Scottish Conservatives demand public inquiry into care homes coronavirus scandal

Borders MSP, Rachael Hamilton, joins her Scottish Conservative colleagues in calling for a public inquiry to consider whether the Scottish Government's handling of care homes during the coronavirus crisis breached public health legislation.

 

The Scottish Conservatives have written to Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, saying ministers' actions have had harrowing and devastating consequences for the residential care home sector.

 

Mrs Hamilton emphasises that the decision in March to move elderly patients from hospitals into care homes could breach the Public Health Act 2008, which sets out a duty on Government to protect the community from infectious disease.

 

This comes after a leaked letter from Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, reveals the pressure from the Scottish Government to move patients into care homes, despite the First Minister asserting last week that "ministers are not involved in the clinical decision making about residents being admitted to care homes."

 

 

Rachael Hamilton MSP said:

 

“From the outset of the pandemic, the Scottish Government have failed our care homes, their staff and their residents. Yet again, further failures are emerging.

 

“We already knew that almost one and a half thousand patients were sent into care homes without being tested, but last week we learnt the news that dozens of people were transferred despite testing positive for the virus.

 

“The decisions and guidance issued from the SNP Government has had real and terrible consequences.

 

"Families here in the Borders and across Scotland are now seeking answers as to what happened to their loved ones and what has gone so wrong in Scotland - that is why we have referred this to the Lord Advocate.

 

"It is vital that Nicola Sturgeon and SNP ministers are held accountable for these mistakes and for them to ultimately take responsibility.

 

“Two months ago Shona Haslam, SBC council leader, welcomed an inquiry into why care home deaths happened in the Borders and called on the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her Health Secretary, Jeanne Freeman to show leadership. Their actions this week highlighted why there should be an inquiry and why do the public deserve to know the truth.”