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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-02637

Date lodged: 9 September 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government whether the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will provide data, including any estimates, on the number of deaths related to COVID-19 that have occurred in home care settings since the start of the pandemic, and whether COPFS will consider investigating these deaths.

Current status: Answered by Dorothy Bain on 23 September 2021


Answer

Certain categories of death require to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. At the start of the Pandemic, my predecessor issued a direction that COVID-19 (or presumed COVID-19) deaths did not require to be reported to COPFS, unless there was another substantive reason for doing so. That position was kept under review and he made a statement to this Parliament on 13 May 2020 to advise that two categories of COVID-19 (or presumed COVID-19) deaths must be reported to COPFS - those in which the deceased might have contracted the virus in the course of their employment or occupation and those in which the deceased was resident in a care home when the virus was contracted.

In addition, deaths (or presumed deaths) from COVID-19 must be reported to the Crown if they fall within any of the other established categories of death which require to be reported. These include deaths where there is the possibility of fault by another or where the circumstances surrounding the death may cause public anxiety.

COPFS accordingly does not hold data on the number of deaths related to COVID-19 that have occurred in home care settings as not all will have been reported. In relation to those that have been reported, the extent of the investigation will be determined by the particular circumstances surrounding each death and matters are being kept under constant review.