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Covid-19: Care Homes

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2020

If he will hold discussions with the Scottish Government on reports that hospital patients who tested positive for covid-19 were subsequently discharged into care homes in Scotland. (905555)

The UK Government and the devolved Administrations regularly discuss all aspects of the coronavirus response. Public health and social care are devolved matters for the Scottish Government, but we do provide support to the devolved Administrations where necessary, including increasing testing capacity.

My brother-in-law’s father somehow contracted covid in a care home and, sadly, passed away. Like us, many families will have had to bear the tragedy of not being able to comfort their loved ones as they grieved their loss. Scotland has the highest care home death rate in the UK, and last month it was revealed that at least 37 hospital patients who had tested positive for coronavirus were discharged into care homes, which helped to turn them into breeding grounds for the virus, resulting in the loss of invaluable lives. So what discussions has the Minister had with Scottish Ministers about why that was allowed to happen?

First, may I extend my sympathy to the hon. Gentleman for his family’s loss? There are so many examples where families are grieving because of the loss of loved ones. He raises a devolved matter, and I know that Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport is looking at what caused this situation and that there will be an inquiry into it. This Government stand ready and we do help the Scottish Government in increasing testing capacity so that these instances are not repeated.