In the STV Leader Debate last night, Anas Sarwar told us that sending Covid-positive patients into care homes had ‘devastating consequences‘ and that not doing it would have just been ‘common sense‘ of the kind he presumably possesses but which highly qualified medics don’t.
He was, of course, hoping to lay care home deaths at the feet of Nicola Sturgeon and some viewers might think that’s where they went but he knows what he is doing, distorting the facts for political gain.
The decisions to place Covid cases in care homes was taken by hospital medics in consultation with care home managers, in the best interests of the patients. Sarwar does not really think he knows better.
The discharges did not have any significant consequences at all. The care home deaths have been shown, beyond doubt, to have been the consequence of the over-use of agency staff travelling between larger, high occupancy, privately -owned homes.
Here’s just some of the evidence again:
- 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
- There’s a Welsh report saying the same thing but you’ve probably had enough.
Will they ever give in?