Health Secretary Jeane Freeman’s claim that regular testing of all care home staff has begun is not backed up by the figures.
The policy to test all care home staff was announced a week ago and would require over 7,000 tests a day to meet that demand.
But since then the numbers of those tested has gone down and is averaging at 4,600 a day across all sectors.
Jeane Freeman told Scottish Green health spokesperson Alison Johnstone that regular testing of care home staff had already begun, but some staff had not given consent.
Responding, Alison Johnstone said: “These figures simply don’t add up. Scotland is testing an average of 4,600 people a day, and that is across all sectors. If regular testing of care home staff had begun, as she claims, then that alone would use up to 7,570 tests per day, and that’s before any residents, patients or NHS workers are tested.
“There is no point in increasing Scotland’s capacity to test for COVID-19 if we are not going to use it. It’s been five weeks since I published proposals to regularly test all front-line care home and NHS staff and It is baffling why Scotland hasn’t done this already, when we know that coronavirus is being spread in our hospitals and care homes.
“Ministers continue to say they are ‘considering’ the regular testing of NHS staff. Why the delay? My proposals have been backed by professional voices and surely would provide much needed confidence in restarting NHS services for vulnerable people.”
On the 18th May the Scottish Government announced a massive expansion in testing. They finally widened access to testing so that anyone with symptoms could get a test and introduced routine testing for the 53,000 members of staff in care homes. At this point – before these changes – 5,000 tests were being carried out a day.
Since then the number of tests carried out has actually decreased, with an average of 4624 per day over the last week. This is in spite of a 15,000 daily capacity.