Freeman admits testing not enough in Borders’ care homes

The Scottish Health Secretary has admitted that testing so far for care home staff in the Borders ‘is not sufficient’. The concession came as figures reveal only 22 care home staff were tested last week, according to Public Health Scotland.

Jeane Freeman OBE MSP was answering questions from MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee. The Committee is investigating the coronavirus response in Scotland.

Borders MP, John Lamont, took the opportunity to grill the Health Secretary on poor testing levels of care home staff.

Ms Freeman said that she thought there was sufficient testing in care homes in the Borders. However, Mr Lamont pointed out that only 22 care home staff were tested last week. The Health Secretary then said ‘no, that is not sufficient’.

It comes after ITV Borders revealed this week that the Scottish Borders had only been allocated 480 tests to cover over 1200 care home employees. This is despite a pledge by the Scottish Government to test all care home staff regularly.

John Lamont MP said after the session: “The tragic deaths in care homes in the Borders and indeed across Scotland are deeply distressing. I am glad that the Health Secretary was able to finally admit that testing care home staff has just not been good enough so far.

“After some of the revelations this week, it is essential that Jeane Freeman takes responsibility and increases testing for care home staff immediately. Staff and residents, as well as their families, need to be reassured that their loved ones are safe.”