EU procurement and Number 10’s deceit


A strange and worrisome thing happened in the British government yesterday. Sorry, that’s not a particularly helpful sentence. These days saying that a strange and worrisome thing happened in the British government is a bit like saying that you saw dog crap in the park, that there was an SNPbad story in the Scottish media, or that British nationalists on social media found something to feel victimised by. We’ve come to expect the Conservative government in Westminster to act like a bunch of incompetent mendacious charlatans. It’s pretty much their USP.

Yesterday, a senior civil servant in the Foreign Office, Simon McDonald, told a Westminster parliamentary committee that the UK had made a “political decision” to withdraw from the EU joint procurement programme. This is an EU scheme which allows participating countries to act together as bulk purchasers of medical equipment and supplies. The size of the EU states combined means that they can secure better deals and lower prices from suppliers, and can force their way to the head of the queue in times of shortage. Despite the UK leaving the EU at the end of January, the EU was – and still is – willing to allow the UK to participate. Simon McDonald claimed that the UK had left the scheme because of a deliberate policy decision, leaving the British government open to accusations that it was putting Brexit ideology before saving lives. And you’d think that as a senior mandarin in the Foreign Office that he’d know what had happened in negotiations with the EU.

According to reports in the press, the UK was both invited to participate in meetings with EU states about co-ordinating their equipment and supplies purchasing in response to the virus. The first of these meetings took place in January. On 31 January, the EU held a meeting about the joint procurement of PPE. You know, that PPE that we’re currently being told that there is a shortage of, and NHS staff are being told to recycle that which they have. Even though the UK had officially left the EU by then, the UK still participated in a further three meetings in February and March. On 15 March, the president of the Eu Commission Ursula von der Leyen publicly announced the procurement scheme, and said that as the UK was still in the Brexit transition period it was eligible to participate. A couple of days later Matt Hancock confirmed that the UK had been invited to participate and that it was engaging with the EU on the issue. All of which is terribly grown up and responsible, the sort of way you’d hope a government would behave during a global crisis.

But of course this is the UK, and we’re led by a bunch of vile liars who are consumed by their personal ambitions. On 26th March a spokesperson for Downing Street announced that the UK would not be participating in the EU procurement scheme because we’ve already left the EU and we’re special and British. Only proper union flag themed ventilators will suffice for Great British hospitals, and if the UK can’t package its ventilators the way that Tesco packages its vegetables, true blue Brits should not be interested. This government would far rather that we all turn true blue in the face because we’re struggling to breathe than cooperate with this dastardly Europeans with their bulk purchasing.

Naturally this didn’t go down well, so within a couple of days there was the very loud sound of reverse screeching. Michael Gove, because he’s the go-to guy whenever the British government wants to slime its way out of a problem, told the press that the UK had indeed been eager to participate, but that there had been a “communication problem” and the UK never got an official invitation to participate. The dog had eaten the message. The email had ended up in the spam folder. The letter had got lost in the post. It was all terribly unfortunate, but there you go. It’s the kind of excuse that a 12 year old would be embarrassed to come out with as they attempted to explain why they’d not done their homework.

That was the line until Simon McDonald gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday. A clearly uncomfortable Simon told the committee that foreign office officials had briefed UK government ministers about what was on offer from the EU, and said that ministers had made a political decision not to participate. This was a man who obviously knew that he was contradicting the line put out by UK government ministers. You can see the exchange here

Later in the day Matt Hancock denied that any such decision had been made at all. Instead we saw an extraordinary “letter of clarification” from Simon McDonald. It’s peculiar all by itself that he had to issue a letter of clarification about a comment that he made that was perfectly clear already. The letter reads like one of those self-denunciations made by North Korean generals just before they’re taken out and shot. You can read the letter here

The letter is phrased in tortured sentences in such a way that it’s clear that it was drafted in a process of arm twisting. Simon McDonald’s remarks to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee had created a political problem for the government by directly contradicting them. He was going to have to save their skin. The letter tells us that the UK did not receive an invitation in time, yet we already know that the UK was involved in discussions and negotiations and knew full well that the procurement scheme was taking place. Yet now we’re expected to believe that the British government isn’t going to participate because it didn’t get the official invitation. It’s a bit like not going to your best friend’s wedding, the planning of which you were fully involved with, because the fancy invite didn’t arrive in the post even though your friend had told you over the phone that of course you were still invited.

