New independent Covid care home report needed

The Scottish Conservatives have said a new independent report on Covid deaths in care homes is necessary after it emerged that Public Health Scotland are required to protect SNP ministers.

The Times reported today that the Public Health Scotland (PHS) agency are required to judge if their research is critical of the Scottish Government.

Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman Annie Wells MSP said new analysis was needed to establish all the facts as the controversial PHS report on Covid deaths in Scotland’s care homes may have been “compromised”.

Journalists were given just 15 minutes to look over the report before the First Minister’s daily briefing, where she pushed the misleading line that the report indicated there was not “statistical evidence” showing a link between Covid-positive discharges and outbreaks in care homes.

The report gave no information on what percentage of homes suffered an outbreak after receiving a Covid-positive patient.

The SNP Government press release on the report did not even reference the transfer of Covid-positive patients to care homes.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Annie Wells MSP, said: “There is a blatant conflict of interest in Public Health Scotland judging SNP ministers, who the agency has a duty to protect from criticism.

“The Public Health Scotland report on Covid deaths in care homes was controversial from the start. It was delayed and when it was finally released, the SNP set about spinning lines and downplaying its findings.

“Grieving families were furious at the lack of answers it gave.

“This news calls into question if the findings of that report were compromised. The revelation that Public Health Scotland must protect SNP ministers may well explain why key information was omitted.

“We now need a new, truly independent report on what went wrong in Scotland’s care homes, where more than 3000 people tragically lost their lives. Families deserve comprehensive analysis they can trust.”

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