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.”

Doctors are exhausted, says BMA Scotland chief – BBC news

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Scotland’s doctors are “exhausted” and many are cutting working hours or leaving the health service altogether, according to a senior doctors’ leader.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Lewis Morrison told BBC Scotland that doctors were “washed out physically and mentally” after 18 months of the Covid pandemic.

He said action was needed to stop doctors leaving the profession and to boost recruitment of new medics.

The Scottish government said it was working to manage the pressures.

Speaking ahead of the BMA’s annual representative meeting, Dr Morrison said the “workforce crisis” had its roots in the number of senior doctor vacancies before the pandemic.

But he said that the NHS “being run at 110% capacity” during Covid had deepened the crisis.

The pressures across the NHS had been “immense” in the past few weeks, he said.

Dr Morrison said doctors traditionally had low levels of sickness but it was starting to rise.

“I think the cumulative effect of the pandemic is now starting to show,” he said.

“The main other thing is to look after people, to give people the space to have rest and recuperation as best they can, to not pressurise people to do more and more.

“The message needs to go to the public to still be patient with the NHS because it cannot meet the needs of everybody right now.”

For more health news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/health-matters/

Campbeltown wind turbine factory closes permanently – BBC news

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A wind turbine factory in Argyll has been permanently closed, with administrators now selling off equipment used at the site.

Owners CS Wind effectively mothballed the Campbeltown factory, which manufactured offshore and onshore wind farm equipment, in the spring of 2020.

The company said “deteriorating market conditions” had led to a lack of new contracts and declining revenues.

All staff have now either left or been made redundant.

Three-quarters of the 94-strong workforce had already departed in August 2020 with only a handful of staff left running the facility.

The manufacturing plant, located at the Machrihanish Business Park near Campbeltown, was bought by CS Wind, a South Korean firm, in 2016.

At the time it was Britain’s only UK facility for manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers.

It previously went into administration in 2011 before a partnership between Scottish and Southern Energy and Marsh Wind Technology saved the factory.

After CS Wind failed to secure major work with the Kincardine and Triton Knoll offshore projects in 2019, the majority of the staff were made redundant.

At the time the Unite union called the move a “major blow to Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity.”

“Market conditions” are being blamed for CS Wind (UK) being wound up, yet market conditions for wind power have never looked better.

Thousands of towers are required for turbines being planted in the North Sea, with a huge further boost planned in the next 10 years.

Existing onshore windfarms are being renewed after 25 years of torque and tension from generating power.

So there must be other explanations for the repeated failure to make the Campbeltown factory into a success story.

Part of the problem is thought to be the South Korean ownership failing to give the plant the support it needed in the past five years. There’s been a stand-off with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which provided public funding.

But there is a wider question about the failure to link the renewable power revolution to a manufacturing base in Scotland.

The Scottish government sunk more than £37m in three BiFab yards in Fife and Lewis for fabricating offshore platforms. That also went into administration.

For more environmental fails, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/environment-matters-2/

Village to lose only GP surgery after key posts go unfilled – BBC news

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The only GP surgery in a Borders village is to close after it was agreed it was no longer viable to operate.

If follows the failure to fill some “key posts” at the Coldingham site.

Eyemouth Medical Practice – which operates the branch surgery – said the decision was “regrettable” but would make its overall operations more sustainable.

NHS Borders said it recognised the disappointment the decision would cause in the Coldingham community.

The partners in the medical practice informed the health board of their difficulties in recruiting to fill vacant posts earlier this year.

They said this had “significantly impacted” on their ability to keep operating in Coldingham.

A public consultation was held throughout July and August.

A health board meeting has now endorsed moves to withdraw a dispensing service and close the branch surgery in the village.

UK military opens first space command centre – BBC news

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Cross-border City of Culture bid is launched – BBC news

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