This means that the official line from the British government is not that they missed out on much needed ventilators and PPE because of swivel eyed Brexity reasons. Oh no. How very dare you for even suggesting such a narrow minded, ideologically driven, and just plain nasty idea. What are you? Iain Duncan Smith? You sound exactly like one of those Conservative MPs who was quite prepared to trash the economy and – in the words of Boris Johnson – “fuck business” in order to pursue an ideologically pure Brexit. You should consider yourself well and truly shamed. Because unlike a Conservative MP you probably do indeed have a fully functioning sense of shame. How dare you suggest such a thing. It’s only Conservative MPs who are allowed to suggest the morally bankrupt.

No. The real reason is far more reassuring. Well, that is if you consider it reassuring to be told when you’re in a plane that’s lost all power and is plunging towards the earth where it’s going to explode in a ball of flames that you’re in your current predicament because the pilot is a clueless idiot and not because he’s suicidal and intent on taking you down with him. We’re now told that the British government missed out in participating in the EU joint procurement programme because they’re a bunch of useless incompetents who can’t manage to do the kind of basic office admin tasks that are usually given to a school kid on work experience. This admission is supposed to fill us with confidence in the abilities of the Conservative government to handle the current crisis. Matt Hancock trusts that you’re feeling far more assured now.

Either way, this entire episode stinks. Either the email was indeed lost, in which case the British government is guilty of gross incompetence during a global emergency in which thousands of people are dying. And the lost email excuse does not explain why the UK was still refusing to participate in the EU procurement scheme even though the EU made it clear that the offer was still open after Michael Gove’s oops the dog ate my homework moment. Alternatively this is a story which was entirely invented in order to cover the arses of government ministers who are hell bent on pursusing Brexit at any cost – even the cost of our lives. And let us not forget that Number 10 is still insisting that despite the crashing economy and the global disaster under no circumstances will it consider asking the EU for an extension to the transition period. It’s either incompetence or malignity, but the end result is NHS staff and care workers being deprived of the vital equipment that they need to save lives and to keep themselves safe. But hey, they’re getting a round of applause and a wee badge.

All by itself this is a scandal of enormous proportions, and that’s before we even throw the discredited herd immunity policy, Boris Johnson being missing in action, the tardiness of the UK’s reponse, the failure to test and trace, and everything else into the mix. This is a government which was offered help from the EU at a time when thousands of people were dying, which refused that help for its own narrow political reasons, and then lied to cover it up. In any normal country this wouldn’t merely result in ministerial resignations, it would result in prosecutions for criminal negligence.

The UK has missed the boat on this round of procurement, but on Friday the EU announced that the UK was more than welcome to join a future round. The UK has yet to respond. People are still dying.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…

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101 thoughts on “EU procurement and Number 10’s deceit

  1. It´s interesting that the British Establishment media have turned against bojo and his cabinet.

    I wonder what the plan is.

    Are they looking to replace them and if so how and with whom?

  2. The Tories were so busy trying to ruin the economy with Brexit. They ruined the healthcare services. Cut funding.

    Tax evading is considered more important by Westminster unionists. Than funding healthcare properly.

    Johnston and the rest lazy, incompetent greedy liars. Liars always get found out. The UK ministers are a pathetic, irresponsible bunch. They can’t count or read a balance sheet. Crass judgement. Unelected parasites hold Court in Downing Street. Invited in. They have not got a clue. An absolute disgrace. The MSM parasites back them up. Non Dom tax evaders. Without a conscience or credit.

    Lockdown should have been imposed a month before and the vital equipment procured earlier in stock. The necessary testing available. Instead of deficits.

  3. Hi Paul – i noticed you mentioned ” but on Friday the EU announced that the UK was more than welcome to join a future round” – have the EU had a previous round of procurement that has resulted in deliveries – getting conflicted info from the Beeb – “In any case, the EU schemes are yet to deliver supplies of either ventilators or PPE, so the question of why the UK didn’t take part is perhaps academic.”

    Don’t want to let the bastards off the hook but do you know of any timescales for deliveries from the first round as opposed to this second round which has still to be agreed and acted upon?

  4. Pingback: EU procurement and Number 10’s deceit | speymouth

  5. Jackson Carlaw needs to be put under pressure for this as the Scottish leader of the UK party in power.
    I heard today of his politicising of business relief in Scotland and his demand that we replicate the English set up although it is clearly not fit for purpose in Scotland.
    He is deflecting at every opportunity the complete screw up his pals in London are making.
    He is guilty by association.
    Make him accountable

  6. The current UK government are both ideologically and politically committed to their current course. Who knew moment number 5438. Add in the point that their administrative skills have been shambolic at best, coupled with their own naked personal ambitions/traits, and you have a perfect storm of disaster for our populations.

    Wrong people in the wrong posts and at at the wrong time.

  7. Care home deaths will be higher because they are in the recognised demographics, of whom, any virus strikes those with underlying health issues.

    50,000 people die in Scotland every year. 1,000 a week mainly from this group. Norm. More die in the winter than the summer on average, (norm).

    500,000 people die in the UK. 10,000 a week. The population demographics. Norm. More elderly people have died in the rest of the UK because of Tory cuts. 120,000. Austerity has made people ill. Cuts in welfare funding. Increased hospital admissions.

    Scotland is recording home care deaths, into the statistics. The statistics of number of deaths would be higher in the elderly age group, especially in Scotland. A higher elderly population as a proportion. The norm death rate would have to be considered in the statistic calculations. The numbers adjusted overall per annum.

    More people are being kept alive in Scotland. The human body can only endure so much stress and wear and tear. Death can be a release from suffering. In old age the human body shuts down. People stop eating. Just take water. To stop hydrating.

    The average life expectancy 79. Britain Women live on average 5 year longer than men, worldwide. More men smoking historically? More men smoked before it was know how bad the effect was on health. Affecting chest conditions and breathing. Respiratory conditions.

    Slightly more men smoke than women as a percentage. Less people smoke now because of negative health aspect. The 1960’s first report of heart attack level connected to smoking. Further reports on other relevant health issues. Vaping could be detrimental according to some reports. Smoking ban. MUP introduced for healthcare reasons.

    It is an extremely worrying situation. Trying to keep people safe, especially the elderly. Westminster administration was totally unprepared. Scotland has increased healthcare/social care funding. Helping more elderly people stay in their own homes. They are more safe isolation.

    Social home care £100? a week. Residential home £600 a week. Hospital care £600 a day. People with means or insurance can have to contribute. Until a certain level.

  8. Yesterday when I heard what the Senior Civil Servant had said my first thought was: ‘Yes, the Mandarins strike back’. Pay back by the Mandarins for Dominic Cummings and his ‘plans’ for Civil Service reform.

    It was only a matter of time before this happened The Mandarins chose their moment well coming as it did on the back of the Sunday Times article, the FT article, duff tests and a shortage of nurses for Nightingale London.

    The stench from the hidden that is Westminster has become overpowering.

    • ‘midden’ not ‘hidden’. You can’t hide a midden, the stench will always lead you to it.

      See when we get independence the first thing we do is get a Scottish version of predictive text

      • Their midden has not even established its layers yet…shite, shite, mair shite, just gels into one big liquid jobby polluting not just the Thames but their ideology of the ‘almighty empire’.

  9. If the UK government had fully participated in a joint plan with the EU on procurement that would have given the *enemy* the people who quite like co-operation and democracy to accuse the UK government of needing the EU, so why did they leave, and the UK can’t have even a snifter of that sort of political news thrown at them so better to not have the equpipment and possibly let folk die rather than admit they need other folks help

    British is best, don’t you know, and in order to be fully and completely British one must agree with the English elite who invented the newer Nationality of Britishness so they could abandon the tarnished old Nationality of Englishness to increase their importance of bigness

    Scottishness Irishness and Welshness people need not apply unless they’re prepared to disavow all ties with their original Nations and adopt the invented one Nation approach to calling a geographic location a country

    I never heard anyone from the geographical land masses of Europe or Africa or South America refer to themselves as one country

    Only the arrogance of of a certain type of people propose then attempt to enforce such things on other peoples, just because you use *politics* and not a weapon to get your way, it amounts to the same abhorrent practice, domination

  10. If the UK were honest enough to put in the deaths attributed to Covid19 from ell sources not just hospitals the death rate would be the highest in % terms in the world, we are currently at 13% and the US with a high number of deaths is only 5%, highest is currently Belgium in % terms UK would be significantly above that. No wonder they want to hide the real cost in lives.

