Fife health bosses tell MSP they don't know how many patients were tested before care home move

Care home question raised by MSPCare home question raised by MSP
Care home question raised by MSP
Seeks assurances to protect most vulnerable

A Fife MSP has raised concerns that NHS Fife was unable to tell him how many patients were discharged from hospitals into care homes without being tested for coronavirus.

Alex Rowley made a Freedom of Information bid to get the numbers.

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He was told by NHS Fife that it did not hold the information.

He is now seeking an assurance from executive bosses that ”every measure is in place to protect the most vulnerable in hospitals and in the community.”

The issue of testing elderly patients before moving them from hospitals into care homes - which have been at the forefront of the fight to contain the pandemic - has been raised throughout lockdown.

In May, the Fife Free Press revealed around 230 patients have been moved from hospitals to care homes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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In March, 175 people were admitted to a care home in Fife, and 117 came from a hospital setting.

In April, 95 people were admitted, with 49 from a hospital setting – and in the first two weeks of May, 18 of the 43 admissions were from hospital.

Testing was only included in the Scottish Government’s updated guidance from April 11.

Mr Rowley said: “There will be a public enquiry to establish how all these organisations handled their responsibilities during the covid-19 pandemic and that is right and proper.

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“But for now we must understand what went wrong so that the same mistakes are not made if there is a second spike or wave of the virus.

“I find it incredible that NHS Fife does not have this information.”

He said that, according to the National Records of Scotland, in Fife to date there have been 201 deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

Current data shows that 75 of these deaths were in care homes, 109 in hospitals and 17 at home. On top of this, according to Scottish Government figures, 74 per cent of care homes in Fife have had a suspected covid-19 case.

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He added: ““We need to have full transparency from NHS Fife management on what has happened and assurances on the actions they are taking to ensure no one is being moved around from hospital to community settings without being tested.

“To have made this mistake once is questionable but to do so twice would be unforgivable and I am now seeking assurances from the CEO of NHS Fife that every measure is in place to protect the most vulnerable in hospitals and in the community”

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