Nine elderly residents at Scottish nursing home 'die from coronavirus'

Nine elderly residents at single Scottish nursing home ‘die from coronavirus’ amid surge in Covid-19 related deaths in care during lockdown

  • Tranent Care Home in East Lothian is the latest facility to be hit by tragic losses
  • It follows recent deaths at homes in Luton, Dumbarton and North Lanarkshire
  • Care home bosses are calling for more help amid dwindling access to equipment
  • Struggling Welsh owner claims supplies being reserved for people in England

A deadly outbreak of coronavirus has killed nine residents at a Scottish nursing home as the number of Covid-19 related deaths in care continue to surge.

Tranent Care Home in East Lothian is the latest to be hit by the crisis, after a number of similar tragedies across the UK.

Fifteen deaths were yesterday confirmed at Castletroy Residential home in Luton, which has 69 beds for elderly people with nursing or personal care needs.

Nine Covid-19 related deaths have been reported at Tranent Care Home in East Lothian, pictured

Elsewhere in Scotland, eight residents died after showing symptoms of the virus at Castle View care home in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, and there were 13 more deaths at Burlington care home in North Lanarkshire.

Tranent owners HC-One, which also operates Castle View, said they would not comment on the number of deaths, reported as nine by The Scottish Sun, at the 60-bed property.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Caring for our residents and supporting our colleagues is at the heart of what we do, and we are doing everything we can to make sure our residents and colleagues stay safe and well throughout these challenging times.

‘We have a comprehensive coronavirus contingency plan in place, which was created by our clinical director and reflects the latest government guidance.

‘We are working closely with our local health and care partners, and we are continuing to take action to secure the medical equipment, PPE (personal protective equipment) and supplies we need to protect residents and colleagues alike.’

The spokeswoman said the home was stocked with thousands of PPE items in line with government guidance.

She added: ‘We are proud of our colleagues and how they have risen to the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak by showing huge dedication and commitment to our residents.

Care home owners are growing anxious about a lack of personal protective equipment, such as that being worn by staff outside the Nightingale Hospital in London today, pictured

‘We are providing round-the-clock support for all our teams and we are also grateful to relatives for their ongoing support and understanding.

‘Our thoughts and sympathies are with those families who have lost a loved one at this exceptionally difficult time and we are doing what we can to support them.’

Welsh care home boss claims PPE supplies are being reserved for English customers 

A care home owner in Wales has revealed her struggle to get basic PPE for her staff and claims that supplies are being reserved for English customers.

Ceri Roberts runs two care homes in Porthmadog and Criccieth which care for a total of 78 residents, each of whom must be attended to by two people in a team of 120 staff.

But Ms Roberts has been unable to order aprons from her usual suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic and said they have been ring-fenced for care homes over the border. 

Instead, she has resorted to buying them on Amazon for ten times their original price.

The Cariad Care Home owner said: ‘I spend £80,000 a year with my main supplier but he just said don’t expect a lot as aprons and gloves and being bought by NHS England.

‘I’m just thinking what to do. My training and development manager did a prototype out of rubbish bin bags. 

‘Every time our team visits one resident they use two aprons, two pairs of gloves. If they go to see someone four or five times a day they soon mount up. It’s very very frustrating.’

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: ‘If care homes are having a problem accessing stock through their normal suppliers, we have made contingency arrangements for them to access PPE via their local authority.’

The deaths come as care home operators have called for help from the army and family doctors, according to The Guardian.

Older people’s charity Age Scotland claimed residents were not being tested for the virus and that in some cases, local GPs were refusing to attend care homes, while unions representing home care workers told of members also not being tested, and being denied PPE.

In Wales, one boss has experienced similar struggles and claims that supplies are being reserved for English customers.

Ceri Roberts runs two care homes in Porthmadog and Criccieth which care for a total of 78 residents, each of whom must be attended to by two people in a team of 120 staff.

But Ms Roberts has been unable to order aprons from her usual suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic and said they have been ring-fenced for care homes over the border. 

Instead, she has resorted to buying them on Amazon for ten times their original price. 

She said: ‘We normally have loads of stock, especially gloves and aprons. I was buying aprons online and put them in my basket and went to check out and it said ‘these can only be bought by people in England’.

‘These are basic needs. I’m not talking about enhanced PPE like specialist visors.

