Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Efforts to test Fife’s care home residents for coronavirus being stepped up

Alex Rowley MSP.
Alex Rowley MSP.

Efforts to test Fife’s care home residents for coronavirus will be stepped up from this week as part of an action plan to support under-pressure staff.

The ” significant increase” in help for care homes emerged on Wednesday, hours after it was revealed 54 people have died of covid-19 in facilities across the region – up from 38 last week.

Across Scotland, 43% of covid-19 deaths have taken place in a care home setting and the proportion has risen each week.

The virus has claimed the lives of 14 residents at Methven House in Kirkcaldy alone and a member of staff said a number of others were also very ill, a situation she described as truly heartbreaking.

She said she and her colleagues had not had access to personal protective equipment (PPE) at the start of the outbreak.

Six staff members have also contracted coronavirus but are said to have recovered or be recovering.

In a briefing prepared for elected members and seen by The Courier, Fife’s director of health and social care Nicky Connor, and director of public health Dona Milne, said the action plan will offer support with PPE along with increased training and education.

People admitted to care homes are now being tested for covid-19 and a mobile testing team will undertake enhanced levels of testing for those already resident, they said.

In addition, district nurses will visit each home every day to assess how well they are coping and offer any necessary help.

One care home has already provided with a team of staff due to shortages among its own employees.

Nicky Connor

“This is a significant increase in support for our care homes and they can seek additional support at anytime,” said Ms Connor and Ms Milne.

“Where there are concerns that a care home is not following public health advice, this will be escalated to the Care Inspectorate immediately.”

Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Alex Rowley had called for more transparency over who was responsible for ensuring the safety of care home residents amid fears there were serious weaknesses in some facilities.

He welcomed the increase in testing and called for care homes to be made a priority.

“If we can’t protect our elderly, we fail. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

“They now seem to be making some progress, which is good.”

Despite repeated attempts, Methven House operators, Kingdom Homes, have refused to speak to The Courier but in a statement issued to the Fife Free Press, managing director Colin Smart said the company was working closely with health protection teams, the Care Inspectorate and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership.

“Sourcing PPE was a challenge initially, however we now have ample stocks and are being well supported with this by the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership,” he said.

“Our staff care deeply for our residents. They continue under the most difficult circumstances to place the residents’ welfare at the heart of everything they do.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]