Nicola Sturgeon defends handling of coronavirus crisis in care homes

Echoing a comment by Health Secretary Freeman in a briefing some months ago, the First Minister has laid down a marker for any forthcoming inquiry.

Care home owners were clearly advised to isolate new arrivals and will not be allowed to wriggle out of their responsibilities to try to transfer guilt onto hospital staff or Scottish Government advisers.

Responding, today, to opposition parties clamouring for an inquiry which they hope will criticise the hospital discharges, we heard:

Like me, many readers have wondered why the isolation of new arrivals or of any residents showing symptoms seemed to be particularly challenging or novel for care homes with qualified staff on site and decades of experience in infection control during annual flu and Norovirus outbreaks.

When care home owners began to criticise guidance or to demand new versions of it, I think we could all smell their fear of being exposed for their callous incompetence. When the GMB and the opposition parties joined them in an unholy alliance to blame the Health Secretary, the naked politicising of mass deaths became clear.

Readers will also, by now, be aware of three extensive research studies making clear that the primary responsibility for the outbreaks in care homes lies in the reliance on agency staff: