Tue 2 Jun, 2020

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.

Get involved

More like this

Time to make face coverings mandatory, say Greens

Tue 30 Jun, 2020

Scotland should follow 50 other countries by making face coverings mandatory in shops, the Scottish Greens have said.

This includes countries that have been most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 such as Germany, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.

Currently face coverings are mandatory on public transport but remain ‘recommended’ in shops and other indoor spaces. A single easy-to-communicate rule could massively increase usage, Scottish Green health spokesperson Alison Johnstone has said.

Urgency needed on green jobs

Wed 24 Jun, 2020

The Scottish Government must move quickly to invest in green jobs such as those upgrading homes to make them warmer and more efficient, the Scottish Greens have said.

The call comes after the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery warned of a “potential tsunami” of job losses and recommended a job guarantee for young people in Scotland, a move endorsed by parliament yesterday.

Scottish Greens win protection for Mountain Hares

Wed 17 Jun, 2020

Scottish Greens have won protection for Scotland’s Mountain Hares after the Scottish Government agreed to back Alison Johnstone’s amendment to the Wildlife bill.

Mountain hare populations have declined considerably since the 1950s, with an average of 26,000 killed every year in recreational killing and mass killing on grouse moors. Last year the species conservation status was downgraded to ‘unfavourable’ after EU data exposed the decline.