Six day wait for full testing at care home in Covid outbreak

The Scottish Government is being urged to provide an "urgent explanation" after it emerged it took six days to test all staff and residents at a Lothian care home during a fatal Covid outbreak.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:09 pm
Redmill care home in Bathgate
Redmill care home in Bathgate

Seven people have died as a result of the outbreak at the Redmill care Home in Bathgate.

A letter from health Secretary Jeane Freeman to Labour MSP Neil Findlay, obtained by Channel 4 News, now reveals the outbreak emerged on September 25 when a staff member and a resident tested positive.

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But it wasn't until October 1 that "whole home testing" of residents got underway at the care home and the day later when full testing of staff started.

Tory health spokesman Donald Cameron said: “Having a robust testing regime in place is absolutely essential in stopping the virus spread through our care homes.

"Scotland’s care homes have already been badly let down by the SNP Government during this pandemic, and as cases increase again, they must be fully protected.

“Families who have lost loved ones in this tragic situation deserve an urgent explanation as to why it took so long for everyone to be tested. In addition, the SNP Government needs to ensure this will not be repeated elsewhere.”

Scottish Greens have warned against repeating the mistakes of the Spring when care homes deaths soared in Scotland.

“It is completely unacceptable for there to be a six- or seven-day wait for care home residents to be tested at this stage of the pandemic,Greens health spokeswoman Alison Johnstone said.

"The apparent failure to learn lessons from the spring is extremely worrying.

“It’s clear that the virus is once again out of control and the First Minister’s claims to the contrary simply don’t wash.

“Scottish Greens have repeatedly highlighted that reliance on the UK’s broken privatised testing system is too risky, and that Scotland needs to increase the capacity of NHS labs and introduce mass testing.

“The Scottish Government has been telling us for weeks that it plans to move care home testing from the UK Government’s failed privatised system into NHS Scotland labs. The Health Secretary must urgently explain why this hasn’t yet happened and when it will. Continued delays are intolerable."

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