113 patients with Covid moved from hospitals to Scots care homes

Nicola Sturgeon admits ‘we got some things wrong’ as bombshell report reveals more than 100 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were discharged from hospitals into Scottish care homes

  • The shock figures were in a Public Health Scotland study released today
  • Also found 80% of patients moving from hospitals to homes weren’t even tested
  • Six in 10 Scottish care homes have suffered Covid-19 outbreak during pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon was forced onto the defensive today as a shock official report revealed that more than 100 hospital patients who had tested positive for coronavirus were discharged into Scottish care homes.

The First Minister admitted ‘we’ve got some things wrong’ as a Public Health Scotland study released today also showed more than 80 per cent of patients moving from hospitals to homes were not even tested.

The report found a total of 113 people who had tested positive were moved between March 1 and May 31 although they had not yet received a negative test result.

Six in 10 Scottish care homes have suffered a Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic began. 

Facing a barrage of questions at her daily press briefing today, Ms Sturgeon said the report concludes that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, ‘hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak’.

But she added: ‘I try to be really clear here because I don’t want there to be in any confusion over the decisions taken.

‘We’ve got some things wrong and tried to rectify those things as we learned more about the virus and how it spread.

‘Of course we have known that there were concerns about older people without being tested going to care homes and the risks that created.

‘I have said in the last few days that we didn’t know about specific test results.

The First Minister admitted ‘we’ve got some things wrong’ as a Public Health Scotland study released today also showed more than 80 per cent of patients moving from hospitals to homes were not even tested

‘We’ve asked Public Health Scotland for an in-depth study on this issue looking at hospital discharges to care homes and the testing of that.

Official figures released in July showed that more people had died from coronavirus in Scotland’s care homes than in hospitals.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) statistics revealed Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificates of 1,818 care home victim, higher than the 1,815 in hospitals.

Today’s report found that as well as the 113 discharges with coronavirus, a further 243 who had tested positive were discharged after at least one negative follow-up test.

The report found between March 1 and April 21 there were 3,599 discharges from hospitals to care homes, with the majority (81.9 per cent) not tested for coronavirus.

Of the 650 who were tested, 78 received a positive result while in hospital and of these patients, 10  tested negative before they were discharged while the remainder did not.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the report concludes that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, ‘hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak’.

She added: ‘Nothing in it detracts from the tragedy of the deaths that have occurred in care homes over the course of the pandemic and nothing ever will detract from the heartbreak of those bereaved.’

The report noted that on April 21, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Covid-19 patients being discharged from hospitals to care homes should have given two negative tests before being moved.

Between April 22 and May 31, there were 1,605 discharges from hospitals to care homes, with 93 per cent of them (1,493) being tested for Covid-19, in line with changes in clinical guidance.

Of these, 1,215 tested negative and 278 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 233 had a negative test result before discharge, though 12 had only one negative test.

A total of 45 did not have a negative test before they were discharged.

The report states: ‘It is important to note that there are valid clinical reasons for individuals not to be tested prior to discharge, relating to their capacity to consent to testing and avoiding causing distress, and to appropriateness of testing, e.g. in end of life care situations.’

Between March 1 and May 31, there were 5,204 discharges from NHS hospitals to care homes, relating to 4,807 individuals, which accounted for 5.3 per cent of all hospital discharges during the same period.

The report said using laboratory confirmed cases, 348 (32 per cent) of care homes in Scotland experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 in the premises between March 1 and June 21.

Between March 2 and June 21, there were 1,915 coronavirus-related deaths -those with any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate – occurring in 321 care homes.

The report said that in the statistical modelling, hospital discharge is associated with an increased risk of an outbreak when considered on its own but care home size is much more strongly associated with risk of an outbreak than hospital discharge.

It states: ‘After accounting for care home size and other care home characteristics, the estimated risk of hospital discharge reduces and is not statistically significant.’

Ms Sturgeon said Public Health Scotland will now carry out further work to give a more detailed understanding of Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes.

She pledged: ‘Where the reports conclusions highlight the need for additional measures, we will act on that.

‘I want people to know we take this very seriously.’

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