The Scottish Conservatives have demanded that the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament to explain why advice from NHS Fife has prevented care home staff being tested for Covid-19, even if they have symptoms of the virus.
A report on BBC Scotland last night suggested that care home staff, with or without symptoms of Covid-19, have been unable to get tested.
Instead, Fife NHS has circulated guidance that suggests access to Covid-19 tests is dependent on a series of factors including the care home’s ability to replace the symptomatic employee.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary has challenged the Health Secretary to explain to the Scottish Parliament why NHS Fife has been circulating this guidance given the high numbers of deaths in care homes.
The protocol also appears to contradict the First Minister who stated yesterday in the Scottish Parliament; “in care homes where there is an outbreak, we now have testing of all residents and staff, whether or not they are symptomatic of the virus.”
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary said:
“Care home residents are among the most vulnerable to Covid19 - this worrying guidance could cost even more lives.
“Already the majority of deaths from Covid19 are taking place in care homes and still the Scottish Government is not giving care home staff the tests they need in order to protect residents.
“The Health Secretary must now make a statement to the Scottish Parliament to explain this worrying guidance and why it seems to contradict the First Minister.
“Under this guidance even symptomatic care home staff do not appear to be able to get tests.
“Scotland’s testing numbers are far smaller than the rest of the UK in general while the Covid virus has spread like wildfire throughout our care homes.
“The Scottish Government must get the advice straight and dramatically increase testing or more residents could die unnecessarily.”
First Minister’s comment taken from the Official report of the Scottish Parliament - http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12636
The BBC report of the advice given to Fife care homes can be found here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000j6mv/the-nine-13052020