Readers' letters: It's time Ian Murray changed the tune on care homes

"Ian Murray is like a broken record that keeps playing the wrong tune”

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 7:00 am
The Care Inspectorate has published data on Covid-19 deaths in care homes across Scotland.

Time to change the tedious tune, IanIan Murray is like a broken record that keeps playing the wrong tune (News, 3 June). He claims the transfer of patients from hospitals to care homes led to unnecessary deaths.However, the BBC’s head of statistics said that care homes receiving hospital discharge patients had a lower rate of Covid infections. Transfers took place only after consultation between doctors and care home management.The main factor in Covid care home outbreaks was the size of the home. Two independent studies found strong evidence the virus was spread by poorly paid and overworked temporary agency staff in large, corporately owned care homes with high occupancy, inadequate PPE and a record of failed inspections.Scotland’s age profile is older than the UK average and Scots don’t live as long, so you would expect Covid infections and deaths to be worse. Instead, in the first wave excess deaths were much higher in England. During the second wave between mid-December and mid-February, England’s excess death rate was again higher than Scotland’s.Unlike Public Health England, the Scottish Health Service followed JCVI guidance and vaccinated the most vulnerable first.Like all governments the Scottish government has made mistakes during the pandemic. But it has learned from them, something the UK government hasn’t, which explains why England’s Covid death rate is 40 per cent higher.The Scottish people can see that the devolved government in Holyrood has governed more effectively during the pandemic than Westminster.Some friendly advice for Ian: if Scottish Labour aspires to be an effective opposition, it merely has to acknowledge Scotland’s right to govern itself.Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh.

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Security grants should go furtherWe have learned that churches, mosques, temples and synagogues can now apply for Scottish government grants to install security measures against hate crime.This is a good thing, as nobody should have to fear attack for any reason.We assume that these grants will also be available to LGBT drop-in venues, cafes and bars, women’s protection and reproductive health institutions and information centres for immigrant minorities?Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive.

Raising fines will help deter smokersAsthma UK and the British Lung Foundation conducted a survey in Scotland which revealed that 80 per cent of those surveyed wanted smoking outside the school gates to be prohibited.In Oxfordshire smokers could be banned from smoking outside cafes and restaurants under plans to create the first smoke-free county. Many would support these initiatives.However smoking by patients and visitors outside NHS hospitals is still going on despite No Smoking signs.Before lockdown thousands of cigarette butts would be thrown down. Unless there are draconian fines nothing will change.Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

What would Winston do?Last Tuesday I drove from Craigentinny to Cameron Toll by way of Northfield Broadway, Duddingston Road West and Peffermill Road. En-route I passed a total of four cyclists on a beautiful sunny morning. A thought occurred to me, would Winston Churchill have said "Never in the field of council stupidity have so many given up so much to so few." Dunderheids.George Fairgrieve, Stapeley Avenue, Edinburgh.