Covid-19 crisis

The £43m temporary coronavirus hospital, the NHS Louisa Jordan, should be used by the Scottish Government to ease the burden on care homes overwhelmed with sick residents, it was claimed today.

Calls have been made to use the NHS Louisa Jordan to help care homes deal with coronavirus.
Calls have been made to use the NHS Louisa Jordan to help care homes deal with coronavirus.

A demand that the emergency hospital, built at Glasgow’s SEC to help Scotland cope with the Covid-19 crisis, should be used for vulnerable care home residents came as the latest figures showed more than half of Scots coronavirus fatalities are in care homes.

While the numbers of hospital deaths have fallen, as have the numbers of patients in intensive care, care homes are being overwhelmed with residents falling ill and, ultimately dying from the virus.

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More than half of Scots COVID-19 deaths are now in care homes

At a virtual session of Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee, Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, asked Deputy First Minister John Swinney if the hospital, which was built to increase intensive care capacity, could now be utilised to ease the pressure on care homes and their staff.

Her question came a day after The Scotsman raised the same issue with the First Minister and the Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen at the daily briefing. Ms McQueen said the NHS Louisa Jordan had not been built to care for elderly patients, and that residential homes were their homes where they were most comfortable.

However today Mr Swinney did not rule out the proposal and Ms Lennon has said the government should give it urgent consideration and explain why it is not already being used.

Ms Lennon said: “The situation in our care homes is now a national emergency which requires an urgent response. While it is simplistic to suggest that NHS Louisa Jordan is suitable for everyone in a care setting it’s likely that there will be many cases in which it could be used to relieve the pressure on care homes and potentially save lives.

“The NHS has spare capacity and it must be used to help vulnerable care home residents. The Health Secretary should give this proposal serious consideration and if the facility cannot be used she should tell residents and families why.”

During the committee Mr Swinney said that there could be “good reasons for not moving residents” to hospital, and that the government was looking at increasing care home staffing.

Ms Lennon said it was a “travesty” that elderly people were dying from coronavirus without being “tested, never mind taken to hospital”, and added: “This growing scandal needs urgent intervention.”

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