Scotland care home crisis: Nicola Sturgeon attacked over ‘scandalous’ coronavirus testing

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During Wednesday’s First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon was challenged repeatedly about the government’s pledge to test all 50,000 care home workers weekly. She confirmed that 11,000 staff as well as 15,000 of the country’s 35,000 care home residents, had been tested.

But these figures were described as “pathetic” by Scottish Conservative’s leader, Jackson Carlaw.

Richard Leonard, leader of Scottish Labour said the Scottish government was “badly failing” to meet its own targets.

He added: “Extending testing to all care home staff must be the immediate and fundamental task of the Scottish government and action must be taken to put the testing strategy back on course.”

Scottish Green MSP Alice Johnstone said: “It’s three weeks since the health secretary announced regular testing would begin in our care homes.

“This is scandalous, particularly at a time when thousands of tests are going unused every day.

“If there are barriers preventing progress in specific health boards then the government must intervene and offer support where required.”

It comes as the Scottish Government has been criticised over a “series of blunders” amid calls for an investigation into official statistics.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have raised concerns about accuracy in the wake of care home figures having to be corrected.

Asked about the incorrect information at Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “I gave an underestimate in Parliament yesterday.

“I think if I’d given an overestimate the criticism might be bit more valid but I actually underestimated how many tests have been done because there was an administrative error in the figure from Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which was corrected last night.”

She added: “We will publish this data every week so you will be able to assess the changes week-on-week and that is what will be used for myself and the Health Secretary to scrutinise the progress that is being made but it will also allow both the media and the wider public to go and look at this data to see the progress that is being made.

“So there’s complete transparency around this information as I think people have a right to expect.”

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Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, said she has since written to the UK Statistical Authority asking for a review of Scottish Government publications.

Ms Lennon said: “A series of blunders by the Scottish Government during this crisis is worrying and ministers cannot be left to mark their own work.

“Nicola Sturgeon has stressed her ministers are working hard and sometimes trip up due to tiredness, however, mistakes and muddles are piling up and cannot be ignored.

“The First Minister claims to be open and transparent but the evidence doesn’t back this up.

“Public safety is at stake and we all need to be confident that the Scottish Government is being open and accurate at all times.”

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