News that 17 patients from NHS Ayrshire and Arran were moved to care homes after testing positive for Covid-19 has been condemned by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
An investigation by the Sunday Post revealed five of Scotland’s 14 health boards confirmed positive tests were recorded prior to discharge between 1 March and 21 April, including the 17 in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
It is unclear whether any of the patients were isolated before or after they were moved to care home, and how long before discharge they were tested.
Colin Smyth said: “Confirmation that patients testing positive for Covid-19 were knowingly discharged to care homes is almost beyond belief.
“Why was it deemed acceptable to place infectious people into care homes that didn’t have enough PPE and staff, putting vulnerable older people and those who care for them at risk? It is difficult enough for care home staff to protect often vulnerable residents when there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in a home, never mind having to also contend with a policy where people with the virus were knowingly being discharged into those homes.
“It’s right that a human-rights based public inquiry into the care home scandal will take place, but we need immediate transparency from Scottish ministers about whether they signed off on this approach, and the care homes involved must be named.
“Care homes were always going to be particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, that was plain from the start, and everything should have been done to prevent this terrible virus from infecting staff and residents.
“That 17 people with Covid-19 in Ayrshire and Arran were knowing placed in a care setting, putting so many vulnerable people and the hardworking staff who care for them, at risk, is disgraceful.”