Health and home care staff deaths

Care worker Catherine Sweeney the first front-line worker to die with the coronavirus in Scotland.

A total of 11 NHS staff and carers have died with coronavirus since the start the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon revealed for the first time that six NHS staff and five carers have died.

But the first minister stressed they did not all necessarily contract the virus in their workplace.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland understands the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been made aware of one of the care worker deaths.

The watchdog, which is responsible for investigating workplace deaths and injuries, confirmed it has received a fatal disease report from a residential care home in Scotland.

Notice of a Covid-19 related death of a worker in the transport sector has also been lodged with the HSE, which did not disclose any more details of the reports.

More than 100 NHS and care staff across the UK have died with the virus, as have many other key workers, and a minute’s silence was held for them on Tuesday.

The Scottish government had previously refused to reveal how many of the 200,000-strong NHS and care sector workforce had died with coronavirus on confidentiality grounds.

‘Horrible tragedy’

Speaking at her daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said there will be “appropriate investigations” into the circumstances of the deaths but warned against assuming that “all of them contracted the virus in their workplace”.

She added: “Every single one is a horrible tragedy but they are still relatively low numbers in the overall scale of the population and that is the reason we haven’t published them before now, because we have to guard against inadvertent identification of people.

“I want to give an assurance that there will be appropriate investigation in all cases where a member of health or care staff die from this virus so if there is the need for learning that is not lost, because that is absolutely vital.”

Not all of the dead 11 NHS and social care staff have been named but home care worker Catherine Sweeney is believed to have been the first front-line worker to die with the coronavirus in Scotland.

Ms Sweeney, from Dumbarton, died on 3 April in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

Nurse Janice Graham was the first NHS worker to die from coronavirus in Scotland.

The 58-year-old health care support worker and district nurse died at Inverclyde Royal Hospital on 6 April.

‘We anticipate more cases will be reported’

The HSE said it had received notification of 30 deaths in health and social care settings across the UK, one of which was in Scotland and understood to be in the residential care sector.

The other Covid-19 fatal disease notification came from a firm in the transport sector.

A HSE spokesman said: “We are aware that the numbers of cases reported elsewhere are higher.

“Not all of these cases will be attributed to a workplace exposure, but we do anticipate more cases will be reported to us over time.”

One comment

  1. Why are we being warned against assuming where the health workers who have died of COVID 19 contracted the disease.

    Do the government not know where the workers contracted the disease. That is what test, trace and track was all about. That is what our experts and government should have been doing. But if they don’t know, then they don’t know, and that is a disgrace.

    And if the government do know and are just not saying then that is another disgrace.

    Too much secrecy, too much spin. My suspicion is that the government do know and are covering up. Just like the local authority.

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