A north-east MSP has hit out at the Scottish Government after it emerged more than half of the region’s care homes have seen an outbreak of Covid-19.
Conservative MSP Tom Mason quizzed Holyrood health secretary Jeane Freeman on the number of cases in the region.
And it emerged 54% of homes in the Grampian region had seen at least one case of coronavirus between March 14 and May 21.
Mr Mason said: “Firstly, the figures are extremely concerning relating to the percentage of care homes in Grampian which have reported at least one case of Covid-19.
“I’m horrified by the figures which show the true extent of the problem in our care homes across the north-east.
“The SNP Government has allowed elderly patients to return to care homes from hospital without a coronavirus test and it’s clear this has happened in Grampian.
“Thousands of care home residents, workers and their families are going untested, which is why we’re seeing such a crisis in these facilities across the region.
“The number of care home deaths across Grampian is shocking and devastating and my sympathies go to all of the families and staff affected by these tragedies.
“The Scottish Government’s handling of care home patients and staff is completely unacceptable at a time where they simply can’t be abandoned.”
Mr Mason added: “It’s positive NHS Grampian response team workers will all be tested regardless of if they are showing symptoms or not.
“These workers are doing a fantastic job and we must also protect them to ensure their health and wellbeing aren’t put at risk.”
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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Health Secretary has made clear that the safety, protection and wellbeing of residents and staff in our care home sector is a priority and that is why we have taken a number of steps to significantly expand testing for this group.
“Increased testing is one of the key steps we have taken. Before being admitted to a care home, all hospital patients need at least one negative test, and two if they have recovered from Covid. As part of enhanced outbreak investigation measures, we have been clear that all residents and staff should be offered testing following an outbreak – regardless of whether they have symptoms.
“From this week, care home staff will be offered testing, regardless of whether the care home in which they work has a Covid-19 case.
“Health boards and local health protection teams are working to ensure care homes are supported in the transition to this new increased testing regime and are prioritising testing needs based on clinical advice. We are engaging with them to offer support and to ensure that that this is done in a planned way, and in line with national guidance.”