Sturgeon squirms as she’s forced to admit SNP ‘got things wrong’ on Covid care home tests

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Nicola Sturgeon was asked whether she knew Covid positive patients were being placed in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic. The First Minister squirmed as she admitted the SNP government has “got some things wrong.” Speaking at the daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “I try to be really clear here because I don’t want there to be in any confusion over the decisions taken.

“We’ve got some things wrong and tried to rectify those things as we learned more about the virus and how it spread.

“Of course we have known that there were concerns about older people without being tested going to care homes and the risks that created.

“I have said in the last few days that we didn’t know about specific test results.

“We’ve asked Public Health Scotland for an in-depth study on this issue looking at hospital discharges to care homes and the testing of that.

“That work will be published by Public Health Scotland on Wednesday so people will be able to look at that in much more detail.

“We want to learn from all of this. We’re the only part of the UK who has asked for that study to be carried out.”

The Scottish Government has since been urged to ramp up testing of care home visitors to protect those most at risk.

A review of the testing strategy published by the Scottish Government on Friday said the country is “on track” to hit 65,000 tests per day during the winter, thanks to the opening of three regional hubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as an increase in UK Government-run testing.

The document, written by interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith, national clinical director Jason Leitch, chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen and chief scientists, also laid out what they believe should be the priorities of Scotland’s testing system as winter approaches.

The advisers said protecting those most at risk from serious harm from the virus should be one of the main priorities, along with the screening of those with symptoms and in hospital.

The document said: “Given this evidence, the consensus view of clinical and scientific advisers is that prioritising additional testing capacity to protect those most vulnerable to severe harm should focus on additional routine testing to mitigate the risk of asymptomatic transmission within care homes.


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“This could include extending routine testing to visiting staff in care homes, stratified by risk – focusing first, for example, on those delivering close contact personal care to care home residents – to designated care home visitors, and to staff who provide care at home for those most vulnerable to harm.”

Ms Sturgeon said last week she would be open to the routine testing of care home visitors.

She said: “People going in and out of care homes is clearly one such group that we would look to consider for testing in the future.”

The strategy also calls for work to be done to improve the time taken for results to be received by those tested.

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