The Guardian’s Scotland Correspondent , Libby Brooks has been a far better commentator on Scotland than most journalists with media based here but, sadly, in piece titled Reporting from Scotland: ‘Accurate and accessible reporting has never been more important’, she repeats an important inaccuracy, easily checked.
On Sunday she wrote:
As her most recent approval ratings testify, Nicola Sturgeon has proved herself a trusted communicator during this pandemic. Regardless, it remains critical to interrogate the substance behind that: for example, Scotland’s own record on care homes deaths, as well as the longer-term political impact, for example those who have shifted to support independence over the past six months.
The dominant narrative of Scotland’s apparent record on care home deaths is a myth much used by opposition parties to damn the Scottish Government’s performance but it is based on data, dubious at the time and since corrected definitively:
Care homes in England experienced the highest increase in excess deaths at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to those in the rest of the UK, according to new research. A study – co-ordinated from the University of Stirling’s Management School – found that care homes in England recorded a 79 percent increase in excess deaths, compared to 66 percent in Wales, 62 percent in Scotland and 46 percent in Northern Ireland.
The above research shows the care home death rate in England to have been 27% higher than in Scotland.
The Scottish rate remains, of course, too high but that was due to the 4 Nations Approach in which Public Health England experts were advising all four that it was “very unlikely” that residents would be infected, as late as 25th February.
Power to determine pandemic policy was only devolved on 26th March by which time the virus was in.
The First Minister does not do the blame game.