THE SCOTTISH Government has been accused of leaving the care regulator in an “unfit state of neglect” - following a lack of contact in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has admitted that she has only met with officials from the Care Inspectorate, Scotland’s care homes watchdog, once by June 8 – despite Covid-19 spreading through the institutions at the start of the outbreak.

Scottish Labour has criticised the lack of engagement by the Scottish Government – with junior ministers also not holding one-to-one meetings during the same period.

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Scottish Labour health and social care spokesperson, Monica Lennon, said: “That the Health Secretary had met the watchdog for care homes only once during the pandemic up until this point in June raises serious questions about the Scottish Government’s priorities.

“Ensuring the safety of care home residents must be paramount.

“The virus has killed thousands of people in care homes, however, the Care Inspectorate has been posted missing when it should have been more active than ever.

“By the time the pandemic hit, the Care Inspectorate was already in an unfit state of neglect, like many parts of Scotland’s social care services.

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“Scottish Labour’s vision for a National Care Service will drive up standards across the country and give social care the attention and support it deserves.”

It is not known if officials have held meetings since June 8.

In a written statement in Parliament last month, Ms Freeman said: “My officials and I continue to hold regular meetings with the Care Inspectorate on a number of matters, including the review of staffing and resource for this and future operational years.”