‘I spend £80,000 a year with my main supplier but he just said don’t expect a lot as aprons and gloves and being bought by NHS England.

‘I’m just thinking what to do. My training and development manager did a prototype out of rubbish bin bags.

‘The council have said they will send some but I imagine they will send a roll of 200. We go through about 4,000 aprons a week.

‘Every time our team visits one resident they use two aprons, two pairs of gloves. If they go to see someone four or five times a day they soon mount up. It’s very very frustrating.’   

Gary Smith, regional organiser for GMB Scotland, told The Guardian staff can’t afford to live on statutory sick pay and so were still going into work even when unwell.

‘It’s an utter shambles,’ he added. ‘We need a programme of testing. These people need to be properly valued by the government and others; caring is built on insecure and low paid workers.’ 

As a result, the chief executive of Scottish Care, the sector’s umbrella body, suggested the military could be drafted in to help improve the supply of equipment and essential supplies. 

Fifteen deaths were yesterday confirmed at Castletroy Residential home in Luton, pictured

The shortage means Ms Roberts has resorted to buying rolls of aprons online from stores such as Amazon. 

Where a roll of 200 aprons will usually cost £2 from suppliers, she said they can be marked up to as much as £20 online.

The 56-year-old said: ‘At the moment care homes seem to be the only company that have not benefited from any additional funding or grants.

‘The team are really frightened and we want to do something for them but at the moment we are holding off as if we are not going to get funding we need to be confident we can run.

‘A lot of the team have young families and they are scared to come to work but they do with a lot of reassurance. It’s very difficult.

‘In north Wales we are hearing of more cases locally and that makes people very very anxious.’

Another care home worker in Wales said: ‘Myself and others in the sector are scared for the safety of the vulnerable people we support, our own safety, and the safety of our families when we return home from work having been potentially exposed to the virus whilst working without sufficient PPE.

‘We are unable to keep that 2m distance at all times within the workplace due to the fact that manual handling often requires two workers to carry out personal care for the physically disabled when using equipment such as slings and hoists. 

‘I feel the least we deserve is to be able to protect ourselves with face masks when carrying out such unavoidable and close contact tasks.

‘I am unsure of how the government can on one hand demand that everyone remains 2m apart from anyone who is not from their household when out in public yet once we, as care workers, step over the threshold and into our workplace we are then expected to work, without protection, within inches away from the same people we are told to keep distance from outside.’

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd, pictured, described problems over the delivery and accessibility of PPE in the care sector in Wales as ‘a ticking time bomb’

Helen Whyley, director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales, said the situation was ‘not good enough’ after hearing the concerns from staff working in more than 600 care homes across Wales.

She said: ‘The Covid-19 crisis continues to intensify yet nursing staff who are working hard to support patients in Wales’ 600-plus care homes during this time are still not receiving appropriate supplies of PPE.

‘This week our members in nursing homes have been telling us that they are worried about not having the appropriate kit to carry out their roles.

‘Nursing staff in care homes are providing vital care in the fight against Covid-19 and have the same right to PPE as nursing staff in hospitals, yet they do not have access to adequate supplies, putting themselves, their families and their patients at risk, causing them to feel extremely anxious.

‘The current situation is not good enough. Nurses and health care support workers deserve to do their jobs safely and with confidence during this pandemic and RCN Wales will continue to fight until each member of staff receives the appropriate protection.’

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd, added: ‘The problems relating to the delivery and accessibility of PPE in the care sector in Wales is a ticking time bomb.

‘We’re seeing it in Scotland already with thirteen residents tragically passing away in a care home in Glasgow due to Covid-19 and a lack of personal protective equipment. I fear the same thing will happen in Wales unless we address this now.

‘We’ve asked for clarity about the situation, we’ve asked for honesty. We’re being told that things are in hand, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this is not the case.

‘Welsh Government must urgently tell us exactly what is being done to ensure the care sector can have immediate access to PPE. People are desperate.’

A Welsh Government spokesman said: ‘The Welsh Government has provided all local authorities with access to supplies of PPE via the network of local authority joint community equipment stores across Wales.

‘Directors of social services have been asked to manage and co-ordinate the distribution of stock to care providers in their areas.

‘If care homes are having a problem accessing stock through their normal suppliers, we have made contingency arrangements for them to access PPE via their local authority.’

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