Full breakdown of all 149 Covid-19 linked deaths in Fife care homes since start of pandemic
New Crown Office figures have revealed there were at least 149 Covid-linked deaths in care homes across Fife since the start of the pandemic.
The data was obtained by the BBC from the Crown Office unit set up last May to gather information on the circumstances surrounding Covid deaths in Scotland’s care homes. It shows the prosecution service was considering at least 3,400 deaths linked to the virus as of April 8.
An interactive dashboard created by the BBC shows every confirmed and presumed Covid-linked death for each care home in Scotland. For confidentiality reasons, exact numbers are not given for facilities where deaths reports were less than five.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently acknowledged that, with the benefit of hindsight, it was a mistake to move large numbers of elderly from hospitals into care homes last spring.
Data shows there were at least 149 Covid-linked deaths reported across 35 care homes in Fife.
Lomond Court Nursing Home in Glenrothes had the highest toll with 19 deaths.
Fourteen deaths were each recorded at Methven House and Lindsay House, with 13 at Canmore Lodge Nursing Home and 12 at West Park Care Home. Mossview @ The opera Care Home recorded ten deaths while Forth Bay and Woodside Court Nursing Home each had eight deaths.
Six deaths were recorded each at Ostlers House and Craigie House, with five each at Orchardhead House and Balfarg Care Centre.
Another 22 care homes across Fife had less than five Covid-linked deaths recorded. These are: Walton House, Strathview Care Home, St Serfs, Scoonie House, Roselea House, Raith Manor, Preston House, Pitlair House Nursing Home, Napier House, Methilhaven Home, Matthew Fyfe Care Home, Ladywalk House, Jean Mackie Centre, Henderson House, Gowrie House Nursing Home, Earlsferry Care Home, Craighead Nursing Home, Bandrum Nursing Home, Auchtermairnie Care Home, Abbotsford Care, Newburgh, Abbotsford Care, Methil, Abbotsford Care, East Wemyss.
Edinburgh and Lothians
There were at least 339 Covid-linked deaths reported across 45 Edinburgh care homes, 116 deaths at 13 homes in West Lothian, 71 deaths in 12 East Lothian facilities and 98 deaths in six Midlothian homes.
Dalkeith pensioner Rodger Laing was moved from Midlothian Community Hospital to Drummond Grange Nursing Home, Lasswade, in May last year. Just three weeks later, he died after picking up Covid-19. One day after his death, care inspectors found serious issues with PPE and infection control at the home.
Mr Laing’s family claim he was transferred against their will to free up hospital beds, despite them highlighting fears over the virus already being in the care home. The 80-year-old, who had dementia, tested negative for Covid when he left hospital. The Crown Office figures show there were 21 Covid-linked deaths at Drummond Grange, the second highest in Midlothian.
Speaking on Monday, his son Rodney Laing said: “It was the wrong time to move people, especially in the middle of lockdown. It caused massive carnage.”
Mr Laing said he later heard that the hospital ward his father had been moved out of was lying empty two months after his father’s death. He says he was told it would be used to rehabilitate Covid patients.
The 49-year-old continued: “It was very upsetting to the family when we heard this. My father was shifted out to a nursing home to his death.”
Morag Barrow, director of health and social care at the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said when a patient is medically assessed to be well enough to leave hospital, they will work closely with the patient and family to arrange a care home placement. Ms Barrow said appropriate consent processes are followed with this process. They could not comment on the individual case but said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family.”
Mr Laing’s family do not know how he contracted Covid but they were concerned when they received pictures of their father sitting in a lounge and kissing a therapy doll, as well as hoovering a carpet, when they felt he should have been isolated.
Barchester, the care home operator, said at the time it had concerns about the Care Inspectorate report and insisted the home, which cared for highly dependent people, followed government guidance at all times and that PPE stocks were full and staff trained and experienced in infection control.
They also said new residents are cared for in line with Health Protection Scotland guidance on isolation and barrier nursing and that it would be distressing for residents with cognitive impairment not to have comforting items available to them.
‘We need a public inquiry’
The Crown Office data is part of a wider review to determine if the deaths should be the subject of a fatal accident inquiry or prosecution. It is also collated from a wider number of sources than the National Records for Scotland figures which recorded 3,292 Covid related care home deaths up to April 8.
The Erskine Home facility in Bishopton, bear Glasgow, recorded the largest number of Covid related deaths (32) in Scotland.
The full picture of how many Covid-linked deaths there have been in each Scottish care home had been unclear since the start of the pandemic. There is no statutory obligation for homes to notify residents, or their families, of an outbreak or deaths.
The data shows the worst affected homes are located in parts of Scotland which had high transmission rates of the virus during the pandemic.
Separate Crown Office data shows 824 of the reports relate to deaths which occurred before the creation of the Covid-19 Deaths Investigation Team (CDIT) in May last year. This was a period when elderly people were being discharged from hospital to care homes, a robust testing system was not in place and there was not a full understanding of asymptomatic transmission.
On Sunday, Ms Sturgeon called for a UK-wide public inquiry into the pandemic by the end of 2021 - and said she would move ahead with a Scottish-only probe if that could not be agreed in good time.
Health secretary jeane Freeman also previously said the right precautions had not been taken when older people were being moved from hospital to care homes.
A spokesperson for Scottish Care told the BBC the data "demonstrates the terrible toll" which has been felt by residents, families and care home workers over the past 13 months.
The spokesperson said they regret “insufficient attention” was given to the needs of the care sector when compared to the preparation given to the NHS, adding: “Social care as a whole was let down in the early stages of the pandemic, not least by the failures to introduce testing of staff and residents earlier."
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said concerns raised by care home staff before the first lockdown were “dismissed and even derided” by the Scottish government and care industry representatives.
Mr Smith said: “The reality is that while ministers were clapping for carers, staff were having to fight for the proper PPE and workplace testing, the basic tools needed to try and protect their health and safety and their service users too.
“We need a public inquiry where the inaction of all responsible will be laid bare.”
A Scottish government spokeswoman said the Crown Office data was "consistent with the findings" of a Public Health Scotland report which "did not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks".
She added: "We mourn every death from Covid and express our sympathy for all those who have lost loved ones, and for the distress and grief experienced by individuals and their families.
"As the first minister and health secretary have previously said the Scottish government will continue to learn lessons from the Covid-pandemic and, subject to the outcome of the election, intends to have a full public inquiry which considers all aspects of how the pandemic has been handled, including the impact on care homes and their residents."
The spokeswoman added that "saving people's lives has been and continues to be the priority of the Scottish government" and the prioritisation of the vaccination programme in care homes means that since the peak in late January, deaths in care homes have fallen by 95 percent.
A spokesman for the Crown Office said CDIT is working with other agencies like the Health and Safety Executive and Care Inspectorate to ensure appropriate investigations are undertaken into the deaths. and "CDIT is working together with other agencies including the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities and the Care Inspectorate to ensure that appropriate investigations are undertaken in relation to these deaths.