This is wrong in England just as it is wrong in Labour Wales and in SNP Scotland.
The Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Meg Hillier (Lab) and populated with enough Labour members, Lib Dems and Tory exiles to support it, has produced a report which fails to consider the key evidence from research which convincingly demonstrates the role of the extensive use of agency workers in spreading the virus across the care home sector.
From MHA, the UK’s largest charitable care home provider:
I think it’s very difficult not to see that the only real way that this can have come into our homes is through staff picking it up, just through the community contacts they would have had.
Absent from BBC Scotland’s coverage but covered by BBC UK where the Conservative Party leadership is preferred but feared target, this report clarifies the role played by agency staff in spreading the virus.
Remarkably, this is based on a charitable, not-for-profit, organisation’s research into its own homes.
MHA, with a presence in Scotland, which paid to test its own staff, discovered this:
Large numbers of staff could have been unknowingly spreading coronavirus through care homes, according to the UK’s largest charitable care home provider. Data from MHA shows 42% of its staff members who recently tested positive were not displaying symptoms. Nearly 45% of residents who had a positive test were also asymptomatic.
The MHA Chief Executive said:
I think it’s very difficult not to see that the only real way that this can have come into our homes is through staff picking it up, just through the community contacts they would have had. I think that is what is so hard for all our staff, because they care. But if they don’t know they’ve contracted the virus, how can you manage this?
MHA have not blamed the discharge of patients out of hospitals and in to their care homes for the arrival of the virus.
Now today, we see comparable evidence from Wales:
A summary of the Public Health Wales research published by the Welsh Government said initially there seemed to be a link between outbreaks and discharges, but when the size of the homes was factored in the risk diminished.
After adjusting for the size of the home, health officials said “there was no additional frequency in the number of outbreaks occurring in care homes following discharges when compared to no discharges”.
PHW said a pan-Wales analysis is expected in the near future and will be submitted for peer review by other scientists.