Jason Leitch 'as confident as I can be' that Scottish care homes can deal with second wave

The national clinical director was responding to a question at the coronavirus briefing

Friday, 18th September 2020, 4:45 pm
Care homes will be able to deal with a second wave, Jason Leitch said.
Care homes will be able to deal with a second wave, Jason Leitch said.

The Scottish Government’s most prominent medical figure has said he is ‘as confident as he can be’ that care homes are ready to face a second wave of Covid-19.

Jason Leitch, the national clinical director and the First Minister said lessons had been learned by the Scottish Government following the thousands of deaths in care homes in the early stage of the pandemic.

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Responding to a question during her daily coronavirus briefing connected to the ‘unsatisfactory’ rating for infection control received by Guthrie House Care Home in Edinburgh, which was linked to 13 Covid-19 deaths in April, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was in now way complacent.

The inspection report was used as an example of the Scottish Government’s failings to adequately protect care home residents by the Scottish Conservatives, while owners Four Seasons Health Care said they “deeply regret” the fact the care home had dropped below acceptable standards.

The First Minister said: “I have not seen the report you refer to although obviously I look at Care Inspectorate reports and other information on care homes very regularly and we’re not complacent in any way shape or form about care homes generally or any particular care home.

"We have learned a lot of lessons over the last six months. The oversight and governance around care homes particularly relating to Covid and infection control is very different now.

"We have governance which is led by directors of public health in each health board area, obviously we’ve got a different testing regime in care homes and there is process underway right now before we head into winter we’re looking afresh at the guidance and considering any changes that need to be made there.

"This is something that is very very high up our list of priorities and there are a whole range of things that we need to take account of.”

Dr Leitch added that the coronavirus is able to enter institutions which seem very secure, and added that care homes had learned more about how best to deal with Covid-19 as the pandemic progressed.

He said: "We have learned a great deal in the last five or six months and care homes have learned along with us around PPE, around testing, around regime of infection and prevention control, around the governance that the First Minister mentioned from health boards.

"So I am as confident as I can be that we are in a good place but this virus doesn’t need much encouragement.

"It can get into places even when they feel very very secure. That is a real balance because I am very conscious of my inbox being filled with people who are really missing visiting and seeing their elderly friends and relatives and I am too.

"We need to try and do that as safely as we can while also protecting that group within our society that are living in their homes inside their care homes.”

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