Sturgeon accused of ducking and diving over care home COVID discharges

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for “ducking and diving” over the issue of discharges into care homes during COVID.

In a meeting of the Parliament she was challenged to accept the High Court in England ruling that the policy of discharging positive and untested Covid patients into care homes was “unlawful”, unreasonable and “irrational”. This decision has been described as “one of the most … devastating policy failures in the modern era”

In her response to Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, Sturgeon denied the request, referencing the England-only remit of the High Court decision. Instead, she said that matters in Scotland would be scrutinised by a Scottish public inquiry and also by the UK COVID inquiry.  Sarwar described the minister’s response as coming across as “ducking and diving”.

By the time the Scottish Government changed its guidance and guidelines on 21 April, nearly 3,000 untested people and 75 known positive cases had already been transferred into Scotland’s care homes, Sarwar reminded the minister.

However, the minister stressed that Scottish guidance from March recommended recommended that residents remain in their rooms and later, that discharged patients should subject themselves to a 14-day isolation.

She said: “We have sought to make the best decisions on the basis of the best scientific and clinical evidence we have at any given time.   

She added that analysis of discharges to care homes by Public Health Scotland found no clear statistical association between hospital discharges and care home outbreaks. Instead, it was care home size that was more strongly related to outbreaks.  

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