14 April 2020

The Scottish Government must publish an emergency plan to prevent the continued rapid spread of coronavirus in care homes, Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon has said.

Ahead of the first publication of the number of confirmed and suspected COVID deaths that have occurred in care homes today, Scottish Labour has called for urgent measures to be brought in, after it was revealed that outbreaks of the virus have been registered in most health boards and at least 4 in 10 care homes.

Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Monica Lennon has written to the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman asking whether hospital patients are tested for COVID-19 before they are discharged to a care home.

The call comes as UK charities warn that elderly people are being ‘airbrushed’ out of coronavirus figures and care home workers fear they are the ‘forgotten frontline.’

Scottish Labour has said significant intervention and support is needed to address PPE shortages, limited testing for residents and staff and a workforce crisis.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon said:

“Each life lost in a care home due to coronavirus is a tragedy. It’s heart-breaking that care staff and families fear that older people are being forgotten in the fight against coronavirus.

“The Scottish Government has been too slow to act - Nicola Sturgeon must publish an emergency plan for care homes with guaranteed support on testing and PPE.

“Hundreds of older people have been discharged from hospital in recent weeks to relieve pressure on our NHS – and many of them to residential care.

“Worryingly, we now know that coronavirus is spreading within hospitals, as well as care homes, but efforts to test, trace and isolate the virus are woeful.

“That’s why I’ve asked Jeane Freeman whether hospital patients are being tested for COVID-19 before being discharged to care homes – and if not, why not?

“Urgent action is needed to save lives.”
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