Question ref. S5W-32397
Asked by: Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 8 October 2020
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will consider putting in place a regular COVID-19 testing regime for home carers in order to prevent house-to-house transmission, in light of the stricter measures already in place for care home staff.
Current status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 9 November 2020
A Clinical and Scientific review of the Scottish Governments COVID-19 Testing Strategy published on 23 October 2020 has been carried out in light of the latest evidence of the state of the epidemic in Scotland and understanding of testing capacity and demand forecasts in the next three months.
The consensus clinical view of the prioritisation of capacity, over and above that required to meet symptomatic demand, clinical care requirements and existing commitments, is that the focus in any extension of routine regular asymptomatic testing should be on protecting those most vulnerable to severe harm. Further details on the review can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-review-of-testing-strategy-october-2020/ .
As set out in our Strategic Framework for the pandemic, also published on 23 October 2020, as testing capacity builds over the next three months, this will include considering how best to extend routine testing to staff who provide care at home for those most vulnerable to harm. Further details on the Framework can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-19-scotlands-strategic-framework/ .
We recognise that routine testing of people who do not have symptoms has an important role to play in protecting the vulnerable and preventing outbreaks in high risk settings. It must however be seen alongside a strong emphasis on symptomatic social care staff immediately self-isolating and arranging testing, use of appropriate PPE, physical distancing, environmental optimisation and decontamination and good social hygiene.