Herald leads Jackson, Richard and Willie ‘ambulance-chasing’ into care homes for the elderly

The Herald’s Westminster, not Health, correspondent helps Scotland’s three minority parties in a desperate attempt to score points by articulating for them a weaponised account of the situation with regard to testing in care homes.

It’s a deeply problematic piece of writing full of factual errors and key omissions generating what is essentially propaganda aimed at undermining the SNP.

I say SNP because Jackson Carlaw is allowed to say:

It’s obvious that care homes are the frontline of this crisis and the SNP have been slow to respond.  

Before coming on to the other ‘politicians’ headlined, the ‘facility bosses’ or ‘care home chiefs’, as they are described later, are notably absent from the text. Despite the headline there’s not a word from any of the nearly 1 000 of them or from their chief executive who gave Gordon Brewer nothing yesterday. Were they not helpful in providing quotes?

The ‘politicians’ are the usual suspects – Jackson Carlaw, Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie. In a recent poll only 8% trusted Carlaw, 6% trusted Leonard and Rennie was not even included. These men are desperate, struggling in the polls and not even trusted by their own members. Did they ask the Greens?

Incredibly, Carlaw is allowed to assert, unchallenged:

Care homes elsewhere in the UK are receiving 100% testing, anything short of that in Scotland would be unacceptable.

Here’s the truth:

Care home operators have accused the UK government of “a complete system failure” over testing for Covid-19 after officials repeatedly deflected responsibility for the task and left vulnerable residents unchecked. As ministers admitted it will be more than three weeks before all homes are offered tests, care home managers said lives have been put at risk and conditions for dementia sufferers worsened because of the government’s failure so far to test hundreds of thousands of staff and residents. The programme was announced by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, two weeks ago but only tens of thousands of people have been tested.


9 thoughts on “Herald leads Jackson, Richard and Willie ‘ambulance-chasing’ into care homes for the elderly

  1. Remember that, initially, all four UK governments were relying on the “best medical evidence” coming out of the SAGE group which included Messrs Cummings and Warner, political appointees. As a result, here is what happened. according to Gabriel Scally, from the University of Bristol, and Bobbie Jacobson, at Johns Hopkins University in the US.


    “The pair [authors] said the “Government inexplicably announced a move from the containment phase in its strategy to the delay phase”.

    They added: “Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, explained it was no longer necessary to identify every new case and that all testing capacity across the UK, despite major regional variation in cases, would be ‘pivoted’ to hospital patients.”

    NHS 111 and Public Health England teams working on contact tracing were left “confused and overwhelmed”, they said.

    “The WHO’s (World Health Organisation’s) standard containment approach of find, test, treat and isolate, which has worked well in countries that have successfully suppressed viral spread, was abandoned; entry via ports and airports remained unrestricted.

    “There was no future plan for community-based case finding, testing, and contact tracing.

    “Procurement and delivery of testing resources was ineffective, despite a ready-made viral test and offers of help from university and private sector laboratories.”

    The experts also accused ministers of deliberately downgrading the threat level to supply less effective personal protective equipment (PPE)

    “On 19 March, the status of Covid-19 was downgraded from level 4, the highest threat level, to level 3 by the four nations group on high consequence infectious diseases and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens.

    “This enabled the required standard of personal protective equipment to be lowered for staff in hospitals and to nurse patients in non-infectious disease settings.

    “Meanwhile, a reckless policy of discharging older patients from hospitals to care homes without testing allowed the virus to spread and kick start a second epidemic of community infection.”

    This article is about the actions of the UK government.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Coronavirus: Politicians and facility bosses say Scottish Government must follow rest of the UK in care home testing”

    So is this what is meant in the ‘trade’ as a killer headline.


  3. People are now asking the right questions after seeing media biased coverage. P Morgan is the only one keeping on top of the deaths in care home shambles. Don’t let schools be a similar catastrophe to care homes. We just don’t know enough.


  4. This guy has leant from Jons-un. A lie never catches up with him before the next one is out of his mouth.
    Exponential lying, that should work. No one will notice.


