Jackie Baillie MSP, Crosslet and Castleview homes where deaths have taken place.

By Bill Heaney

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, has made repeated calls for urgent and immediate local testing for all health and social care staff and all symptomatic members of the public.

This is in light of new National Records of Scotland figures which show that, once again, more Covid-19 deaths have occurred in West Dunbartonshire care homes than in hospitals.

The figures showed that, as of 24 May, 58 Covid-19 related deaths had been registered in West Dunbartonshire care homes compared to 53 in hospital and four in homes.

Care homes have seen an increase of three deaths since last week’s statistic of 55, up from 48 two weeks ago and more than 30 deaths since the middle of April.

The situation in hospitals is also significant with 53 Covid-19 related hospital deaths having been recorded, up from 51 on 17 May.

Since March, Jackie Baillie has repeatedly called for:

–          The testing of all care home staff and residents

–          No new admissions to be made to care homes without a negative Covid-19 test

–          Daily testing of staff to minimise staff passing on the virus to residents

–          A halt on all staff moving between care home units and facilities to reduce cross contamination

–          The immediate introduction of local testing hubs which could be accessed by health and social care staff and all members of the public

The MSP said: “There is simply no justifiable reason for care home residents to still be dying from Covid-19.

“The Scottish Government has been slow to act on PPE and testing but they really need to get this right for the residents, to whom we have a duty of care.

“The fact that West Dunbartonshire does not have a single testing hub will be a huge factor in why our death toll – both in care homes and among the general public – is still amongst the highest in Scotland.

“I don’t know how many more deaths will have to occur, and how many more staff will be forced to work in impossibly dangerous situations, before the Scottish Government acts.

“The opening of local testing facilities would ensure that anyone presenting with symptoms would be able to be quickly identified and treated.

“My thanks, as ever, go to the incredible health and social care staff in our community who are doing everything that they can to keep their patients and residents safe.

“My sympathies go to all those who are continuing to suffer the loss of loved ones. Both staff and families deserve much, much more at this distressing time”

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