  11. There is a majority of support for EU membership in Britain. Especially the young. That is why the UK will never leave the EU or quickly rejoin. Despite the Tories appalling record of mismanagement and corruption. They will be voted out, no doubt, soon. The mismanagement, scandal and Brexit mess coming to the fore. Deja Vu.

    Thatcher and the EU negative relationship. That is why they had to go. They do not learn very much. Making the same mistakes over and over.

    Thank goodness for Devolution 2000.Self governance will get even better. Support for SNP/Independence rising. Keeping people in Scotland alive longer. A caring more competent governance. People have voted for it.

  12. Self isolation could be keeping people alive who would have otherwise died. The (norm) who would have died, without the virus, would be adjusted in the figures. Divided over the amount of time/months. ‘Journalists’, ‘Reporters’ are not good with figures and statistics.

    Heart attacks and stoke patients are not going to Hospital. Others not attending, in case they get the virus. More people dying of heart attacks and strokes. Staying at home. Waiting too long. Other deaths rising from other medical conditions.

    Separate entrances at A&E. A&E departments are empty.

  13. I made the mistake of engaging with a MAGA yahoo – a bit like a yoon but frankly way more unhinged. I pointed out that relaxing on isolation now, because the governor of Georgia thinks there are more important things than living, is a bit like setting fire to your house, because you don’t want to pay your heating bill.

    His response was a staggeringly idiotic “You quarantine the sick, vulnerable and infirm”

    If you knowingly expose people to a virus, the very least I’d expect is that you would have to quarantine the sick, vulnerable and infirm. But it wouldn’t stop there would it? You’d have to trace and test everyone the sick came into contact with. Family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. The people who served your coffee and cut your hair, because you were too selfish to isolate until it was all clear. If any of those people test positive, you have to cast out the net further and further.
    Then like tipping over a domino in a line of dominoes, you can sit back and watch the whole stack tip over. If your health care system is robust enough. Has the equipment and the staff to keep it running. Then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. But if its under resourced. If its under staffed. Worse, if its staff are put at risk because of government incompetence or malfeasance, then you risk far worse than a slump in the economy. A pandemic raging through your communities with no way of controlling it, can lead to anarchy, not just a lot of people dying who didn’t need to.
    If your response is to shrug you shoulders and say “meh, people die all the time” – then that doesn’t make you pragmatic or realistic. It makes you a complete and total “word”. You know the “word”. The “word” Paul doesn’t like, so I am not going to use it.

    Can any of us honestly say we trust the UK gov on this?

    Boris Johnson is a proven liar. There has not been a job he has not been sacked from or quit before he got sacked. I honestly believe he is the kind of man who would shrug his shoulders and say “Meh, people die all the time”

    And we know what that makes him.

    I respect Sturgeon for wanting to keep isolation going. I am simply not prepared to risk my life on the word of a total “word”

  14. A Guardian ‘journalist does not understand why Scotland has a separate Education (legal) system. The terms of the Treaty of Union. Or Devolution 2000 separate powers. People voted for it.

    Then writes an irrelevant opinion piece viewed on misconception. They should really do a bit of relevant research. A short study time. Nicola Sturgeon is giving relevant briefings because people in Scotland voted for that.

  15. That’s now official then .

    The Tory government believe the entire nation are Stupid , blind, Deaf & Dumb .

    What makes it more annoying is on the whole Scots rejected them and have done since if I am correct 1959 , a whole country burdened by a bunch of useless well spoken f/n Idiots assisted by a spineless Labour Party and a liberal party you wouldn’t pish on , is this the best this Union has to offer , God help us all .

    Just how many times do Scots need to be punched in the face, pished on , treated like second class rubbish before they waken up its beyond belief they still cling to this rotten to the core Union .

  16. Should the private home and social care system be nationalised? Private companies are responsible for keeping to the care standards, for health and safety and god help us pay and conditions for staff. Like the banks they now want the taxpayer to pay for their legal responsibility. I have no issue with the Scots Government supporting the individual staff with face masks and supporting the residents. But if we are paying for this why shouldn’t we receive their profits?

  17. I really REALLY hope that at the end of all of this, that someone is brave enough to hold this government accountable, not just in the ballot box but in a court of law, I would contribute to a crowdfund for that to happen

  18. Bl**dywell lying again! .. ”But ministers have consistently claimed the shortage of PPE has been down to global supply chains being depleted.”

