By Democrat reporter
Nationwide analysis of deaths in Scotland’s Care Homes from Coronavirus by the Sunday Herald newspaper has revealed a postcode lottery of deaths. There has been one fatality for every 19 registered beds across the country.
The findings by the Sunday Herald have raised renewed concerns about the levels of protection for residents and the continued scrutiny of Scotland’s 1142 care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The analysis places West Dunbartonshire as the 4th highest and Argyll & Bute as the 19th highest for care home deaths per 1,000 registered places up to 26th July.
It comes following new figures which puts at odds the Scottish Government pledge to test all care home staff in Scotland every week.
Back in May, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, announced that all 53,000 care home staff would be offered weekly tests, which was aimed at helping cut infections in homes.
However since the announcement the Scottish Government have not met this pledge and, according to the Sunday Herald, just over 36,000 care home staff were tested in the last full week.
Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh said: “The postcode lottery of Covid-19 deaths in Scotland’s care homes is devastating and shameful. We have seen the tragic impact it has had on our local community, with families left grieving for loved ones and still seeking answers.
“It’s wrong that vital information about Covid-19 deaths, outbreaks and safe staffing levels within care homes remain shrouded in secrecy.
“The Scottish Government transferred older people from hospital to care homes without testing, care homes were slow to get PPE and slow to access testing for staff and residents.
“And now we see that, despite the Health Secretary’s promise to offer care home staff weekly testing, the Scottish Government has only managed to test 36,000 staff out of a total of 53,000 care home staff.
“I have called for a public inquiry into this scandal. However, this is in addition to the immediate action needed now to improve safety and standards in our care homes.
“The First Minister [Nicola Strugeon] agreed to consider a more transparent approach. She must commit to this urgently and stop hiding behind the fig-leaf of confidentiality.
“The people of West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute have a right to know what has been happening behind the closed doors of Scotland’s care homes.
“We need to build back better and end the postcode lottery in care. We need a National Care Service and that is what I am committed to delivering, for the people of West Dunbartonshire, Argyll & Bute and Scotland.”