Covid Scotland: Rise in care home deaths shows residents 'still failed' by Scottish Government

An increase in Covid deaths in care homes shows residents are “still being failed” by the Scottish Government more than two years into the pandemic, Labour has claimed.

By Katrine Bussey
Monday, 4th April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 7:18 am

The party condemned “rocketing” fatalities in care homes after figures showed 79 residents with either confirmed or suspected Covid died in the week ending March 27.

That is more than double the previous week, and the highest weekly total since January 2021, Labour said.

It comes as the party claimed access to anti-viral medication to treat the virus is “patchy at best”.

Covid Scotland: Rise in care home deaths shows residents 'still failed' by Scottish Government

Read More

Read More
Covid Scotland: 10 people wait over three days at A&E in a single week

Labour also said that with less than two-fifths (37.8 per cent) of care home residents having had a second Covid booster jag, more action was needed from the Scottish Government.

Party health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie is calling on ministers to speed up the rollout of the latest booster vaccination campaign.

The party also wants to see more anti-virals delivered to care homes to help treat those who contract the virus, as well as continued testing for all staff.

She challenged health secretary Humza Yousaf on the issue, warning: “The price of inaction will be further lives lost and families shattered.

“There is no time for delay – Humza Yousaf must act now.

“Two years into this pandemic and the residents of Scotland’s care homes are still being failed.

“While the rest of the country begins to return to normality, our care home residents are being left behind and put in danger.

“Covid deaths are rocketing in our care homes – if lives are to be saved, the Cabinet secretary must act now.

“We need to see a rapid acceleration of the booster programme in our care homes and the retention of regular, asymptomatic testing for care home workers.”

Almost half of the 1,406 people admitted to hospital with Covid in the week to March 22 were over 65, according to Public Health Scotland.

The peak of BA.2 infections may have been reached in the week to March 19, when the Office for National Statistics estimated 9 per cent of Scotland’s population was infected.

The push from Scottish Labour for the booster vaccination programme to be sped up comes after Professor Sheila Bird, an honorary professor of Edinburgh University’s College of Medicine, warned Scotland may see 50 per cent more Covid-related deaths in the second wave of Omicron compared to the first.

Some 280 deaths were recorded with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate across the two-week peak of the Omicron subvariant BA.1 between January 10 and 23.

But according to Prof Bird, the same figure over the current BA.2 peak between March 14 and 27 could reach 435 – an increase of 55 per cent.

Of the impact on those aged over 65, Prof Bird said: “We know that Omicron 2 is affecting the older-age population more than Omicron 1 did in terms of testing positive, so that’s partly why we’ve got higher fatalities. Relatively speaking, the older population is more affected.”