Last night, Reporting Scotland suggested Scottish Government guidance on hospital transfers to care homes might have cost lives then gave four opposition politicians the opportunity to make worn claims in an attempt to lay deaths at the doors of Holyrood.
The complete absence of evidence for their claims was not even offered as balance.
The evidence now long in, that corporate greed and neglect in larger care homes was responsible was not mentioned either.
The independent academic explanation from a professor appeared after the four politicians had done their damage.
This story is now a full urban myth.
Today, the First Minister before responding to a gaggle of drooling hacks repeating the same confused claims laid out the facts. Here they are again.
The First Minister:
Firstly, you may have seen some media coverage over the weekend, which has prompted some of you to email about the policy of testing people when they are being discharged from hospital to care homes. In light of that coverage I want to provide some reassurance on our because I know this an issue that can cause concern.
In particular, I want to emphasise that the policy is that anyone who has had Covid should have two negative tests before being discharged from a hospital to a care home.
Anyone who has been in hospital for reasons other than Covid should still have one negative test recorded before discharged to a care home.
That is the policy, and it is very clear and it has not changed since we introduced that earlier in the pandemic.
However, sometimes, there can be exceptional circumstances based on the clinical interests of a patient that mean something different will happen and again, this has not changed but I want to stress today that that would only be in exceptional circumstances and give some explanation of what that might be.
Sometimes, for example, a clinical care team looking after a patient in hospital, particularly if that patient is coming towards the end of their life, it might be clear that it would in the best interests of the patient to spend their remaining days at home, and in this context of course, for many older people home is a care home.
And the clinical team in judging might also judge that the patient, because of their overall condition, is unable to consent to a test or that a test might cause them harm or distress given the circumstances that they are in.
And it’s worth remembering that the Covid PCR test, which many of you watching may now have had the experience of, is quite an invasive test.
So it is only in these exceptional circumstances, driven by the clinical interests of an individual patient that someone could be moved to a care home without a test being done.
And it’s important to also stress that this would only happen in consultation with the patient, if that is possible, and with the patient’s family, and the care home.
It would follow a thorough risk assessment, with appropriate mitigating actions and support being put in place. And a 14 day period of isolation would also be applied to that patient.
Such a decision, and I think that is the key point I would want to make today, would be clinically led and driven by the clinical interests of the patient. It would be wrong, and I hope you can understand this, for any politician to seek to interfere with clinical decisions of this nature.
But the point that it is important for me to stress, is that what I’ve just outlined to you there are exceptional circumstances driven by clinical decisions and they don’t change the overall policy that we have in place.
That policy is clear, and it is one we expect to be followed, care home residents in hospital for Covid and being discharged to care homes should be tested before being moved.
I hope that that provides reassurance to people and explanation to people and especially to people who do have loved ones in a care home right now.
Restrained or whit?
I could never be a politician.
I’d blow a gasket!