Coronavirus in Scotland: 113 patients moved from hospitals to care homes after positive Covid-19 test, report reveals

Over 100 patients were moved from hospitals to care homes after a positive Covid-19 test in the first three months of the pandemic, new research has shown.

Between March 1 and May 31 2020, 5,204 patients were discharged from NHS hospitals to care homes.
Between March 1 and May 31 2020, 5,204 patients were discharged from NHS hospitals to care homes.

113 patients were discharged from hospitals to care homes in March to May after having had a positive Covid-19 test but no subsequent negative test, according to a report from Public Health Scotland.

In total, 3,061 patients were moved without being tested prior to discharge in that period.

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Of those who were moved after a positive test, 52 were moved within a week of that test.

The data from Public Health Scotland shows there were 3,599 discharges from hospital to a care home between 1 March and 21 April, of which 82 per cent were not tested for Covid-19.

Of the 650 who were tested, 78 had received a positive result while in hospital.

Some 843 of the 1,084 care homes in Scotland received hospital discharges between 1 March and 31 May.

Using laboratory confirmed cases, 348 (32 per cent of care homes in Scotland experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 in the home between 1 March and 21 June.

From March 2 to June 21, there were 1,915 Covid-related deaths, with any mention of Covid on the death certificate.

The report found that care homes faced a 15 per cent higher risk of outbreaks in periods soon after receiving a hospital discharge.

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However, Public Health Scotland said it “could not find statistical evidence” of hospital discharges causing Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes, as larger care homes were both more likely to receive discharges and more likely to experience an outbreak.

Nicola Sturgeon highlighted in her daily Covid-19 briefing that the Public Health Scotland report concludes that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, "hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak".

She added: “Nothing in it detracts from the tragedy of the deaths that have occurred in care homes over the course of the pandemic, and nothing ever will detract from the heartbreak of those bereaved."She said Public Health Scotland would now be carrying out further work to give a more detailed understanding of Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes.

Scottish Conservatives shadow health secretary Donald Cameron MSP said: “Families who lost loved ones after Covid-positive hospital patients were knowingly discharged into care homes have been waiting months for answers from this SNP government.

“Today’s overdue report reveals a scandalous dereliction in the provision of public health to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“To see people’s worst fears confirmed by these statistics only adds to the need for full and frank disclosure from the SNP.”

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