Nicola Sturgeon shame: Scottish leader faces backlash over care home crisis

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The latest criticism of the Scotland First Minister from Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw came after it emerged there have been more deaths related to coronavirus in care homes than hospitals. The latest data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed there have been 1,818 deaths in care homes where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, higher than the 1,815 in hospitals.

Mr Carlaw, also argued Scotland needed to “do better” on testing for the virus adding that every person in care homes should be tested.

The Scottish Conservative leader said research on both the number of people who have been tested and the number of tests carried out showed Scotland had “one of the worst levels of performance anywhere in the world”.

Mr Carlaw told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme earlier today: “If we’re going to get on top of this virus we need to do better than that.

“And in our care homes we should have appointed a cabinet secretary with complete responsibility for the care home sector, redeployed officials, made it an absolute requirement that we get in touch with every one of these care homes.


“And we should have in place, two weeks after the Government made an announcement that they would, testing which means every person in a care home is now being tested, that is not happening in a single health board anywhere in Scotland.”

He added: “Until we get on top of this, we are not fulfilling our duty to the care home sector.

“There is no vaccine for this virus in prospect just now, the risk to our care home sector is an ongoing one, and we need to deliver on the promise that was made over two weeks ago to test everybody in those care homes.

“That was the Scottish Government’s commitment and the Scottish Government have not met it.”

However, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell who is responsible for care homes in her ministerial portfolio said that a big effort had been made to increase testing.

She stressed an increase in testing was “particularly for sectors that require testing to be as rigorous and robust and as regular as possible”.

Also speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today, she added: “We absolutely understand the need to support care homes at this critical time and that is why the capacity has been increased.

“That is why we are continuing to work as hard as we possibly can, with a range of partners, to increase that capacity, to make sure that capacity is being used, to make sure our care homes are safe for people.”

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She added: “The capacity is there, we know how critically important it is to have the tests done.”

It comes after the boss of one of Scotland’s biggest care home groups said they had been “betrayed” over testing in care homes.

Tony Banks, who runs the Balhousie Care Group accused ministers of presiding over “three months of mixed messages, mismanagement and missed opportunities”.

Speaking about efforts to support the care home sector, Ms Campbell added: “What we have now in place is increased availability and testing capacity, there is good guidance that was done and delivered.

“I would say fairly robustly as well, to make sure people had confidence about what their working practices need to be.”

It also comes after chaos occurred at a care home on the Isle of Skye where 10 residents have died in a coronavirus outbreak.

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