Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today repeated calls for Nicola Sturgeon, her health secretaries and senior officials to give evidence to Lady Poole’s inquiry under oath after a report from the University of Highlands and Islands described the government’s policy for care homes as “inhumane” and warned that "Risk of infection during a pandemic must be weighed against the risk of losing humanity."
Chief executive of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill told BBC Good Morning Scotland this morning that: "The conditions laid and the restrictions imposed were extremely severe…I think most of us indicated we had to be very careful that some of the restrictions were not likely to cause more harm than they were to save lives."
He also said that the planning for a potential pandemic did not involve the social care sector: "Social care was nowhere. We were not at the table in terms of preparation for a pandemic.
The report from the University of the Highlands and Islands said: "The inhumane policy for care homes, where residents were unable to see their families, contained in their rooms 24/7 and where some residents died alone, should be acknowledged and not repeated."
Responding, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“When Scotland’s pandemic story is written, the tragedy of that tale will be found in our nation’s care homes.
“This report is damning of the Scottish Government’s handling of care homes. The human rights of care home residents were neglected.
“Not only were Covid-positive and untested patients parcelled out to care homes, but vulnerable people were left isolated and alone, with little regard for their quality of life. No wonder so many families were outraged.
“I am pleased that the Poole inquiry will be reporting at regular intervals. Many of those who were banned from seeing their families are elderly. They must have answers now.
“Nicola Sturgeon, her health secretaries and senior officials must make themselves available to give evidence under oath on the decisions that they took and the impact that they had on vulnerable people.”