CARE workers are convinced that coronavirus "was introduced into their care home community as a result of discharges" following the revelation that 113 positive patients were sent into institutions.

Public Health Scotland's investigation found that thousands of patients were transferred from hospitals to care homes in the early stages of the pandemic despite not having undergone a test for Covid-19 – while 113 had tested negative and not received a positive test before being moved into the institutions.

Dr Donald Macaskill, the CEO of Scottish Care, which represents independent care homes, has warned that what is missing from the stark report is "the story of those who cared for residents in our care homes".

He added: "Some of our members and staff who work in care homes in a few cases believe that Covid-19 was introduced into their care home community as a result of discharges.

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"What is missing is the frontline experience of our care sector and its staff, the voices of those who received care and their families."

Dr Macaskill has warned that "at the start of the pandemic all the emphasis was on the preservation of the NHS", highlighting a campaign for collective effort to "protect the NHS".

He added: "The care home sector and its workforce played its part in that protection, and can be assured that in the majority of instances that support through enabling people to come home or be admitted, was not a significant risk factor for outbreaks.

"However, we need to ensure that where people are convinced there was a direct relationship between discharge and outbreak that this belief needs to be investigated.

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"We should have initiated testing for all discharges much earlier than we did. The report makes it clear that there are real benefits from this testing process.

"The report is a reminder of the pain we have all endured. Its insight should become the energy to ensure that the whole health and care system really does support the care home sector in the weeks ahead, that it becomes each of our responsibilities to protect by our everyday action, putting the needs of the residents rather than the protection of any system or organisation at the heart of that shared focus."