Freeman leaves Sturgeon with serious questions to answer

Jeane Freeman’s admission about the transfer of Covid-positive patients to care homes leaves Nicola Sturgeon with serious questions to answer, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

After months where the SNP Government didn’t acknowledge their role in the care home deaths scandal, Freeman finally conceded they made a “mistake.”

She told the BBC: “But we didn’t take the right precautions to make sure that older people leaving hospital going into care homes were as safe as they could be and that was a mistake.

Freeman added: “Now, I might argue we couldn’t do anything other than we did and all the rest of it but it still created a real problem for those older people and for the others who lived in care homes and for the staff who worked in care homes.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “For almost a year, grieving families have been left without answers on how their loved ones were put at risk.

“The public deserve upfront honesty when a grave mistake like this is made. Instead, the SNP hid their errors, tried to spin and manipulate a report on care home deaths, and they’ve kept everyone in the dark about what really happened.

“This admission raises serious questions for Nicola Sturgeon about what she knew and when about the transfer of Covid-positive patients to care homes, where so many vulnerable people ultimately lost their lives.

“Jeane Freeman has indicated the SNP Government were at fault, which confirms the need for an urgent public inquiry but also raises the possibility of legal action from families.

“We are only just starting to get answers when the health secretary has one foot out the door, which leaves an obvious question – why are we only finding out about this now?”

Notes

 

Transcript as follows –

JF: I think our failures were not understanding the social care sector well enough so we didn’t respond quickly enough to what was needed in our care homes but also in social care in the community.

NR: The highest death rate in care homes in the UK was in Scotland after many many people were sent into care homes with the infection. Thousands of words have been written about this but if there’s one thing you think ‘that’s what we got wrong’ - how would summarise it?

JF: We wanted people who didn’t need to stay in hospital any longer because they’d been treated and they were clinically well to be discharged as quickly as possible so we freed up those beds for covid patients. Remember, the early predictions about the number of people going into hospital were terrifying actually. But we didn’t take the right precautions to make sure that older people leaving hospital going into care homes were as safe as they could be and that was a mistake. Now, I might argue we couldn’t do anything other than we did and all the rest of it but it still created a real problem for those older people and for the others who lived in care homes and for the staff who worked in care homes.

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