The family of a 70-year-old woman with Alzheimer's who had tested positive for coronavirus have branded the decision to move her from hospital into a care home "reckless".

The elderly patient began suffering symptoms including a high temperature and breathing difficulties, and was taken from West Lothian's Livingston Care Home to St John's Hospital, also in Livingston.

She was taken in last Tuesday and tested positive a day later, on Wednesday.

But a relative was left baffled when they were told that their relative could be returned to the care home on Thursday, as that was likely to have been where she caught the virus.

A policy of hospital Covid patients having two negative tests prior to discharge to a care home was brought in back in April - unless in "exceptional" circumstances including end-of-life care, according to first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The family member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We were lost for words.

"I just struggle to understand the logic in sending someone who is Covid positive back into a care home when we have already had a high number of care home deaths.

“I would have liked to imagine there would’ve been a plan put in place after nine months for the elderly.

"Unfortunately it still feels like there is little care for our most vulnerable and that is very upsetting.

“Maybe you can send people home if they live at home, but to a care home is reckless and could be devastating.

"It could be a better setting for her and they (carers) know what they are doing with her but there are other people in there and other families affected and if someone else catches it, it can spread like wildfire.

"Families are already worried enough, and staff are at risk as well.”

The woman was discharged from St John's Hospital into a care home the day after testing positive for Covid-19.

Details of the case emerged amid calls from opposition parties to introduce a complete ban on discharging patients to care homes without two negative tests.

Lothian MSP Neil Findlay (Scottiah Labour), who has highlighted concerns about the case in Parliament, said: “When I raised this case at FMQs and asked if we were back to discharging Covid positive patients to care homes Nicola Sturgeon was emphatic saying and I quote ‘With the greatest respect, I do not accept that. There is no such policy and there will not be one.’

"This case and many others show this is happening, against the Government’s own guidance, putting residents and staff at risk.

“This is more evidence of the appalling way that older people have been treated during the last nine months.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the guidance has been clear for hospital Covid discharges for several months and that exceptional circumstances are based on “clinical judgement.”

She said it is right that doctors, based on their knowledge of the patient and experience, are able to exercise that judgement.

Jacquie Campbell, chief officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: “Our standard process for discharging patients back into care homes requires the patient to test negative for Covid-19 twice prior to discharge.

“However, when a patient does not require acute hospital care, there are circumstances in which it can be better for a patient to return to the familiarity of their care home.

"In cases such as these, a discharge to a care home would only take place after consultation with our Infection Prevention and Control team and the care home to ensure they are confident and content to continue to care for the returning resident safely.

“The needs and wellbeing of our patients are at the centre of this decision making and it is only ever made in line with strict infection control policies.”

A Livingston Care Home spokesman has said they are working closely with Health Protection Scotland and NHS Lothian to monitor the situation and will continue to “rigorously adhere” to the guidelines regarding PPE and infection control, with weekly staff testing in place.

The spokesman added: “We would like to thank our frontline care staff for their exceptional efforts during this pandemic.”