Nicola Sturgeon defends care home policy over transfer of Covid patients

Nicola Sturgeon has defended Scottish Government guidance after it emerged dozens of elderly hospital patients were transferred to care homes after testing positive for Coronavirus

Nicola Sturgeon defended care home guidance

The First Minister insisted that screening of patients always took place to avoid inappropriate transfer and suggested that keeping older people in hospital during a pandemic may not have been "right or proper."

It emerged over the weekend that five health boards transferred 37 patients to care homes around the time that lockdown was put in place in March after they had tested positive.

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Opposition parties have called on Lord Advocate James Wolffe to urgently investigate situation.

The First Minister said during today's daily Coronavirus briefing that she expects "lessons to be learned" from the Scottish Government's handling of the pandemic.

But she added: "Care was taken to put guidance in place that was considered to be appropriate at every stage.

"For example, from mid-March that included guidance requiring clinical screening of patients being transferred from hospitals to care homes to guard against inappropriate transfer. It also advised social isolation within care homes."

The cases will have involved older people with no medical need to be in hospital, Ms Sturgeon added.

"Keeping them in hospital, particularly in the phase of a pandemic, would not necessarily have been the right or proper or appropriate thing to do," she said.

The SNP leader accepted that "proper scrutiny" of the response to Covid, including in care homes, is "really essential."

She added: "That scrutiny must include consideration of whether, based on what we knew at each stage, the guidance in place was appropriate and properly implemented.

"That's why we have committed to a public inquiry in due course."

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