Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said there has been a “consistent disconnect” between promises from the Scottish Government and what is being delivered.
During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Leonard said promises made on wages, testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the care sector have been “delivered too late or still not delivered at all”.
The focus of the Scottish Government, Mr Leonard said, is on “generating headlines rather than delivering for workers on the front line”.
In response, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it is her responsibility and that of her ministers to ensure Scottish people are confident in the way they are handling the virus.
She added: “We also see, again without minimising the tragedy of what we’re dealing with here, we see the number of deaths overall and the number of deaths in care homes declining significantly, which says that the package of measures that we have implemented and are delivering in care homes is having the effect that we want it to have.
“We will continue on an ongoing basis to make sure that the policies we are announcing are delivered and that they are delivered consistently, and we publish the data that allows all of that to be scrutinised and for us to be held to account.
“Care home providers have a responsibility, our health protection teams and public health directors have a responsibility and the Scottish Government has a responsibility as well, and it’s that collective effort that we will continue to bring to bear so hopefully we will see the kind of figures that we have outlined today continue.”
The Labour leader said he had spoken to a care worker who had inquired about a test with her employer and NHS Lanarkshire after the First Minister announced plans for regular testing of staff in the sector last month, but was rejected.
The board, in a response to Mr Leonard about the case, said it is “working through the operational implications” of the new policy.
She still has not been tested, Mr Leonard told the First Minister.
He said: “She’s concerned about her family and for the vulnerable people that she cares for.”
In response, the First Minister said: “This is a programme that is under way and progressing.”
She added that Health Secretary Jeane Freeman will outline the details of the delivery of regular testing to care home staff, but did not give a time frame.
Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, a spokesman for the First Minister said delivery of care home testing was being delivered by health boards, and the provision of testing was at different stages.
The spokesman said: “Testing of care workers is in operation across the country, it may vary from place to place, but it is clearly in operation.”