Leading Scottish care home operator Balhousie Care Group has denied charges of a “lack of transparency” over its refusal to release information on COVID-19 infections and deaths to the press.
The robust denial came after Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Alexander Stewart, said the operator’s stance “defies belief”.
Mr Steward told The Courier: “To hear that Balhousie Care Group, one of the biggest care providers in the region, has said that it won’t be commenting on anything relating to testing or cases of Covid-19 at any of their facilities completely defies belief.
“During a global health pandemic such as the one we are all currently in the midst of, it is vital that care homes are as transparent as possible and that they allow residents and their families access to all information relevant to their care.
“Without transparency by those who are being paid to provide a service, how can families and residents feel confident in their abilities to provide that due care which is expected?”
Balhousie Care Group Chairman Tony Banks, said: “Balhousie Care Group have swiftly and diligently reported the current and ongoing COVID-19 status of residents in our care homes to all the relevant and appropriate authorities. When and where appropriate, we have also contacted the family of any resident affected.
“What we have tried to avoid is creating any sense of panic or disruption at our care homes. This has been strictly in order to protect our residents, their families and our staff (who are already working in the most stressful circumstances you can imagine). Creating a media frenzy is not helpful to anyone. The governing authorities have an accurate and frequently updated understanding of resident and staff infection levels, residents being treated, residents having been treated and any COVID-19 related deaths.
“Our behaviour has always been appropriately responsible, compliant and professional. Far from lacking transparency, our view is that we have done everything in our power to not only successfully manage the risk of infection in our homes but to assist in the controlled, organised and sensitive flow of all statutory information to the appropriate people and organisations.
“We robustly deny any “lack of transparency”. We do, however, believe in ensuring that the right of privacy and confidentiality due to our residents and their families is fundamental to the trust they place in us. It is our duty to ensure those rights are respected.”