A care-at-home service that looks after more than 200 patients has been slapped with an improvement notice after inspectors discovered staff were not being regularly tested for Covid-19.
It was just one of a variety of issues unearthed at Karma Healthcare by the Care Inspectorate (CI) as the watchdog handed the Gourock, Renfrewshire, service the lowest possible grading of “unsatisfactory”.
As well as a lack of testing, inspectors found staff were putting patients at risk by frequently car sharing when undertaking visits.
And the CI was told around a quarter of staff had not received appropriate training around coronavirus, despite the service having been told to fix this two months before.
A virtual check-up was carried out in May when Karma Healthcare received an “adequate” grading, but this has now been brought down following the latest findings.
Alongside infection control and prevention problems, there were also serious concerns highlighted around people’s personal care plans and medication practices.
A report released this past week stated: “Regular Covid-19 testing was not being undertaken.
“We were informed by staff there was a lack of drivers which meant staff frequently car shared when undertaking visits to people. This meant the risk of cross-infection increased among people and staff.
“We were informed by the management only approximately 75% of staff had received appropriate IPC [infection prevention and control] and Covid-19 training.
“The service had a poor notification history in alerting the CI when there was a suspected or confirmed outbreak.
“Upon the examination of the care plans, we found them to be of poor quality.
“We felt people were at significant risk as they may not always receive the right medication or treatment at the right time.”
There were also concerns highlighted around the service’s recruitment procedures and visiting schedules.
Inspectors found staff had started work with people prior to the manager receiving written references and completed checks.
And there were signs of poor recordkeeping, as inspectors were left unsure if staff were registered with the Scottish Social Services Council.
Employees also said the quality of induction training was “inadequate”.
The report added: “Staff training in moving and assisting including hoists and catheter care left them unprepared and insufficiently skilled to provide support to people.
“People being supported and their relatives told us sometimes meals were being missed due to the timing of visits. We felt people did not always receive the right support to help them eat.
“We looked at visiting schedules and found some were inaccurate and did not reflect agreed visiting times and the support required. People told us ‘strangers’ turn up to support them and they are unsure of their needs.
“People said male staff had called to support them when they explicitly requested female staff.”
The CI gave Karma Healthcare seven urgent requirements to meet to bring the service up to a suitable standard.
Some of these were due to be met by Monday, July 26, such as the improvement of care plans and testing.
But bosses still have time to bring other areas up to scratch by August 9, such as medication management and infection prevention and control training.
A spokesman for Karma Healthcare said: “Karma Healthcare recognises the deficiencies in performance, which are amplified in the recent findings of the Care Inspectorate report.
“This has led to significant management investment, in terms of resources and time, to rectify and surpass the requirements.
“With the assistance and support of both the Care Inspectorate and the council, we are committed to re-establishing the quality of service our users deserve. It has been acknowledged by both bodies that our carers’ level of commitment is of excellent quality.
“We are striving to ensure that all supporting services and communications with the company meet a comparable standard.”
New powers for police officers to hand out warnings to people in possession of drugs have not had a bearing on increased incidences of “spiking” in recent months, according to the Crown Office.
It said new guidance introduced last month “does not apply to possession of controlled drugs with intention to supply them to another”.
Dorothy Bain QC, who was appointed Scotland’s most senior law officer in June, told MSPs last month she had decided to implement an extension of recorded police warning guidelines.
That means people found in possession of Class A drugs for personal use can now be issued with a recorded police warning instead of facing automatic prosecution, following a review of guidance by the Lord Advocate.
The Crown statement released on Tuesday comes amid reports of young women being injected during nights out in cities across the UK – including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
COPFS posted on Twitter: “The Lord Advocate’s guidance that police officers may choose to issue a warning for simple possession of drugs has no bearing on ‘spiking’.
“The warning scheme does not apply to possession of controlled drugs with intention to supply them to another. Such behaviour constitutes a specific, separate offence under S.5(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
“Under the warning scheme police officers always retain the ability to report appropriate cases to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of prosecution.”
Victims of spiking say they have been pierced with a needle in their leg, hands and back and woke up to no recollection of the night.
They are left with a pinprick mark – surrounded by a giant bruise – with risks of shared or unclean needles being used, posing threats of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Club bosses in Scotland say they are implementing precautionary measures, including body searches, bag searches and ensuring no drinks are left unattended.
A campaign by the group ‘Girls Night In’ is calling for a boycott of nightclubs and bars in a demand for the ‘epidemic’ of drink spiking to be tackled.
The group has asked women to avoid major city bars on Thursday, October 28, in protest at safety concerns not being taken seriously.
