Edinburgh's Covid care home scandal: Who will take responsibility for 83 adults with incapacity who were unlawfully discharged to care homes? – John McLellan

It’s taken two years for the facts to emerge, but the extent of the transference of vulnerable people from hospitals to care homes where Covid was rife at the height of the pandemic is becoming clear.

Many of those who died from Covid in Scotland lived in care homes (Picture: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Many of those who died from Covid in Scotland lived in care homes (Picture: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

Previously confidential details, now contained in a report to today’s Edinburgh Council meeting, reveal 83 adults with incapacity were unlawfully discharged to care homes between March 2020 and the start of August 2021. Staff were unquestionably under pressure as the pandemic spread, but a further inquiry will be needed to find out why people who couldn’t speak up for themselves were illegally discharged into homes where it’s safe to presume some will have caught Covid and died.

Today’s report refers to a question raised in December 2020 by the SNP councillor Derek Howie, who knew something was up when he asked how many patients had been transferred without consent. This was a written question lodged in advance, so an accurate reply should have been forthcoming, but then council leader Adam McVey told him: “There are no records of any individuals transferred from hospital to a care home without the individual’s consent, legal authority or family support over 12 months.”

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Someone wasn’t telling the truth, but who knows when the latest Edinburgh social work inquiry will get to the bottom of it, if ever. The conclusions could be written now: those responsible no longer work for the council, lessons have been learnt, robust procedures are in place, and no-one will take the blame. You read it here first.