    ‘British PPE equipment ‘being shipped abroad’ as NHS staff cry out for protection.’

    ..”Millions of pieces of PPE equipment are being shipped out of Britain and sold to EU countries, it has been reported. UK manufacturers have told The Telegraph they have had “no choice” but to sell the items to Germany, Spain and Italy after the government ignored their offers of help.The equipment is said to consist of masks, respirators and other lifesaving bits of kit, and is being shipped out in lorry loads to the other nations.”..

    ..”A source claimed Veenak International, a Birmingham-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, shipped more than one million FFP2 masks and five million surgical masks abroad in the last week. The company also has millions of pounds worth of other equipment laying unused in its warehouses, the source added.”..


    ‘Government misses out on 16m face masks for NHS in four weeks.’

    Companies say their offers to supply much-needed PPE have been met with silence.”..

    ..”Of 8,000 companies so far offering PPE within the UK, the government has engaged with about 1,000 and is working with 159 manufacturers to bring the offered supplies into use. But many of those firms said that they had seen offers of rapidly available and certified equipment ignored.”..

    • Ch4 news has had various items on this issue and interviewed people from some of the firms. Some owners/companies have used their own money to buy materials to make the masks etc and reconfigured their factories to safeguard their staff. They have contacted the UK Gov/Civil Servants and got nowhere. Now they have no option but to sell abroad otherwise they will go bust and their staff will be out of a job.

      They have tried their best. They wanted to help. They have been let down badly by the UK Gov. A UK Gov that says it is trying to sort out which offers are ‘credible’. Such an awful term throwing doubt on the motives and abilities of all these firms.

      This from a Gov that bought 3.5 million test kits guaranteeing to pay for them whether they worked or not. They did not work.

      The UK Gov is a disgrace.

  19. I am also wondering why the farcical pm has not taken to his podium after his convalescence? Is he behind the door with his mentor getting brexit done?

  20. All they have to do to ‘Get Brexit Done’ is continue as they are.
    Do Nothing,31st December we’re OUT.
    They’re showing how expert they are a doing nothing well.

    • An excellent find and informative article… The collaborative and individual work being done by scientists worldwide on this new virus is quite astounding considering it’s recent aptimeline.

      The Vo’ study by the University of Padua I’d stumbled across when it first came out, good to see the subsequent analysis build on that initiative. What Vo’ proved conclusively was the importance of distancing/isolation as a methodology to control spread, and how testing could assist the community. That the albeit small population complied with the regime willingly was key to success, that they escaped the devastating effects which unfolded elsewhere in the region by sheer chance was not lost on the inhabitants either.

      It seems likely ongoing research will produce some form of treatment before a second wave lands next autumn/winter, given the shambolic antics of the current politicos will doubtless continue, we’d better hope so.

  21. The EU hasn’t actually got the PPE and delivered it yet to the 27 countries. And having tried my best, I can’t find what the (£1.3bn) worth of PPE in that first round of the Joint European Procurement Initiative is in terms of numbers of gowns, masks, aprons, gloves, or even a total figure.

    So it’s impossible to compare with the UK’s figures which quote so many units of PPE, but not cost. In fact the EU pages were just as bad for fluff and no substance as the UK pages “we’re great”. PDFs of press releases but no links to invite to tender documents.

    Strangely enough there’s absolutely no evidence of one single journalist every having tried to clarify this – including for the EU procurement. And that order dates back to the 24th March – 4 weeks ago.

    Thing is, even roughly sharing out that EU first procurement, it’s £50 million each. So what does that mean the country is getting in terms of gowns etc?

    Ho Hum.

  22. Can anyone clarify, do any of you have knowledge or experience in PPE for care home workers?

    Have I detected an elephant hiding in the corner of the room that no one else including the UK and yes indeed the Scottish governments have noticed or acknowledged? Indeed the media also seem to have overlooked this virtual pachyderm lurking in the very crowded room.

    My understanding is that care home workers PPE consists of rubber gloves, a thin polythene apron over
    their standard issue uniform, a visor or goggles and a mask that is not the standard required to filter a virus. Whereas for hospital staff caring for Covid patients they need full length gowns as well as the flimsy apron, head covering, visors or goggles, rubber gloves, shoe coverings and a proper virus proof mask that moulds to the contours of the face. Even this level of PPE seems flimsy in comparison to the full hooded suits we saw in the Chinese hospitals when the virus was first exposed to the world.