The recorded police warning scheme enables officers to deal with a wide range of low level offences by issuing a warning on the spot or retrospectively, in the form of a notice.
Bain said last month the move does not amount to decriminalisation for the possession of Class A drugs, which include crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone and methamphetamine (crystal meth).
The guidelines previously permitted the police to issue such warnings for possession of Class B and C drugs.
Officers retain the ability to report appropriate cases to the procurator fiscal, while accused persons retain the right to reject the offer of a warning.
Walter Smith, the former Scotland and Rangers boss and one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history, has died aged 73.
Smith’s career in professional football spanned 45 years, taking him to international level and cementing a position among the elite of the club game.
As manager of Rangers over two spells, he won ten league titles, five Scottish Cups, six League Cups and guided his side to the UEFA Cup final in 2008.
Smith was also awarded an OBE in 1997 for his services to association football.
Born in Lanark in 1948, his football career started in earnest when the defender signed for Dundee United in 1966 after a spell in Junior football. Smith played for the Tannadice club over two spells, and also had two years at Dumbarton, the highlight being a Scottish Cup final appearance in 1974.
By the time he hung up his boots in 1980, Smith had already begun a coaching career that would far surpass the success of his playing days.
Starting out at Dundee United under the guidance of Jim McLean, the young coach combined his duties at Tannadice while working with Scotland’s Under-18 team. He was alongside Andy Roxburgh when Scotland won the European Youth Championship in 1982, the country’s first international title at any level.
His growing reputation as a coach grew and he was appointed manager of Scotland’s Under-21 side, and then acted as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.
That year brought another pivotal moment in Smith’s career, when he moved to Ibrox to become assistant manager at the club he supported as a child. Acting as assistant to Graeme Souness, he was a central figure in a dramatic and impactful time at the club and in Scottish football as Rangers brought in high-profile players from England and targeted success at home and abroad.
Smith was alongside Souness as Rangers won three league titles and four Scottish Cups and, when Souness suddenly left Glasgow to return to Liverpool in 1991, the Ibrox club made the decision to elevate the assistant to the top job. It would prove to be a move that delivered one of the most successful spells in the club’s history.
Under ambitious owner David Murray, Rangers spent big and won big. Smith signed a number of the best players from across Scotland and supplemented them with stars from across Europe, including Alexei Mikhailichenko, Brian Laudrup, Basile Boli and Paul Gascoigne.
Rangers had won the previous two titles under Souness, and Smith delivered seven more, dominating the domestic game as Rangers equalled rivals Celtic’s record of nine successive league trophies. Three Scottish Cup wins and three League Cup wins in that time added to the trophy haul, but Smith’s tenure was also marked by some big moments in European football, including a run in the 1992-93 Champions League that saw them beat English champions Leeds United and go unbeaten in the group stage, missing out on a place in the final by a single point.
Smith stepped down in 1998, his final season seeing Celtic win the league title on a dramatic final day, and Rangers lose to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.
He returned to management shortly after his Ibrox departure, succeeding Howard Kendall at Goodison Park. Though his four years in charge didn’t bring success, Smith was a steady hand at the wheel as spending at Everton was restricted while rival clubs splashed the cash.
After leaving the Toffees, Smith had a brief spell at Manchester United, reuniting with Alex Ferguson as assistant at Old Trafford, but he was soon to return to front-line management.
Scotland needed a change of direction after the tumultuous Berti Vogts era and Smith answered the call, taking the manager’s job in 2004. Though the team missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup, the Scot brought marked improvement to the side and a climb up the world rankings was proof of his success.
Smith and Scotland were part-way through the Euro 2008 qualifiers when Rangers asked him to return to the club in January 2007 after Paul Le Guen left Ibrox.
The second spell at Rangers saw Smith underline his iconic status with the Rangers support. Three further league titles, three League Cups and three Scottish Cups added to his formidable trophy haul, but a European run against the odds was the highlight in 2008.
Smith’s side began the season in the Champions League but could only finish third in a group that pitted them against Barcelona, Lyon and Stuttgart. That brought the consolation prize of a place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup and Rangers took on that challenge and excelled.
A disciplined side with a miserly defence saw off Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Frioentina, conceding only one goal along the way, to reach the final.
At the showpiece match in Manchester, Smith’s side came up against Zenti St Petersburg, but fell short in a 2-0 defeat.
Smith retired in 2011, having amassed 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, second only to Bill Struth in terms of silverware at Ibrox and with his prominent place in the club’s history books assured.
He later had brief spells as a director and chairman at the club but also offered guidance and advice to those who came after him as Rangers boss.
Rangers chairman Douglas Park said on Tuesday: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first-team manager.”
