Care home Covid deaths 'show residents still being failed by government'

Labour condemned 'rocketing' fatalities after figures showed 79 residents with Covid died last week,

Covid deaths in Scotland’s care homes ‘show residents still being failed’ iStock

A rise in Covid deaths in Scotland’s care homes shows residents are “still being failed” more than two years into the pandemic, Labour has said.

The party condemned “rocketing” fatalities in care homes after figures showed 79 residents with either confirmed or suspected Covid died in the week ending March 27.

That is more than double the previous week, and the highest weekly total since January 2021, Labour said.

It comes as the party claimed access to anti-viral medication to treat the virus is “patchy at best”.

Labour also said that with less than two-fifths of care home residents having had a second Covid booster jag, more action is needed from the Scottish Government.

Party health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie is calling on ministers to speed up the rollout of the latest booster vaccination campaign.

The party also wants to see more anti-virals delivered to care homes to help treat those who contract the virus, as well as continued testing for all staff.

She challenged health secretary Humza Yousaf on the issue, warning: “The price of inaction will be further lives lost and families shattered.

“There is no time for delay – Humza Yousaf must act now.

“Two years into this pandemic and the residents of Scotland’s care homes are still being failed.

“While the rest of the country begins to return to normality, our care home residents are being left behind and put in danger.

“Covid deaths are rocketing in our care homes, if lives are to be saved, the Cabinet Secretary must act now.

“We need to see a rapid acceleration of the booster programme in our care homes and the retention of regular, asymptomatic testing for care home workers.”

Minister for social care Kevin Stewart said the party’s claim is “unfounded.”

He said: “The wellbeing of people in care homes is a top priority.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and we are fully aware of the risk it represents to individuals who are immune compromised or frail, including those who live in care homes.

“Every single death to this virus is a tragedy that we mourn and deeply regret.”

He added: “Clinical advice is clear that testing care home staff with a weekly PCR and twice weekly LFD is proportionate and offers sufficient protection to those at highest risk.

“Our spring booster programme is already well under way with an increasing number of eligible care home residents having already received this additional protection.

“All care home residents are eligible for antiviral treatments and it is a clinical decision to prescribe these, based on assessment of individual residents.

“We continue to work closely with Public Health Scotland and ARHAI (Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection) Scotland to review recommendations in place for adult care homes, balancing risk with harms, so that care homes can return to normality, as soon as is possible.”

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