The Scottish Government has announced new oversight arrangements for care homes, which are north of the border.
From today (18 May), clinical and care professionals at NHS boards and local authorities will have a lead role in the oversight for care homes in their area.
Under the new arrangements, every health board and local authority must put in place a multi-disciplinary team comprised of key clinical leads and the area’s chief social work officer.
The team’s remit will include daily discussions about the quality of care in each care home in their area, with particular focus on implementation of infection prevention and control, and the provision of expert clinical support to residents who have coronavirus.
According to figures published over the weekend by the Scottish Government, 486 adult care homes have a current case of suspected COVID-19 up to 16 May.
And 632 adult care homes which have lodged at least one notification for suspected COVID-19 to the Care Inspectorate since the start of the epidemic.
The Scottish Government said 463 of these care homes have reported more than one case of suspected COVID-19 and there had been a total of 5,096 cases of suspected COVID-19 in care homes.
‘All organisations including care providers are responsible for effective and safe care in their services and are expected to work closely together and at pace to give effect to these arrangements,’ said Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman.
‘While these are unprecedented times, everything possible must be done to protect care home residents and staff from the effects of Covid-19.
‘These new arrangements will ensure clarity and consistency across the country about the role of health boards and local authorities in helping to keep their residents safe from coronavirus and should be seen alongside other recent action the Scottish Government has taken, including publishing revised guidance for the sector, and amendments to the Coronavirus Bill being discussed at parliament next week.
‘I want to assure staff, residents and their families that a safe residential environment in care homes remains our top priority,’ she added.
Age Scotland’s head of policy, Adam Stachura said the new powers were ‘very welcome’.
‘The pandemic has further exposed the huge pressure the social care sector was under, and we urgently need to see partnership working across health and social care to ensure greatest protection is given to care home residents,’ added Mr Stachura.
‘COVID-19 has clearly had a devastating impact on care homes, and the weekly statistics on deaths make grim reading. Care workers are doing an incredible job in extremely difficult circumstances, but it’s absolutely vital to ensure that they have all the support and protection they need.
‘We have never dealt with anything like this in living memory so it is important that residents, families, social care staff and the public know that everything is being done to deliver the best care possible and ensure their loved ones are safe.’
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