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Health Secretary to face MSPs’ questions on coronavirus in care homes

© Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA WireHealth Secretary Jeane Freeman
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman

MSPs are to grill Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on the Scottish Government’s response to coronavirus in care homes.

Ms Freeman will give evidence before the Health Committee on Thursday, where she could face questions on personal protective equipment (PPE) provision, testing of care home staff and patients and the reasons for the high number of deaths in the sector from the virus.

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS) data, 46% of all deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in Scotland have been in care homes.

Committee convener Lewis Macdonald said MSPs will also look into the preparedness for such a pandemic in the evidence sessions, expected to start at 9.30am on Thursday, along with what support will be offered to the sector should there be a second wave of the virus.

Mr Macdonald said: “Some have felt that the NHS was prioritised over care homes at the outset of this pandemic and we are keen to examine whether this was the case.

“We also know that access to adequate PPE and lack of testing have impacted on care homes, and we want to investigate these issues further.

“We are also seeking to find out how prepared care homes were for this crisis, what support the Government provided to them and how they will be supported to ensure that if there is a second wave of this deadly virus, care homes are not exposed again.”

The assessment of the impact on care homes is part of a wider initiative by the committee, looking into four different areas of the coronavirus impact on health, including PPE, testing sessions which have already taken place and a further session on emergency planning, which is scheduled for June 15.