    We know from the figures that more than 30% of Covid fatalities in Scotland occur in care homes. The elephant is: if this is the case then why aren’t the carers issued with the same level of PPE as hospital staff and why are people suffering from Covid not in hospital where there is proper infection control and professional doctors and nurses to look after them and perhaps save their lives? I understand that many care home residents are close to end of life anyway however that is no reason to just let them suffocate using their limited strength to gasp for air when they could be in a hospital and have a greater chance of survival. This begs the question: Why doesn’t the Scottish government start transferring care home residents with symptoms or a diagnosis of Covid into the currently empty but ready to go Louisa Jordan hospital and for those too far away from Glasgow into other hospitals? Care homes are no place to deal with highly infectious disease. They need to be urgently cleared of all Covid sufferers and then completely cleaned and disinfected and returned to their status as a comfortable home for the elderly. At the rate Scotland is going care homes will become hospices. I dread to hear the death numbers of low paid care home workers at the end of this. Not only have they been treated differently when it comes to PPE standards but they have been entirely overlooked as probably the most at risk in the list of essential workers. All this while the Scottish government stays at arms length telling us that infection control and PPE are the responsibility of the private companies that run care homes and that they can call in the local GP to deal with the sick. That is true however these private companies and their facilities were never intended to deal with an outbreak of a deadly virus.

    My other worry is that the Scottish government is going to have to answer a lot of questions as to how they have handled aspects of this crisis. There will be a reckoning and the way Scotland has dealt with it may well show some positive aspects but but they are wide open to attack in the way they are handling the crisis in care homes. We know that the UK govt and Boris and his merry men and woman are toast but I fear that The Scottish government will have a good deal of questions to answer that may well see them being badly burnt too.

    The glaring comparisons to how some other countries have dealt with this, countries such as Denmark and Norway show that control of borders is essential to fighting a pandemic. This is a lesson we should all heed when next we answer the independence question. However the Scottish governments insistence in being in lock step with the UK and the other devolved governments so far has undoubtedly cost us lives. In the beginning of the crisis Nicola Sturgeon and Catherine Calderwood even went along with the herd immunity BS that came from the early COBRA meetings. I distinctly remember this being discussed at an early Scottish government media briefing. It seems that they were all to eager to listen to the UK ‘experts’ back then. If Scotland had been independent then perhaps it would have been different but unfortunately I feel that the Scottish government has a level of culpability……not the same level as the UK government but none the less they have some questions to answer as to why they threw their lot in with the now disgraced UK govt.

    • Malky, your ‘understanding’ leaves lots of blanks.
      ‘Care homes’ is quite a broad brush.
      With this broad brush you make some sweeping statements; like many on here my age, we have had ,sadly, first hand knowledge of the incredible care, compassion, and professionalism of care homes, hospices, and Home Nursing.
      I sense that you haven’t a clue.
      Your summation seems to be that the SNP were/are as culpable as WM for deaths in care homes, hospices, private residences, and hospitals.
      A lot of words, Malky, with no basis in facts.
      Why not let the medical staff, and support workers, and God help us, NS and her Front Team, get on with dealing with the greatest peace time crisis in our lifetime, and just shut it.
      The last thing they need is howls of baseless indignation.

      I’ve read through your pointless diatribe once more.
      I’ll never get that 3 minutes back.

      • Jack thanks for your reply. You seem to have misunderstood. I am the biggest fan of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government however I don’t let that blinker me. No one is above criticism. We should not let loyalty blind us and it took a lot for me to call out the SG in my comment.

        What I see happening is that 30% of deaths in Scotland are in care homes or at home. A care home is not a hospital or hospice so a resident who is sick with a highly infectious deadly disease should be cared for in a hospital where they can receive oxygen and top class medical care from professionals with the appropriate treatments and infection control. If you leave these sick people in the care home then it’s patently obvious the others including their carers with inadequate PPE stand a very high chance of contracting the disease. A care home in my understanding is a safe comfortable caring environment for elderly people and should not become a place of danger where vulnerable people are exposed to the virus. Sick and infectious people no matter their age or prognosis should be in hospital. In this regard the SG in my opinion should recognise this and act immediately to rectify the situation.

