First Minister promises to investigate Grantown Care Home Testing Problems

The First Minister has promised that the Cabinet Secretary for Health will investigate the series of Covid-19 testing problems experienced by Grandview Care Home in Grantown-on-Spey.

The Covid-19 testing issues were raised today during a session of First Minister’s Questions by Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain.

It has come to light that the Scottish Government diverted a batch of tests carried out at the care home to Raigmore Hospital which, due to their type, could not be analysed and were then subsequently lost. 

As it stands, the total number of confirmed COVID 19 cases within the Grantown community is 37 cases. 34 of these are linked with Millers of Speyside abattoir. The care home had one positive case.

The Highlands and Islands MSP said: “First Minister you will be aware 37 residents of Grantown on Spey have now tested positive for Covid-19, including a care home worker.”

“At the outset, given the concerns of staff and residents and at their request, I contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Health. She confirmed that tests carried out in this care home were being diverted to Raigmore for analysis.”

“However, the Director of Public Health of NHS Highland confirmed that NHS Highland could not actually analyse the types of tests which had been diverted to them.”

“First Minister, can you explain why the Scottish Government, please, diverted tests to a lab that could not analyse them and, indeed, subsequently lost them, requiring a complete retesting and subsequent delays?” 

“Can you please give me an undertaking that you will personally investigate these issues because they don’t give me or the residents of Grantown the confidence in the Test and Protect system which we should have – especially as NHS Highland this morning not only dispatched incomplete testing kits to the care home, requiring the care home to go back to Raigmore to pick up more.”

The First Minister replied: “I will absolutely have the Health Secretary look into the specific issues that are raised. I’m not aware of the particular problems around testing. What I do know is that the local teams in Grantown-on-Spey have been working very hard and I think very effectively to make sure that this cluster of cases is kept under control. The cluster now is 37 cases, it’s certainly the last information I had, most of them linked to the local abattoir and just two cases in the wider community.”

“Now I don’t dismiss the kind of challenges that the member raises and we will look into them, but actually those figures are a real tribute to Test and Protect, stopping a workplace cluster seeping into the wider community and my thanks go to everybody who has helped to achieve that so far.”

Following First Minister’s Questions, Edward Mountain MSP commented:

“This care home has faced unacceptable difficulties with Covid-19 testing. This appalling situation should never have happened and I welcome the First Minister’s promise to investigate the matter.

It is vital that we all have confidence in Test and Protect, especially care homes who have suffered more than most in this fight against the pandemic.”