THE Scottish Government’s month-old policy on testing all care home staff for coronavirus has yet to have an appreciable effect, the latest data suggests.

Official statistics showed the number of NHS laboratory tests performed on staff was 4,477 last week, compared to a staff complement of 53,000.

The figure was a third up on the 3,353 such tests run the previous week.

However the target is more than 7,000 each day.

The Scottish Tories accused health secretary Jeane Freeman of a "total failure".

Ms Freeman announced on May 18 that all care home staff - as the main importers of the infection - would be offered tests each week to help protect residents.

However, Scotland’s 14 regional health boards have yet to deliver the tests.

Mr Freeman tried to ‘name and shame’ boards into action by warning their chief executives that she would be published details figures on their progress each week.

However the second weekly set of the data shows the number of tests lagging far behind the number of staff, despite almost half of Covid deaths in Scotland being in care homes.

In the week starting June 8, there were 4,477 NHS lab tests on staff and 2,342 on residents, taking the totals since April 20 to 22,544 tests on staff and 17,394 on residents.

The figures represent the number of tests performed rather than the number of individuals tested, as some individuals will have been tested more than once.

Indeed, the whole point of routine testing is to pick up asymptomatic staff.

The data only covers the test s carried out by NHS laboratories, and does not include tests by the UK regional testing centres or the Scottish social care portal.

The Government says it “therefore is likely to underestimate testing for staff” 

The number of all coronavirus tests carried out yesterday across the whole of Scotland was 5,033 out of a capacity of 15,500. 

Figures from the National Records of Scotland today showed the number of people who have so far died from confirmed or suspected Covid is 4,070 up to June 14.

Of these, 1896 or 46.6 per cent died in care homes.

Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: "By any measure Jeane Freeman has totally failed to fulfil her promise to offer all care home staff a Covid test each week.

“We know this is a crucial part of containing Covid and keeping care home residents safe.

“The reality is that thousands of staff are waiting to be tested each week while the Health Secretary blames care homes and health boards.

“Only with an efficient testing regime across the board can Scotland begin to come out of lockdown and get the economy moving.

“These continuing SNP failures are putting care home staff and residents at unnecessary risk and delaying Scotland’s economic recovery.”  

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Today’s figures have been affected by health boards only hearing of their increased allocation of tests through the UK government’s social care portal on Thursday.

"Nonetheless they do show some progress in getting an increased number of our social care staff tested for Covid-19.   

“The Health Secretary has been very clear that NHS boards must make progress in this key area and we will continue to work with boards to ensure that week on week the number of tests increase to meet the Health Secretary’s clear direction.”