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Care home group owner offers to fund searches to get answers to Covid-19 questions



A care home group owner has offered to pay for Freedom of Information searches to find answers from the Scottish Government on the spread of Covid-19.

Robert Kilgour, executive chairman of Scotland’s largest care home group Renaissance Care, was responding to the news that the Scottish Government has refused to hand over details of when the First Minister first learned about Covid positive patients being sent to care homes.

The Scottish Government had said they could not provide the details because too many documents existed.

Kilgour said: “If this wasn’t so serious I’d think it was a hallowe’en prank from ministers.

“Now we know the value that the Scottish Government places on revealing the truth about who knew what on hospital discharges into care homes during the first peak of the pandemic – and it’s astonishingly low.

“Given what the social care sector has been through I’m amazed that this seems to be necessary, but if this is the price that must be paid to pay to get proper answers, then I am more than willing to write a cheque for £1320 to ministers to get them to fund the necessary research.

“Enough evasion, excuses and bureaucratic barriers. Grieving friends and relatives across Scotland need the truth now.”

His comments follow a report in The Herald newspaper that Lothians MSP Neil Findlay submitted a freedom of information request to the Scottish Government.

It had asked for “all emails, letters, notes of phone calls, texts, encrypted messages, agendas or minutes of meetings that relate to the date the First Minister was made aware that patients were being transferred from hospitals to care homes after having tested positive for Covid-19.”

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Officials reportedly declined to hand over the information, pointing to rules that it would cost an estimated £1,320 to comply with the request when a cap is set at £600.

Robert Kilgour has previously called for the Scottish Government to be “rigorously honest” over its handling of coronavirus and care

He said the sector cannot wait “months or years for answers to pressing practical problems”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “SG spokesperson said: “As the First Minister has made clear on many occasions, she and other Government Ministers are – quite rightly – not party to individual clinical decisions taken about the discharge of patients from hospital.

“And as the First Minister has also made repeatedly clear she did not have the specific details that would have allowed her to say that a particular number of people were tested positive and were discharged to care homes.

“As soon as that information became clear, the Scottish Government commissioned the independent report published this week – which found that hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak.

“It is absolutely the case that there is no higher priority for Ministers than the safety of care home residents and we have committed to a full public inquiry being held into this issue once we have steered the country through the next phase of the pandemic.”



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