The Herald ‘owned by Newsquest, one of the UK’s biggest newspaper and website publishers’ is today the media arm of a pre-emptive strike by the private care home industry to try to transfer responsibility for their failures onto the Scottish Government.

In this report spokespersons for the industry are able to distort the truth unchallenged by the reporter.

First, the ‘damning critique’ in the sub-title, comes from Scottish Care, described quite misleadingly as ‘Scotland’s main care body’ when they are merely, as they put it themselves, ‘the voice of the independent care sector.’

Entirely unchallenged by the reporter, the group attempts to blame the Scottish Government for their own failures. These are institutions owned by large corporations, often registered offshore to avoid tax, paying massive dividends to shareholders and paying minimum wages to staff. Often they operate at dangerously low levels, relying on agency staff, to make profit.

They are then allowed to excuse themselves from paying for testing especially of the staff moving from one home to another, from not training staff in long-established and simple infection control techniques and from forgetting to stock enough PPE.

In one revealing comment they demand more testing within easy range of their staff who ‘do not always have cars‘. Why don’t they have cars wonder the millionaire owners? Insecure employment on poverty wages?

In a key omission, the report fails to mention that, on average, the much commented on 900 patients discharged into care homes works out at around one to two each, requiring isolation procedures, non rocket-science, of the kind New Zealand’s care homes managed to do without fuss.

What are the chickens coming home to roost?

  1. Failure to impose simple and long-standing isolation procedures
  2. Failure to train staff in the above
  3. Under-staffing due to poverty wages and insecure employment practices
  4. Heavy use of agency staff and staff movement between homes spreading infection
  5. Lack of PPE investment going back years
  6. Failure to implement PPE use by all staff
  7. In some homes failed infection control procedures.

When dogs bark they are afraid.