At the Coronavirus update from the First Minister today we saw a two-pronged attack from BBC Scotland’s Glen Campbell and Sky’s Jim Matthews.

Campbell said:

‘Can you update us on the prevalence of covid-19 in our care homes and explain why we’ve been unable to prevent mass deaths in some care homes?’

‘Mass deaths?’ Really? Isn’t that a bit tasteless Glen, a bit melodramatic? Don’t we tend to use that word for Nazi Death Camps or the Killing Fields of Cambodia? At the last count (15th April) there were around 250 care home deaths and perhaps as many as 25 ‘in some’, as Campbell puts it. We’ll get more up-to-date figures from the NRS tomorrow but I feel sure it’ll be fewer than that required for the adjective ‘mass.’

Matthews said:

Given the situation in care homes was foreseen. The dangers were foreseen, how would you rate your government’s performance on the prevention of deaths in care homes given the figures we have coming out of care homes? Sixteen in a care home in Dumbarton just yesterday. How would you rate your performance?’

Was the situation foreseen? Really? Did Matthews foresee anything?

On January 24th, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, coming out of a COBRA meeting told reporters the risk to the UK public was ‘low.’ Then, throughout February the level was kept to ‘moderate.’ Did Matthews or any MSM journalist foresee then what was to happen? Did he say anything at the time?

I’ve checked and see no sign of him having foreseen anything at all to do with coronavirus and certainly not to with care homes. How would you rate his performance?

Finally, is the owner of a private care home not responsible for infection control?

Sensitive to the particular patients they care for and profit from, might they have foreseen the risk and escalated their procedures? A disturbing report in the Guardian notes that deaths in English private home were tripling in private homes:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/coronavirus-deaths-in-care-homes-in-england-and-wales-more-than-quadruple-in-a-week

I note that the headline reports of several, not mass, deaths in Scottish care homes reported in the media are all privately-owned:

  1. Berelands House Prestwick, Priory Adult Care – 16.
  2. Tranent Care Home, HC-One – 9
  3. Burlington Court Care Home, Glasgow, Four Seasons – 16
  4. Castleview Care Home, Dumbarton, HC-One – 8
  5. Almond Court care home, Drumchapel, Holmes Care – 11
  6. Meigle Country House, Angus – 1

The Glasgow Times spoke to one Holmes Care employee:

A 51-year-old employee who works at the neighbouring Almond View care home raised concerns about the company’s adherence to social distancing rules and the supply of personal protective equipment. The care worker, who did not wish to be named, said that she had observed taxis taking workers to Almond Court.

https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/18375797.coronavirus-cases-reported-400-scottish-care-homes/

This was by no means an exhaustive survey but I can find no state-owned facility mentioned.