  5. On the BBC News website, prominently on its ’Scotland’ page but also present on its ‘UK’ page where its under the sub-heading ‘Coronavirus in the UK’, we find this headline or a link to it:

    ‘Coronovirus: More than 200 residents die at HC-One care homes in Scotland’

    The BBC quote a statement from the company: “… we have DECIDED TO SHARE the number of suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases and the number of residents who have sadly lost their lives, at a company level.” (my emphasis)

    And indeed they do share (see below) but as best as I can discover, the BBC only wishes to share with its UK online readership selected information from HC-One, that on number of cases and of deaths ONLY in Scotland. I wonder why?

    Moreover, searching the BBC News website for the term ‘HC-One’ reveals c. 12 different articles – all are focused on the company’s home on Skye.

    On the sharing of information by HC-One, the latest update is to 17th May 2020:
    4,949 suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date
    903 residents dying in its homes with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to date
    And for its homes in Scotland:
    1,002 suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date
    207 residents dying in its homes with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to date
    Source: https://hc-one.co.uk/Our-News/Corporate-News/HC-One-COVID-19-cases-and-loss-of-life.aspx

    Seems like another example of the BBC operating ‘bias by omission’ – again, blatantly! It must be aware of the full public domain statement from HC-One. It must surely be aware of the importance of giving some context here!

    Is this an example of a dereliction of the public service obligation in pursuit of a political agenda? It is becoming the norm in its coverage of Scotland.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Perhaps at last the BBC is beginning to realise the significance – the unanswered questions – concerning ‘excess deaths’ in England. Will it give it profile and follow it up? From other data (see later) it is an ‘extreme’ issue for England so perhaps not!

    See this article: ’Coronavirus: How big is the epidemic in care homes?’ – published on 15 May on the BBC News website with the ‘Reality Check’ label.


    It reports: “.. care homes have been hit by an alarming increase in “excess deaths”. These are the number of deaths above the average for the same period in the preceding five years. While on average April sees about 8,400 deaths in care homes – this year there have been 26,563 deaths in England and Wales, so about 18,000 more than expected.

    With only 8,000 of these attributed to coronavirus on death certificates, questions have been raised about what has contributed to the other 10,000 deaths.”

    (From elsewhere in the same article, the Reality Check authors tell us that these c.8,000 deaths are ONLY those which actually occurred IN care homes – based on ONS figures up to 1 May. The total number of deaths OF care home residents in the period due to the virus is 12,526: many of care home residents died due to the virus but outside their home, in hospital.)

    As has been posted on TuSC site before, the ‘extreme’ (relative to elsewhere in Europe) level of excess deaths in England is reported by the EuroMOMO health surveillance organisation.

    See graphs for its z-scores here: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/


  7. Here is a link to Richard North’s column today which nails the BBC again. Is Marr just incompetent where Brewer is not or is he… um… patriotic? Both?


    “Had Marr been better prepared, he might have cited the 19 March instruction. It starts:
    This document sets out the Hospital Discharge Service Requirements for all NHS trusts, community interest companies and private care providers of acute, community beds and community health services and social care staff in England, who must adhere to this from Thursday 19th March 2020.
    This is a direct instruction to NHS trusts, which goes on to say that: “Implementing these Service Requirements is expected to free up to at least 15,000 beds by Friday 27th March 2020, with discharge flows maintained after that”. It adds:
    Acute and community hospitals must keep a list of all those suitable for discharge and report on the number and percentage of patients on the list who have left the hospital and the number of delayed discharges through the daily situation report.
    This is unequivocally a direct instruction – there is no clinical judgement involved. Hospitals are given no choice. They must clear the decks. The choice of the individuals may be up to the clinicians, but the numbers are not in question.

    But Marr fluffs it. Apparently unaware of the instruction, he chooses a different point….”


  8. I’d just add that, from the HC-One website, one can find the number of care homes they run. In addition to the 56 in Scotland, they have another 259 in the rest of the UK, a grand total of 315. Almost all the care homes include nursing care, care for patients for dementia and palliative care – the areas of care where we’d expect high mortality from Covid-19.

    And remember that the parent company of HC-One appears to have its office in a tax haven.

    There will be an amendment voted on at Holyrood tomorrow to stop providing financial support to companies in tax havens. The details of the amendment should be interesting and relevant.

    Liked by 1 person

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