The Scottish Greens have said reluctance for regular Covid-19 testing in hospitals is “dangerous”.
Alison Johnstone reiterated her call for testing to be introduced after a new report from Health Protection Scotland showed the number of patients catching the virus in hospitals had almost doubled in a week.
Ms Johnstone, who first made calls for routine testing of NHS and care staff in April, said she had been contacted by consultants working in wards across the country who fear for themselves, their patients and their families.
Ms Johnstone said: “The Scottish Government’s continued reluctance to introduce regular testing in hospitals is dangerous.
“I have repeatedly stressed the importance of regular testing throughout this crisis.
“It’s ridiculous that seven months after I wrote to the government with an evidenced plan for regular hospital testing we still have staff walking around hospitals unknowingly passing on the virus to their colleagues and to patients.
“I have been contacted by consultants working in wards across the country and they fear for themselves, their patients and their families.
“It’s totally indefensible that the NHS staff we all rely on to look after us aren’t being afforded the protection of a test.
“The huge increase in hospital infections in just one week is staggering and I am concerned that the failure to contain the spread of the virus among patients and staff could be exacerbating the situation in our communities.
“We’ve just had to lockdown more than two fifths of the population, and unless we get a handle on this it is difficult to see the situation getting better quickly.
“It’s clearly not the case that infections are much lower than they were in wave one. Wishful thinking won’t help us bring the virus back under control, regardless of what government spokespeople may say.”
Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon echoed those calls, saying: “Ministers were warned months ago to test all hospital workers routinely to stop the virus spreading.
“Scottish Labour won a vote in Parliament to make this happen but the Scottish government still isn’t doing widespread testing.
“In May, Nicola Sturgeon stated the importance of Test and Protect to safeguard people from Covid-19 and to protect Scotland from a second wave.
“Instead, the Scottish government’s failure to expand Test and Protect and prevent the spread among patients and staff has contributed to the coronavirus getting out of control and millions of Scots living in lockdown again.”
Ms Lennon added: “The last thing Nicola Sturgeon and Professor Jason Leitch should be doing is playing down the numbers and minimising the dangers facing patients and staff right now.
“People have died after catching Covid-19 in hospital and we need an independent investigation, not complacency and spin from the Scottish Government.”