Is this the last attempt to blame SNP Government for care home deaths?

As Police Scotland and relatives begin action against care home owners HC-One, a not-very-academic attempts to revive the dis-proven ‘discharges theory.’ Headlining in the Herald today:

CARE homes were treated as if they were hospitals and the pandemic heightened prejudice against “poorly paid but knowledgeable” staff who should not be blamed for death rates and system failures, an elderly care expert has said. Professor June Andrews, who is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, said there should have been greater government consultation with the care sector before key decisions were made such as the transfer of elderly patients from hospitals, seen as partly responsible for soaring death rates.

Professor Andrews is one of those so-called profs, but really just managers, appointed as such in hospital alliances with universities, and who might struggle to complete an undergraduate research methods module.

Andrews has undergraduate degree in Philosophy and English literature followed by a ‘post graduate degree‘ in American Studies and is co-author of Ten Helpful Hints for Carers of People with Dementia! Scotland’s universities are now full of ‘professors‘ who wouldn’t know a research method if it….finish that yourself.

As for ‘Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing‘ that’s just a trade union with a pretentious title.

That Andrews is not a reliable source of opinion on the deaths in care homes is clear from her apparent ignorance of several peer-reviewed research studies showing that the transient agency staff were the unwitting agents of the infections in care homes and of the complete lack of any reliable evidence for the much-loved, by Unionists, notion that untested hospital discharges were to blame. There is none for the latter claim.

Here once again is the evidence:

  1. The charitable MHA with a presence in Scotland did research into its own homes and 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?
  2. We know from BBC Scotland’s own report that the Skye care home outbreak was associated with ‘a large dependency on agency staff‘:
  3. Former BBC Scotland Head of News, John Boothman, now at the Times, wrote: HC-One, Britain’s largest care home chain and the operator of Home Farm, faces allegations that it paid insufficient heed to the [Scottish] government’s lockdown by parachuting workers in from as far away as Kent, 645 miles away, to plug staff shortages in a sector where pay is notoriously poor.
  4. An ONS study of 9 081 care homes in England found this: These emerging findings reveal some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infections amongst residents.These include prevalence of infection in staff, some care home practices such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in London and the West Midlands). There is some evidence that in care homes where staff receive sick pay, there are lower levels of infection in residents.

5 thoughts on “Is this the last attempt to blame SNP Government for care home deaths?”

  1. ‘Prejudice against poorly paid but knowledgeable staff’. ‘Prejudice’ from who? To use such an emotive word in this context, the Herald are really scraping the barrel. Do they know what ‘prejuduce’ means! As for ‘consultation with the care sector’, the Scottish government cannot be blamed for what should have been a common sense approach by these private companies in taking decisive, measured and appropriate action when required. They should have been much more prepared, but they were not, they bussed in care workers from 600 miles away, they did not provide staff with adequate PPE. The whole failure to protect staff and care home residents must lie at the feet of the care home managers and owners, simple. The Herald is really a disgrace in not reporting the truth, and especially now when the police are involved in an investigation into this terrible and tragic saga.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be fair, though, this journalist(?) doesn’t seem to understand the subtleties of the language. They referred to Prof A as “an elderly care expert”. Did they mean she was an elderly expert in care, or a expert in care of the elderly?

      I blame the fact that I was the last year to be taught formal grammar at school. Apparently, children automatically picked up correct grammatical constructions, according to the Govt of the day (forget what colour – does it matter?). Frustrated lecturers used to write “Get a bloody grammar book!” on the bottom of essays. I leave you to imagine what the reaction of lecturers in Linguistic was when faced with teaching what a verb was…

      That said, I agree. The result is appalling. Ignorance is no excuse, whether the sloppiness is deliberate or endemic.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Since the “Professor’ has a first degree in English, I would have expected she would have recognised the grammatical error you have pointed out. In addition I believe journalists, since they have to write receive some training in grammar, but since the Herod does not seem to have any ‘journalists’ any more then that kind of grammar is what we have come to expect.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem with this is we dont know where the transmission of the virus came into the homes from. At the time these patients were moved no testing of staff was happening. Indeed no testing of patents was happening. It is entirely possible that patients were transferred into homes with the virus or that it came from staff noone knows.
    Also you cant say it is definately agency staff because some homes with infection didnt use agency staff . Mistakes were made and lessons need to be learned.
    A better argument would be saying families are now arguing to let them have more contact with residents of care home , how can that possibly be controlled. What happens if they bring the virus in it affects their family member who then infects staff who then infects another 3 residents 2 of which die . Its awful these poor souls are suffering but we cant see a way round it.


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