A total of 78 hospital patients in Scotland who tested positive for Covid-19 were discharged into care homes from March 1 to April 21, according to a Public Health Scotland report.
The study found between March 1 and April 21 there were 3,599 discharges from hospitals to care homes, with the majority (81.9%) not tested for coronavirus.
Of the 650 who were tested, 78 had received a positive result while in hospital.
Between April 22 and May 31, there were 1,605 discharges from hospitals to care homes.
The majority (1,493 – 93%) were tested for Covid-19, in line with changes in clinical guidance.
Of these, 1,215 tested negative and 278 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 233 had a negative test result before discharge.
The report followed a Sunday Post investigation earlier this year which revealed the transfers.
It states: “It is important to note that there are valid clinical reasons for individuals not to be tested prior to discharge, relating to their capacity to consent to testing and avoiding causing distress, and to appropriateness of testing, e.g. in end of life care situations.”
Between March 1 and May 31, there were 5,204 discharges from NHS hospitals to care homes, relating to 4,807 individuals, which accounted for 5.3% of all hospital discharges during the same period.
Nicola Sturgeon said the Public Health Scotland report on care homes concludes that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, “hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak”.
Quoting directly from the report, the First Minister said: “The analysis does not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks.”
But she added: “Nothing in it detracts from the tragedy of the deaths that have occurred in care homes over the course of the pandemic, and nothing ever will detract from the heartbreak of those bereaved.”
She said Public Health Scotland would now be carrying out further work to give a more detailed understanding of Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes.
The First Minister also pledged: “Where the reports conclusions highlight the need for additional measures, we will act on that.
“I want people to know we take this very seriously.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe