Joyce White, Crosslet House, Jeane Freeman, Jonathan McColl, Jackie Baillie MSP, Catherine Sweeney, the care worker who died, Castle View care home.

By Bill Heaney

Figures released today by the National Records of Scotland have shown the extent of the Covid-19 problem in West Dunbartonshire’s care homes.

They show that out of the 52 people who have been reported to have died in West Dunbartonshire and where covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, 26 died in care homes, while 23 died in hospital, and a further three died at home.

There are concerns, despite the figures, that there may be under-reporting of deaths.

West Dunbartonshire had the sixth highest care home death figures out of a total of 32  local authorities in Scotland with Edinburgh, Glasgow and North and South Lanarkshire reporting the highest, despite our population being smaller.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, has been calling for urgent action to be taken to protect both staff and residents in care homes in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland.

She raised the specific issue of an outbreak at Crosslet House care home with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman,  and has been in regular contact with West Dunbartonshire Chief Executive, Joyce White, to raise her concerns.

Jackie Baillie said:  “These devastating figures have sadly confirmed what care home staff and the families of residents have long suspected – that covid-19 is present in our local care homes and is having a devastating effect.

“The fact that half of all covid-19 deaths in West Dunbartonshire have come from our care homes highlights the desperate need for urgent action to be taken.

“I have been contacted by numerous care home workers as well as many family members who have aired serious concerns about the situation.

“The staff work incredibly hard and they are united with families in wanting the very best for the residents in their care.

“In any care home setting it is vital that staff have all the PPE – personal protection kit – that they need to carry out their work, and that every care home resident is tested.

“The Cabinet Secretary announced welcome new measures that mean that anyone being transferred from hospital to a care home must test negative twice for Covid 19 before being allowed to go back to their own home or into a care home.

“In the meantime West Dunbartonshire Council and all care homes in the area should halt admissions until the outbreaks of covid 19 are under control.Without such action more lives will be lost.”

Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration on West Dunbartonshire Council, who was not seen – or heard – around for the first month of the virus lockdown refused to comment to The Democrat.

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