ScotRail will only be able to run trains on several key routes if strike action goes ahead during the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.
The firm’s operations director told STV News the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow would be prioritised, along with routes linking Glasgow city centre to the Scottish Event Campus, where the summit is being held from October 31 to November 12.
The RMT union is the final holdout in the action, which is set to cause major disruption to the event.
Up to 30,000 people will descend on Scotland’s largest city over a two-week period and the strikes would hinder their ability to commute to and from the conference hall.
David Simpson, operations director for Scotrail, said: “The reality is if the strike goes ahead there will be very few routes with train services. We’ll look to prioritise key routes like connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh, and the route through Glasgow city centre that links to the COP26 summit.
“To run much beyond that is very challenging so that’s where our effort is currently being focused. We’ll be able to publicise more about that over the next day or so as those plans come together.
“We have made it very clear to RMT that the deal that is on the table is a good deal, it’s worth a lot to members and it’s as far as we can go. We’ve improved it twice over the last few days in an effort to seek a resolution.
“The other three trade unions have accepted the deal very positively and we look to RMT to do the same. There’s just no more money to make the deal better, it doesn’t exist given the revenue the industry sees and the gap in passengers since the pandemic.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrats said on Tuesday that transport minister Graeme Dey should resign if the strikes go ahead during COP26.
Dey said on Tuesday he was “not optimistic” of a resolution by the deadline, set for 5pm on Wednesday.
He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “This is a situation that we have tried extremely hard to avoid.
“We find ourselves in a perplexing and deeply disappointing situation.”
But union leaders described the offer as “pitiful”, claiming it came with conditions that could cost jobs.
Lib Dem transport spokeswoman Jill Reilly said: “We are talking about delegates from around the world being unable to attend the most important climate summit of all time.
“Hotels in Edinburgh and elsewhere are booked out for this conference but their guests are unsure if they will even be able to reach the venue.
“The travelling public have now had six months of reduced services on the railways, it’s not like this has come out of the blue.”
Reilly went on to point to the resignation of former transport secretary Stewart Stevenson, after a failure to prepare for snow disrupted roads.
“A rail shutdown would be a failure of equal magnitude. If the trains don’t run smoothly and on time for the duration of COP26, then Graeme Dey should resign.
“The eyes of the world will soon be on Scotland. Ministers need to stop grandstanding and hammer out a deal that gets the trains running.”
Dey added: “RMT keep moving the goalpost. If there are strikes during COP26 then we have to prepare for that.
“Not just to move delegates, but for the wider travelling public who will be disrupted by this.
“We have contingency plans ready and we have to pivot towards implementing those plans in detail, and the deadline tomorrow was simply set to allow everyone to know where we stand so that we can inform the delegates, the travelling public, what will be on offer in the way of services next week.”
In response, RMT Scotland organiser Mick Hogg said the union would be available “morning, noon and night” to resolve the disputes, but added that the comments of the transport minister were “absolutely nonsense”.
“The goalposts were never there to be moved in the first place – we have been stonewalled for the last 18 months,” he said.
“No talks have ever taken place, albeit we’ve been in a dispute for the last eight months on a separate dispute over rest day working where no trains have been running on a Sunday.
“Then all of a sudden because of COP26 there’s a rush to get around the table in order to find a resolution to the current disputes.”
Hogg added: “We remain available morning, noon and night, anytime, anywhere, in order to get a settlement – that’s our position.”
He said the sticking point was that “efficiency savings”, which he claimed would lead to job losses, were conditions of the most recent offer.
Tributes have been paid to Scottish managerial great Walter Smith, who has died at the age of 73.
Smith, who won 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, and also had time in charge of Scotland and Everton, was one of the nation’s most successful managers, and figures from across sport and beyond expressed their sadness at his passing.
Ally McCoist, who played under Smith before working as a coach alongside him at Ibrox and with the Scotland national team, said he had lost “a second father”.
He told talkSPORT: “He means everything to a lot of folk. He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends.
“The loss is absolutely incredible.
“The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.
“I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, but what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you want from a man.
“I can’t tell you how devastated I am.”
Rangers chairman Douglas Park said the club had lost a major figure.
He said: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.
“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.
“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”
Political figures also paid tribute to Smith.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith – he was a true football great.
“My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across the world of football.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar posted a tribute to Smith on Twitter, which read: “So sorry to hear of the death of Walter Smith – a true football legend.
“He was a huge figure, especially in Glasgow, when I was growing up.
“He was loved by many and respected by all. My thoughts are with his wife, family and friends at this sad time.”
Scotland captain Andy Robertson tweeted that it was “heartbreaking to lose another great of Scottish football”, adding: “A man of wisdom, dignity and integrity whose legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.”
Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster and chairman Murdoch MacLennan paid tribute to a man who won ten league titles in his time at Rangers.
Doncaster said: “This is terrible news for Walter’s family and friends, and also for everyone associated with Scottish football.
“Walter was a true giant of the game with an unparalleled reputation for integrity and character.
“It was a great privilege to have met with him many times in the Blue Room at Ibrox and at grounds the length and breadth of the country during his long and illustrious career with Rangers.
“It was therefore no surprise to find, during his time on the Rangers board, that his contributions to our various discussions were hugely insightful, cogent and grounded in common sense for the betterment of the wider game.
“He will be sadly, sadly missed. but his achievements across the decades – from his time with Dundee United, Scotland, and, of course, Rangers serve as a fitting legacy for one of the true giants of our game.”
MacLennan said: “Walter Smith represented all that was good about our game.
“He was universally admired and respected, and with very good reason.
“His career ranks among the greatest ever in Scottish football’s long and illustrious history. Of course, Rangers fans hold him in the utmost regard for his long and proud association with their club, but Scottish football in its widest sense owes Walter an enormous debt of gratitude.”
UEFA and FIFA also sent their thoughts and prayers to Smith’s loved ones. Along with a crying face and a broken heart emoji, UEFA tweeted: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Walter Smith.
“Our thoughts are with all his friends and family.”
While FIFA posted: “Very sad news from Scotland. Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter Smith’s loved ones.”
Former Scotland and Rangers manager Alex McLeish said he was devastated by the news, and added: ” My thoughts are with Walter’s wife Ethel, his sons Neil and Steven and the whole family.
“Walter was a great mentor to me in my coaching career and someone I learned a great deal from, but more importantly, he was a great friend and I always looked forward to being in his company.
“He is a true legend of the football world.”
Graeme Souness and Sir David Murray, who took Smith to Ibrox in 1987, released a joint statement, saying that the former manager would go down in history as a Rangers great.
“Scottish football has lost one of its finest,” they said. “Even in the proud history of Glasgow Rangers, Walter Smith stands out as a colossus. He will never be forgotten.
“His 21 titles and trophies between 1991 and 2011 not only earned respect in the Scottish and British game but across the entire footballing world.
“The Rangers family has lost someone very special.
“Walter had a profound effect on both of our lives – certainly as a manager and a leader and a wise and trusted adviser but always as a close and treasured friend. He made time for so many people.
“Both of us had spoken to him privately over the past few weeks. The topic rarely strayed from football. Our thoughts are with Ethel, Steven, Neil and their families.”
Rangers’ rivals Celtic sent their condolences.
A tweet read: “Celtic Football Club expresses its deepest sympathies following the sad news that former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith, has passed away.
“Walter was a tremendous servant to Scottish football and everyone at Celtic FC sends their heartfelt condolences.”
Aberdeen captain Scott Brown, who played against Smith’s Rangers many times while Celtic skipper, said: “It’s so sad.
“Walter was a fantastic man and he was the one who gave me my first Scotland cap many years ago.
“I worked with him very closely with Scotland and I’ve got huge respect for him, especially what he did with Tommy Burns as well, carrying his coffin.
“He tried to bridge the gap between the two clubs which was fantastic at the time.
“Every time I met Walter he had so much time for every single person.”
Clubs across the league added to the tributes, with Motherwell manager Graham Alexander saying he owed Smith a debt of gratitude from his time as a Scotland player.
“It’s terrible news,” Alexander said.
“I just have fantastic memories of the man. He sent me a great message when I came up here to work at Motherwell, a fantastic man to think of me at that time.
“I owe the resurgence of my Scotland career to him and I had without doubt my best spell of my Scotland career playing under Walter.
“A brilliant man first and foremost from my experience of how he was on the human side, how he treated everybody, and I mean everybody, not just the players but absolutely everyone who had the pleasure of being in his company.
“To play under him was an absolute privilege. Actually just getting picked by Walter, I thought I had won already because it was an achievement just to get picked by him.”
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson shared his memories of Smith, saying he learned a lot from him.
He said: “Walter was a giant of the game, someone who gave me my debut for as well Scotland so something I’ll always be indebted to him for.
“Probably other than Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s the top coach or manager that Scotland’s ever produced. To think going back to the 80s with Dundee United and then Rangers, Man United and Scotland. Working at the highest level for 40-odd years.
“He was a huge person not just within the Scottish game, but the British game, the world game.
“Walter was involved with UEFA and FIFA and doing the Pro Licence courses, going to speak to all the young coaches coming through, myself included and he was just somebody that always had time for the coaches.