        I did not say the SG were as culpable as WM I said that aspects ( care homes) of the SG handling of the crisis leaves them open to some culpability if their policy in this area is found to have been flawed when this is over.

        The UK govt will not survive and will rightly be blamed for their lamentable handling of the crisis. I just hope that the SG by not varying significantly from the UK governments lead don’t become collateral damage too. In my opinion if the SG act now and break from the UK policy in this area and have care homes in Scotland cleared of people diagnosed or with symptoms of Covid and have them admitted to hospital where the have better chance of survival whilst reducing the risk to care home staff and their families, then the SG will not be judged as harshly if the crisis in care homes and the way it was handled is found to have been a contributor to prolonging and worsening the crisis.

        Your reading and interpretation of my comment and criticism of it is fine by me however your rude remark at the end was uncalled for


        • Your ‘rudeness’ is my ‘impatience’.
          Your attempt to frame ‘care homes’ as ‘Dunromin’ ‘ shelters for rosy cheeked grannies who need extra care because they have become a little unsteady on their feet, otherwise they are perfectly ok, is reductionism absurdum.
          I apologise for my abruptness.

          • Comfortable safe caring places for the elderly and infirm to live in dignity free from danger.

            That is how I would describe a care home

        • ”A care home is not a hospital or hospice so a resident who is sick with a highly infectious deadly disease should be cared for in a hospital where they can receive oxygen and top class medical care from professionals with the appropriate treatments and infection control.”

          A major problem with this Malky is that many elderly people who are dying from the coronavirus are seemingly well one day and unfortunately dead the next. In other words they don’t show signs of being unwell at all. Testing isn’t a great help either as if one person is shown to have the virus, and removed to hospital, the whole care home could be infected within a week.

          Another problem of course is that care home workers are in the main not nurses. They don’t spend 3 years plus training. They are put through one / two day courses covering subjects such as moving and handling, first aid, food hygiene, good practise in infection control and so on. All carers have to pass these short courses before they are allowed to work in care homes or in the community however it’s difficult to assess how well they are doing, or not, … abiding to the guidelines, if you don’t have a supervisor standing over them 24×7.

          • Thanks for your comments Petra. However I have to standby my point that the statistics clearly show that care home residents and staff are extremely vulnerable. The fact that care home staff have only rudimentary PPE in comparison to hospital staff who are also dealing with highly infectious people means that the carers are being exposed to more risk. This risk is then extended to the carers family when they go home after a gruelling and worrying shift aftervpossibly sitting comforting people slowly dying of a highly infectious and deadly disease. This is putting these frontline workers in more danger than anyone else in this crisis.

            My admiration for Nicola Sturgeon and her government is immense and I view the SNP as being the only credible party to lead the independence movement as a whole to success in indyref 2 whenever that comes. However I am also a pragmatist and not blinded by loyalty. As much as it pains me to say that the SG up until now have been following the UK lead and my view is that this has resulted in way more casualties than any country of a similar size to Scotland. Admittedly border control is under WM so any attempt by the SG to unilaterally act in this area would send the Britnats and the media into a feeding frenzy. However health is totally in the SG remit so divergence in this area in regards to how care homes are dealt with could still be possible.

            Care homes are hotbeds of infection and I believe leaving infectious dying people in the home to be looked after by admittedly very caring and devoted staff with inadequate protection is the wrong policy. The SG should break step with the UK and intervene in a more thorough way to seperate the sick and infectious from the frail and elderly they share a home with.

    • If you listened to the FM’s update yesterday would would have heard both the FM and Jane Freeman reiterate to the journalists exactly what support there is in place for care homes and the guidance care homes should be following. They are being sister by the local NHS and they are being supported with PPE and they are being supported by the Care Inspectorate. But at the end of the day they are private’s run enterprises on the whole, not run by the government or NHS.

      • Yes but the have been proven to be hot beds of infection and people are dying in them.

        I did listen to the govt update yesterday and that is what prompted my comments. I believe that what the government propose is inadequate. Sick infectious people should be admitted to hospital to better manage their illness and reduce the chance of other care home residents and staff becoming infected.

    • Malky, I mean no disrespect but the premise of your argument is wrong, there is no elephant you alone have spotted.

