Scottish Government silent on pandemic handling criticism amid calls for Holyrood inquiry – The Scotsman

Nearly 200 Scottish care homes took in mainly untested patients – BBC news

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In the early days of the pandemic more than half of elderly hospital patients discharged to nearly 200 Scottish care homes had not been tested for Covid.

Data obtained by the BBC from Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides the clearest picture yet on which homes took in untested and positive patients.

A lawyer acting for bereaved families at an upcoming inquiry called the data “explosive evidence”.

Aamer Anwar claimed it was proof that people’s lives had been put at risk.

The figures, which were released 11 months after BBC Scotland had asked for them, focus on hospital discharges between March and May 2020 – which was the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The PHS data, released under freedom of information laws, appears in this interactive dashboard and shows every hospital discharge by individual care home in Scotland.

It reveals what proportion of people discharged were untested or positive and what proportion of beds might have been occupied by discharged patients.

Although the data cannot be used to link discharges to outbreaks or deaths in any given home, solicitor Mr Anwar believed it proved that lives had been put at risk.

He is acting on behalf of members of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice and told BBC Scotland: “The data supports what many bereaved families have always suspected, that elderly patients were discharged without any regard for a duty of care owed to them, or to residents and care home staff.

“Many of the grieving families I represent describe what took place in our care homes as a massacre that could have been avoided, had a simple test taken place prior to discharge.

“The data makes for explosive evidence for a pending Scottish Covid-19 Public Inquiry.”

Covid inquiry must be given all the powers needed to take action and force change – Sunday Post

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Bereaved families have called on ministers to include them in preparations for Scotland’s public inquiry into the official response to the pandemic.

Cathie Russell, who lost her mother Rose Hamilton, 89, in July, leads the Care Home Relatives Scotland campaign group and said that, despite meeting with current Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and his predecessor Jeane Freeman, they and Lost Loved Ones, another network supporting families and campaigning for an inquiry, had not been informed preparations were under way.

She said: “We have had around a dozen meetings and nothing was said about the consultation process, despite us asking officially to be core participants in the inquiry.”

Patrick McGuire of law firm Thompsons Scotland, who has been involved in a number of Scottish public inquiries and represents some of the families affected by the pandemic, has written an open letter to Deputy First Minister John Swinney calling on him to ensure the terms of reference for the Covid inquiry will give it the necessary powers.

He said: “This inquiry is much too important to everyone in Scotland for it not to include these key groups, and after being professionally involved in five public inquiries which have in many ways failed to live up to the expectations of victims, we cannot afford to see any repeat of the same mistakes.

McGuire warned, if carried out thoroughly, the Scottish Covid inquiry could ultimately lead to criminal prosecutions. He said: “There is no point in spending millions on a public inquiry and then finding the terms of reference have placed a straightjacket on the authorities who are then expected to take action.”

The longer the wait for a Covid inquiry, the bigger the risk that truth will stray – The Sunday Post

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Nursing chiefs call on Nicola Sturgeon to hold Scottish public inquiry into Covid-19 response – Daily Record