“He understood the ins and the outs and the pressure that comes with it. He was always brilliant with me whenever I met him.”
He added: “Firstly, it was brilliant when you met him and he knew your name.
“He was always so down to earth. He would come over and give you five or ten minutes and always knew what was going on with your team, how they were doing and what their form was.
“It was an inspiration for me as well whenever I’ll meet other coaches, I’ll keep an eye out on what they’re doing so when you bump into them you can say ‘oh, your team did this.’
“It’s a real sad day for Scottish football.
“It was brilliant(playing under him). He called a spade a spade. You knew where you stood with him. He could be quiet, he could be loud, he had all the things you need to be as a top manager. I learned a lot from Walter.”
Cleansing workers who are due to strike in Glasgow next month have welcomed support from Greta Thunberg and hailed the teenage activist’s words as “inspirational”.
The 18-year-old Swede revealed on Monday that she would be joining a protest march through the city on November 6 and called on the striking workers to “join us”.
Trade union GMB, which represents the council workers, have returned the message and said climate justice and social justice is “when no one is left behind”.
Speaking to STV News, GMB’s Chris Mitchell said: “I thought it was absolutely fantastic, so much so we have sent a message back this morning in solidarity and camaraderie.
“Her words where fantastic. A climate justice and social justice is when no one is left behind and to invite us to the rally at George Square, I think is absolutely inspirational.
“Not just that but to march down to George Square in camaraderie and solidarity, and you know what, we all stand together as one.”
Thunberg will speak at the rally that will go from Kelvingrove Park to George Square as world leaders gather in the city for COP26.
And Mr Mitchell says he has been inspired by the last four weeks, as he helped launch a giant inflatable rat in protests against Glasgow City Council.
He said: “At the end of the day everyone has a right to make a stance.
“I think with Greta she perceives that and we do the exact same thing. We like to stick up for our members and I think what has been happening over the past four weeks has been absolutely inspirational.
“We have been touring depots, gathering support and gathering momentum, and I have never seen so much people stand shoulder to shoulder. And if you look at it, climate change, climate emergency, we deal with recycling in the city, we want a cleaner and sustainable future for the city and cleansing is part of that.
“Cleansing workers have been the fabric of society for years and I think during Covid it just showed the importance of the role that these workers play.”
A £3000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those involved in a series of firebombing attacks at the home of a South Lanarkshire councillor.
Graeme Campbell’s property has been the target of three incidents in the past three years.
In the early hours of May 20, 2019, Campbell, his wife Fiona, a teaching assistant, and their then 18-year-old son were asleep when their home and car Fortrose Gardens, Strathaven, were petrol bombed during the night.
The family were woken when a passer-by knocked on their door to tell him their car was on fire after an explosion.
The blaze spread to the house, destroying parts of the property as well as their neighbour’s home.
About 15 months later, on August 16, 2020, the couple were woken when a man smashed a ground floor window at 3am.
CCTV footage shows the man getting out of a car before wiping a corrosive substance onto BMWs belonging to the councillor and his wife.
The latest incident happened around midnight on Friday, June 18 this year when emergency services were called the Campbells’ home after two cars were set on fire and the blaze spread to the house.
It is understood that the suspects may have sustained burn injuries and it is likely there will be people in the community who are aware of their involvement.
This time, Campbell said, the family lost nearly everything with their kitchen and bedroom destroyed.
“The attack on our home in June 2021 left Fiona and I homeless for nearly three months and now living in an undisclosed location; in fear of our lives and trying to get our house re-built,” he said.
“As soon as the work is complete, we plan to sell and move on. I cannot begin to tell you the absolute pit of despair we found ourselves in being [refused] again, again, and again when it came to trying to rent a temporary place to live.”
Campbell announced he would not be standing for re-election in May 2022 having serviced as the South Lanarkshire member for Avondale and Stonehouse since 2007.
Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £3000 for anonymous information the charity exclusively receives – via its website or by phone on 0800 555 111 – that leads to the conviction of the person or people responsible for the series of attacks.
Angela Parker, Scotland manager for the charity, said: “Our charity believes in safe communities and these attacks on a family home have caused great distress to those involved and also to people living in the wider area.
“We need to have whoever is involved held to account. If you know who was involved, you can tell us completely anonymously by calling our charity’s Contact Centre which is open 24/7… or you can use our easy and secure anonymous online form.
“Please do the right thing. You’ll be following hundreds of thousands of Scots who have trusted our charity with their anonymous information since we began in the late 1980s.
“Whilst being independent of the police, we support the public to speak up by passing on anonymous information we receive that helps keep people and communities safe from harm.”