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MSP demands lessons are learned from care home Covid deaths

Labour MSP Monica Lennon is demanding lessons are learned after shocking statistics have revealed the number of Covid-related deaths in care homes in South Lanarkshire.

Latest statistics from the Care Inspectorate show that between March 16, 2020 and March 21 this year, 291 deaths were recorded in care facilities across the area.

Of these, 287 Covid-related deaths were recorded in South Lanarkshire care homes that are purely for older people.

And 10.6 per 100 care home places died in South Lanarkshire compared to a Scottish average of 9.2 per 100.

MSP Monica Lennon now wants lessons be learned, so that the people of South Lanarkshire are kept safe in any future pandemic.

She has backed families’ demands for answers – reporting Whitehills Care Home in East Kilbride, where 23 died, to the Care Inspectorate last year after being contacted by concerned families, and calling on the Lord Advocate to investigate.

Whitehills Care Home saw 23 Covid-related deaths – the second highest number in South Lanarkshire

A Care Inspectorate report, however, concluded the home had good infection prevention and control measures in place and there was adequate supply of PPE, with staff knowledgeable in regards to its use.

Ms Lennon told Lanarkshire Live: “What happened in Scotland’s care homes during the pandemic was nothing short of a scandal.

“Those responsible in government must be held to account and lessons must be learned.

“Our heroic care home and NHS staff went above and beyond during the pandemic, but they were failed and put in harm’s way by the government.

“The 291 Covid-related deaths that have occurred in South Lanarkshire care homes are a tragedy.

“But not only must those responsible be held to account, we also need reform of our care system and a National Care Service.

“That’s why Scottish Labour will continue to fight for the people of South Lanarkshire and I will continue to call for reform of our care system.”

MSP demands lessons are learned from care home Covid deaths
Lindsayfield Lodge in East Kilbride recorded 15 Covid-related deaths

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We mourn every death from Covid-19 and express our sympathy for all those who have lost loved ones, and for the distress and grief experienced by individuals and their families.

“As the First Minister and Health Secretary have previously said the Scottish Government will continue to reflect on the handling of the pandemic and a full independent public inquiry will consider all aspects of that, including the impact on care homes and their residents.

“We began the vaccination programme in care homes as soon as the vaccine became available in Scotland and this prioritisation helped ensure that from the start of 2021 there have been no excess deaths in Scottish care homes, and that since the peak in late January deaths in care homes have fallen by 95 per cent.

“A multi-agency information gathering process in relation to deaths in care homes, under the direction of the Crown Office, is underway, carried out independently of ministers, so it would be inappropriate for the Scottish Government to comment further at this time.”

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