Covid: SNP must hold inquiry into indiscriminate use of 'do not resuscitate' forms – Miles Briggs MSP

Readers will be aware of the recent coronavirus infections we have seen in local care homes and the ongoing issue at the Western General.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 4:45 pm
In many cases, loved ones have discovered 'do not resuscitate' orders are in place without any discussion with the individual or family, says Miles Briggs MSP
In many cases, loved ones have discovered 'do not resuscitate' orders are in place without any discussion with the individual or family, says Miles Briggs MSP

I know the thoughts and prayers of the whole community continue to be with those infected with the virus and those who have lost their lives to the virus.

We know that elderly and vulnerable residents in care homes are at very high risk to Covid-19 and the highest proportion of deaths to the virus in Scotland has been in care homes.

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The single biggest error of judgment by SNP ministers at the start of the pandemic was moving delayed-discharge patients out of hospitals and into care homes, without any tests for Covid-19 being carried out.

Reports by the Care Inspectorate, over the last month, have shown that following social distancing guidance and the proper use of PPE is still inconsistent in care homes across Edinburgh and the Lothians. For this to still be the case is totally unacceptable.

It is extremely worrying that SNP ministers have failed to fully implement correct procedures in care homes across the country, when care home residents are at such high risk of Covid-19.

SNP ministers have shown a worrying disregard for increasing testing capacity, even though they have had over half a year to put it in place.

If we are to minimise the damage done by Covid-19 it is dependent on keeping the public on side, but this SNP Government is at risk of losing their confidence.

It’s time for answers and I know from the families in Lothian which I have been supporting throughout the pandemic that there is a growing anger at the lack of answers or even engagement from SNP ministers.

That’s why it is now essential for SNP ministers to begin the public inquiry into Covid patients sent to care homes.

Families of victims have been left in the dark about how their loved ones died – and they still don’t know the full picture. There can be no more delays and secrecy. Light must be shone on how this scandal happened immediately.

From the outset of the pandemic, I have questioned SNP ministers in Parliament and demanded answers and full transparency that victims and their families deserve.

There are now a growing number of questions over decisions to move people into care homes and the concerns surrounding the indiscriminate use of “Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” (DNACPR) orders.

I have become genuinely concerned by the number of people who have contacted me to complain at the use of DNACPR orders and the pressure that elderly and vulnerable patients have felt. In many cases, loved ones have discovered DNACPR orders are in place without any discussion with the individual or family.

I believe we need to see a review and investigation into the widespread use of DNACPR orders during the pandemic.

The time has come for answers. SNP ministers must act now and establish an independent public inquiry. The pandemic has been unbearable for those families it has taken loved ones – they deserve nothing less than the truth.

Miles Briggs is a Scottish Conservative MSP for Lothian

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