JEANE Freeman will be grilled by MSPs on the Scottish Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic in care homes.

The Health Secretary will give evidence before Holyrood's health committee on Thursday, where she is likely to face questions on personal protective equipment (PPE) provision, testing of care home staff and patients and the reasons for the high proportion of deaths in the sector from coronavirus.

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS) data, 46% of all deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in Scotland have been in care homes.

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Committee convener Lewis Macdonald expects MSPs to also look into how prepared officials were for a pandemic during the evidence sessions, expected to start at 9.30am on Thursday, along with what support will be offered to the sector should there be a second wave of the virus.

Mr Macdonald said: "Some have felt that the NHS was prioritised over care homes at the outset of this pandemic and we are keen to examine whether this was the case.

"We also know that access to adequate PPE and lack of testing have impacted on care homes, and we want to investigate these issues further.

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"We are also seeking to find out how prepared care homes were for this crisis, what support the Government provided to them and how they will be supported to ensure that if there is a second wave of this deadly virus, care homes are not exposed again."

The assessment of the impact on care homes is part of a wider initiative by the committee, looking into four different areas of the coronavirus impact on health, including PPE, testing sessions which have already taken place and a further session on emergency planning, which is scheduled for June 15.