An Advinia Health Care care home that suffered 22 COVID-19 related deaths is one of a number of homes under a sector wide investigation in Scotland.
The investigation is being led by the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service’s (COPFS) COVID Deaths Investigation Team (CDIT).
A COPFS spokesperson said: “A multi-agency information gathering process is underway into reports of COVID-19 or presumed COVID-19 deaths at Newcarron Court in Falkirk.
“The information is in the process of being collated and provided to the CDIT. CDIT is working with the relevant agencies to ensure that all necessary and appropriate enquiries are made as quickly as possible.”
An Advinia spokesperson told us: “Our thoughts and prayers remain with all of those families who have lost a loved one as a result of this pandemic.
“We are proud to operate some of the largest care homes in Scotland, homes that are often more than four times the size of the average Scottish care home. Newcarron is one of those homes, with more than 100 beds. When adjusted for the greater than average size of our homes, regrettably, the rate of COVID-19 deaths was broadly in line with that experienced by the sector as a whole.
“In the first months of the pandemic comparatively little was known regarding the asymptomatic nature of the spread of the disease and we did not have access to today’s robust testing system. Despite these challenges, we did answer the urgent call to support NHS Scotland to make beds available for discharged patients.
“Recently, we have heard the Scottish Government acknowledge that ‘mistakes’ were made in ensuring that care homes were as ready as they could have been to receive the hundreds of people who were discharged from NHS hospitals.
“All of our homes were as well prepared as they could have been at the time the pandemic started, and forward planning meant that we never faced a shortage of PPE.
“Like all Scottish care homes, we are ready to cooperate with all and any investigations into the system-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We mourn every death from COVID-19 and express our sympathy for all those who have lost loved ones, and for the distress and grief experienced by individuals and their families.
“As the First Minister and Health Secretary have previously said the Scottish Government will continue to learn lessons from the COVID-pandemic and, subject to the outcome of the Scottish Parliament election, intends to have a full public inquiry which considers all aspects of how the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled, including the impact on care homes and their residents.
“Saving people’s lives has been and continues to be the priority of the Scottish Government throughout the pandemic. We began the vaccination programme in care homes as soon as the vaccine became available in Scotland and this prioritisation helped ensure that from the start of 2021 there have been no excess deaths in Scottish care homes, and that since the peak in late January deaths in care homes have fallen by 95%.
“A multi-agency information gathering process in relation to deaths in care homes, under the direction of the Crown Office, is underway, carried out independently of ministers, so it would be inappropriate for the Scottish Government to comment further at this time.”