Scotland’s Covid care home deaths must be answered for – Brian Wilson

The chronology of Covid in care homes is very important and should not be blurred.

One date that sticks in my mind is May 6, 2020, when the subject was raised by Neil Findlay, then a Labour MSP, who was personally touched by what was happening.

He told Nicola Sturgeon that he did not often plead but was doing so now: “Why on earth are we continuing to discharge patients from hospitals to care homes without establishing whether they are positive for Covid-19? Please stop that practice now to save the lives of residents and the great people who look after them.”

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Instead of an answer, Ms Sturgeon turned on Mr Findlay: “Please do not ask such questions in a way that suggests that we are not all trying to do everything that we possibly can in order to do the right thing.”

In May 2020, the then Labour MSP Neil Findlay pleaded with Nicola Sturgeon to stop the practice of discharging patients from hospitals to care homes without testing them for Covid (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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As I wrote then, there was absolutely nothing in Mr Findlay’s question to justify that response which both deflected from the tragic reality and led to the MSP being subjected to a barrage of online abuse.

In the English ruling this week, the judge pointed out that “the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance… as early as 13 March” and was addressed in mid-April.

Why, in early May, instead of snash towards an MSP who “pleaded” with her, could Ms Sturgeon not have acknowledged the same major error and guaranteed the practice would cease? That is a question which must in time be answered.

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