In his Covid-19 Winter Plan updated on 2nd December, Conservative PM Boris Johnson has made it clear that hospital patients who have tested positive can be discharged into English care homes and that staff moving between sites were the carriers of the disease.
Will Scotland’s media and opposition parties take heed, at last?
Here are the statements:
79. In the first wave, the movement between care homes of staff who were unwitting carriers was one cause of the virus being introduced to these settings. The government is therefore introducing legislation, by the end of the year, that requires care home providers to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings in order to reduce transmission.
‘Closing the stables‘ SEVEN MONTHS after a ‘horse has bolted‘ is a bit late.
On June 3rd, the BBC reported on a survey by charitable care home provider, MHA:
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. MHA operates in England, Scotland and Wales and has fully tested staff and residents in 86 of its 90 homes so far. MHA CEO Sam Monaghan told BBC Newsnight: “It is not difficult to imagine that a lot of people may not have ended up dying if we’d had earlier testing and we’d been therefore better able to manage infection control in our homes.”
Earlier testing, we now know, would have been unreliable. It still is.
80. To further prevent the risk of infections entering care homes, the government is working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the NHS to ensure everyone discharged to a care home has an up-to-date COVID-19 test result, and anyone testing positive will be discharged to a setting that has been assured by the CQC specifically for the purposes of providing safe care for COVID-19 positive residents.
Now, all Scottish care homes are regularly inspected on their infection control procedures. They all have decades of experience with flu and norovirus outbreaks. The procedure is the same for Covid-19. There should be no need to check again which care homes are meeting their contracted requirements. They should have known to make sure agency staff were extra careful.