Concern raised over testing care home workers within NHS Lanarkshire boundaries

Scottish Conservative and Unionist leader Jackson Carlaw MSP has called for the Scottish Nationalists to get on top of testing care home staff in NHS Lanarkshire.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 3:20 pm
Jackson Carlaw has called for a dedicated care homes minister

Mr Carlaw challenged SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the matter at First Minister’s Questions where Nicola Sturgeon revealed only a fifth of care home staff had been routinely tested across the country.

In NHS Lanarkshire only 586 care home staff had been tested up until June 7 despite SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman promising last month that every care home worker would be routinely tested.

The leader feels it is now time for the SNP to set a deadline for all care home staff to get tested in NHS Lanarkshire.

Mr Carlaw said: “The SNP’s Health Secretary made this pledge three weeks ago that all care home staff would be routinely tested.

“The reality is thousands of staff are still waiting to be tested.

“For only 586 care home staff in NHS Lanarkshire to have been tested in the weeks since this pledge does nothing to allay the fears of care home staff and residents.

“It is now time for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to set a firm deadline – as to when all care home staff will be tested in NHS Lanarkshire.

“That is the least our care home staff on the frontline against this virus deserve.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Health Secretary has made clear that every care home should have access to testing for every member of staff, every week. After she wrote to NHS Boards on 4 June, all have confirmed they have plans in place for weekly testing.

“We have taken a number of steps to support the delivery of this testing, including the launch of the Social Care Portal and deploying mobile testing units to offer support in priority areas – particularly for care homes and anywhere where there’s an outbreak.

“The safety, protection and wellbeing of residents and staff in our care home sector is and always has been a priority.

“Right from the start of this crisis, guidance to care homes was that infection management and control is paramount in keeping residents and staff safe.

“As we have learned more about the virus, we significantly expanded the testing programme as well as introducing strengthened clinical oversight to help keep care home residents and care workers safe and we continue to focus our efforts and attention on that.”

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