I suspect no-one, anywhere in Scotland has anything but sympathy and concern for Care Home residents, their families and also for Care Home staff at the front line. However, the way the BBC is covering the complaints of the ‘campaign group’ Care Home Relatives Scotland is rightly being challenged here.
What follows is based on reading the BBC News online Scotland page. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-54174558 )
“They (this group) say restrictions introduced in the wake of the pandemic are damaging.” Candidly this is such a fatuous statement that any professional journalist repeating this needs to take a good close look at themselves – and their logical or critical thinking skills. Of course restrictions have been ‘damaging’ and on lots of people in and well beyond Care Homes. However, has the group and the journalist never heard of the ‘counterfactual’?
The BBC then reports the group’s use of frankly extreme language to press its point: “These people have basically been imprisoned since March ….” and “… one of the group’s elderly mothers had described the current care home visiting arrangements as ‘cruelty of the worst kind.”
The SG guidance on visiting does cause restrictions but ‘imprisonment’ and ‘cruelty of the worst kind’? That’s two sharks jumped there! When a campaigning group resorts to such language, IMHO they only harm their case. However, such language will be lapped up and amplified by the public service broadcaster: to use such terms to produce ‘shock’ headlines is bad enough when its done by the commercial/corporate media but should be no part of responsible public service broadcasting and on such a serious issue.
Then there is this odd section of the same BBC News article:
“The Scottish government conditions for allowing visitors are:
– Care home needs to have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic
– If there have been infections, all affected residents need to be fully recovered …”
On that first point – that “Care home needs to have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic” as a condition for allowing visitors – the BBC must surely have got this wrong!