CONSERVATIVES have accused Health Secretary Jeane Freeman of passing the buck over outbreaks of Covid-19 in care homes. 

Ms Freeman has written to Scottish health boards telling them they will be named and shamed if they fail to deliver the Scottish Government's policy of routinely testing care home staff for conronavirus. 

In her letter, the Health Secretary told health boards that their current plans lacked “the level of detail required to give assurance to me and to the public that commitments on testing will be fulfilled” and has asked new plans to be draw up by this afternoon. 

But Tory MSPs have criticised the stance by Ms Freeman, pointing to her previously blaming NHS Lothian for an eight-year delay in opening the news Sick Kids in Edinburgh and pushing responsibility for infection deaths at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow onto local health chiefs. 

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “If anyone needs to be named and shamed when it comes to testing failures, it’s Jeane Freeman and her hapless SNP government. 

“The repeated shortcomings in testing – whether that’s failure to use capacity, missing targets on care homes or recruiting contact tracers – is on the SNP. 

“The buck stops with Jeane Freeman, and she should stop trying to pass it onto health boards.” 

He added: “We’ve seen this before from the health secretary, where she tried to abdicate responsibility on the new Sick Kids in Edinburgh and repeated problems at the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow. 

“It’s a cowardly approach from an SNP government which is fast running out of excuses.” 

It has also been revealed that a simulation exercise in 2018 into a coronavirus outbreak in Scotland revealed a “clear gap” in being prepared for an epidemic. 

Mr Carlaw added: “The SNP government also needs to explain what was learned from the outbreak exercise in 2018. 

“It seems huge problems were identified – now we need to know what action was taken. 

“Did Jeane Freeman and her predecessors read this report? And if so, what did they do in response to it?”