No, it’s been a human rights miracle in Scotland

Headlined in the Herald today from a single campaigner with only a handful of Facebook friends:

A CAMPAIGNER who describes cuts to care home visiting during the pandemic as a “human rights disaster” says she is confident that “meaningful contact” will resume this time. Cathie Russell, from Glasgow, set up the Care Home Relatives Scotland Facebook group in August last year amid growing frustration among relatives over rules that she says were “worse than prison visiting”.

There has of course been a human rights disaster in care homes, in England and it’s still happening there.

There have been 599 Covid deaths in Scottish care homes in 2021. There were 8 101 in England. England has ten times the population so, pro rata, might have had 5 990 deaths but it had 8 101, 26% more. 2 111 lives were lost which might have been saved by earlier vaccination.

Had Scotland, the same rate, hundreds more would have died here.

The reason?

Scotland’s decision to follow the JCVI advice and despite the logistical barriers, vaccinate all care home residents and staff as a number one priority meant that 75% had been done in the middle of January and 99.9% have now been done.

The PM’s strategy to do care homes in parallel with other groups meant only 25% had been done in January and, even now, we don’t know how many ‘eligible’ residents have been ‘offered’ a jag.

Now that’s a human rights disaster.


15 thoughts on “No, it’s been a human rights miracle in Scotland

  1. I bet if you dig a little, this ‘campaigner’ is a hardcore yoon. The thing is, it isn’t possible to respect a duty of care towards the vulnerable, without respecting the relational autonomy of the Other. Which is a concept that comes from feminist theory, and not something Westminster and institutional yoonery could ever be accused of, in relation to Scotland’s democracy.

    Ethical care during COVID-19 for care home residents with dementia


      1. Perhaps, but the principles of “care ethics” apply across cultures. It does highlight;

        “However, concerns relating to the death rates, dignity, safety, well-being and personhood – of residents and staff – are also evident. These shortcomings are attributable to negligent government strategy, which resulted in delayed guidance, lack of resources and Personal Protective Equipment, unclear data, and inconsistent testing. Consequently, this review demonstrates the ways in which care homes are underfunded, under resourced and undervalued.”


  2. Westminster’s approach to government in general, and managing the covid-19 crises in particular, is characteristically rationalist and utilitarian in nature. At least since the murderous science denial of “herd immunity” was ditched. Unfortunately, rationalist utilitarianism doesn’t enable particularly effect crises management, as it tends to overlook “pre‐existing structural disadvantage” and undervalue minorities and the marginalised. So we really need to escape institutional yoonery, if we want to get through covid-19 in good order.

    COVID‐19, ethics of care and feminist crisis management

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whilst I have every sympathy for care home residents and their families through this enforced separation, it has not been much different for families NOT in care homes, only a certain Mrs Ballantyne would resort to such hyperbole.

    The Herald’s headline is strange, on one hand a “Human rights disaster” yet quoting “…visiting rules must remain in place if new variants emerge”, implying acceptance for a future a human rights disaster ?

    The “worse than prison visiting” assertion does beg the question how many she visited during the pandemic and why, but with care home visiting at least scheduled to resume in early March, what really is the point the Herald are trying to make here ?
    Denigrating the SG strategy for keeping residents alive, or victimhood for the families in between prison visits?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I too thought the headline was odd: if ‘new variants’ arrive should (a) previous, more restrictive rules (her ‘human rights disaster’) be put back in place or (b) if ‘new variants’ arrive should the new, less restrictive rules be maintained regardless? (What if the protection afforded by the present vaccines is no longer effective?)

      Perhaps readers of the headline are supposed to experience a negative ’emotion’ towards rule makers/guidance issuers rather than be better informed!

      I came across the statement issued by the care home sector body in Scotland, Scottish Care concerning the new rules for visiting. It shows that not all homes and families express themselves in the lurid terms chosen by Ms Russell.

      “Scottish Care statement on Meaningful Contact:

      “Scottish Care welcomes the announcement today from the Scottish Government about enabling meaningful access for families into care homes.

      “… we are very aware of the very real fear and anxiety which exists around opening up care homes. There are hundreds of care home staff and managers who are really fearful and anxious about allowing the virus in. …. In addition care homes are aware that there are many relatives who themselves are anxious of the virus coming in and WHO HAVE TO DATE DECIDED NOT TO VISIT. We need to support everyone to overcome fear and anxiety.”


      Liked by 1 person

  4. She apparently wants loosening of visiting rules but she must surely be aware that it is visitors be it relatives friends or agency staff that brought covid to so many residents in care homes.
    Is she saying that visitors seeing residents is higher priority than keeping the residents alive and free of covid infection

    Liked by 1 person

  5. P.S. That’s institutional gas-lighting, that is. Fortunately, self-determination theory is well developed, and precisely what you need if you want to counter neo-liberal populism to promote sustainable organizsational practice. 😉

    Beyond Talk: Creating Autonomous Motivation through Self-Determination Theory


  6. It’s surely a human right not to be put at unecessary risk of dying of a deadly virus.
    To have visitors from the community, who could be carrying the deadly virus, going into care homes, would be a breach of the right to life in the human rights act, for residents and for staff.
    I can’t abide the way human rights is used falsely to claim some are being denied rights, as if the media gives a damn about actual human rights, they do not! It should be a human right to not be lied to by the media, to not have the fear and scare mongering piped into people’s living rooms (including care homes day rooms) day in day out. It should be a human right not to be the subject and therefore the victim, of state sanctioned propaganda every day!
    It’s akin to Brexiters complaining about EU ‘elf and safety’ rules. Idiotic imbeciles.
    Human rights being used to divide people, relying on ignorance, by the media is stooping incredibly low, but what’s new. Most people have no clue what the Human rights act contains, who and what is protected, and what it will mean when the EngGov remove their (human) rights in the not too distant future.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is indeed a “right to health”, which is hard to achieve without regard to the biopsychosocial model of health. Journalism ethics are also well well defined in principle, though we’re dealing with a yoon rag here, so your on to plumbs if you expect ethical journalistic practice.



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