A leading care expert has called the death toll in Scotland’s care homes during the coronavirus outbreak the “single greatest failure of devolved government since the creation of the Scottish Parliament”.
Nick Kempe, former head of service for older people in Glasgow, has written a report saying the care sector failed to implement any warnings on pandemic preparation and the government refused to intervene in the crisis early on enough.
Six out of 10 care homes in Scotland have had a case of Covid-19 and about 45% still have a current case as of Monday, May 18.
On top of this, 7.4% of care home staff have been absent with coronavirus.
This includes nine people who have died at Lochleven care home in Broughty Ferry, and 11 people, including a nurse, at Pitkerro Road care home in Dundee.
Mr Kempe’s report added had the Scottish Government intervened earlier during the crisis, “many lives would have been saved”, leading to “unnecessarily uncomfortable and painful deaths”.
The government is now being told there needs to be a national plan to protect older people in care homes from Covid-19 and future pandemics and making sure there is enough medical support and qualified nurses in places.
The report also says there should be a national training programme for all care home staff on infection control and the safe use of PPE and there should be an immediate independent investigation into what lessons can be learned.
The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.