In an appalling show of misinformation aimed at undermining the Scottish Government, Reporting Scotland recycle the urban myth that hospital discharges caused care home Covid outbreaks.
Nobody credible believes this and BBC Scotland knows that too.
Who are the ‘many people?’ Well, there’s Neil Findlay, Monica Lennon, David Cameron, Alex Cole-Hamilton. What qualifications do these people have? None.
The First Minister, the Health Secretary and Professor Bauld clarify that it only happens in exceptional circumstances. Highly-qualified and dedicated clinicians decide that some patients, perhaps with dementia, would be traumatised by testing procedures, are being traumatised by being in the more formal clinical setting and trust the skilled staff in homes to be able to isolate the patients until they can be safely integrated more widely in the home.
Five research studies find no evidence that such discharges played any part in outbreaks in care homes but link them to large corporation-owned homes with maximum occupancy levels and bare staffing levels held up with over-use of agency staff travelling between sites:
- 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?https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52912538
- We know from BBC Scotland’s own report that the Skye care home outbreak was associated with ‘a large dependency on agency staff‘: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-52546673
- 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.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-kills-six-and-leaves-dozens-seriously-ill-at-skye-care-home-3g70vxbf6
- 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. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/impactofcoronavirusincarehomesinenglandvivaldi/26mayto19june2020#main-points
- Public Health Scotland report says that the discharges played no significant part in the outbreaks https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/covid-19/discharges-from-nhsscotland-hospitals-to-care-homes/
- There’s a Welsh report saying the same thing but you’ve probably had enough.