      Your arguments are similar founded to those of Robert Kilgour and Gary Smith, in complete contradiction to guidelines and standards set down by clinicians and medical specialists infinitely better qualified and experienced to make them.
      In their case it is blatantly stirring the political proverbial in the middle of a crisis, rather than inform an inevitable lessons-learned exercise after it. Sure, SG may have done A or B better, sure their failures will be amplified a thousand fold by Pacific Quay, are they not already doing so ?

      Your point over 30% deaths in care homes presumes that figure would change in a hospital environment, were that the case their doctors would so prescribe. This is a point hammered home regularly by Jason Leitch, it is the doctor conducting a clinical assessment in consultation with family to decide on the best course of action for a patient including hospitalisation, not politically motivated individuals of whatever persuasion external to that process.
      That the Scottish figure is below the 50% recorded elsewhere is in itself wholly remarkable, whether that is due to the success of SG’s initiatives time will tell.

      Quality of life is paramount to the elderly, no care-worker will jeopardise that for lack of PPE or anything else as they are not simply clients but friends, nor will a doctor prescribe an elderly patient undergo anaesthesia to force ventilate with survival percentages into single digits, they have a duty of care which goes beyond statistical concerns.

      Were it me, the last place I’d want to shuffle off this mortal coil would be in a warehouse, YMMV.

      • Comments duly noted but you overlooked my main point. It is obvious that the risk of one resident or carer being infected and thereby infecting others in the home is clearly very high. The statistics prove that. Therefore if there is a possibility of minimising risk then that should be the goal.

        I am coming from a purely pragmatic and dare I say common sense point of view in both clinical and political angles. Lives can be saved and political reputations salvaged. I would hate to see the FM and the SNP becoming collateral damage simply because they stuck with the WM plan with no thought of divergence in policy.

      • Sorry Malky, I didn’t overlook it, I dismissed it as presumptuous.
        “Therefore if there is a possibility of minimising risk then that should be the goal” – Is that not precisely what the Inspectorate have been ensuring for years, what SG did back in March by imposing new Covid guidance, what SG they have been doing with top-up of PPE etc, is that not what staff and visiting medics/nurses are doing on a day-by-day basis ?

        Life in Care-Homes will have changed dramatically in the last few weeks, but their POV on what constitutes “pragmatic and common-sense” is presumed inferior despite being on the front line. Serious issues are a phone call away from solution, clinicians are available at the drop of a hat, meanwhile life goes on as best it can.

        What you have completely failed to grasp is the importance of “quality of life”, the very reason these residents are in care-homes. That this QoL is reduced due to the new regimes will be hard enough for residents to bear, but the effects of hospitalisation perhaps hundreds of miles away from family, friends, and staff they know and are known to, could prove devastating. For why ? Statistics ?

        There is much more to this situation than stats and politics unlike south of the border, which is why doctors are calling the shots here, and long may that remain the case. FM and SG will inevitably suffer collateral damage from the WM fup, and we have a media and other vested interests who never let up trying, but that is no good reason to upset what works.

  23. Pandemics are not the responsibility of the Scottish Gov. They are the responsibility of Westminster. They are not devolved powers. The UK Gov is still in overall control of the UK Gov budget. They cut it. It is not the Scottish Gov ultimate responsibility. They can only mitigate the Westminster cuts which they have and do.

    The Westminster Gov was not prepared. The Scottish Gov was more prepared. SNHS better funded. Westminster unionists did not take the evolving situation seriously enough. They were privy to the facts but ignored them. The Tories were warned in 2016 of a coming epidemic.

    Shut down should have happened a month before, The Tories were totally misusing power by not taking the information seriously. They ignored the experts. There would have still been deaths but not such a high total. Twice as much (pro rata) in the rest of the UK.

    There is no way the Scottish Gov can be blamed. In fact they mitigated the efforts before it happened. Increasing the SNHS budget. That is why there are less deaths in Scotland (pro rata) because Scotland was already better equipped. SNP policies of increased social care funding means elderly people in Scotland have better care. More can remain in their own homes etc. Self isolating at home will help the most vulnerable groups and the elderly. Out of contract. Prevention is better than cure,

    The elderly deaths of those in care homes are as a percentage of the population in care homes. The deaths in Scotland are lower because of Scottish Gov policies. They should be applauded not condemned.

    PPE has to go to hospitals first in any case. They need it the most. Hospitals use millions of the equipment every day. They are dealing with medical emergencies. Care homes are caring for people. The sick go to hospital. The deaths (%) would always be higher of the elderly. Norm. The human body becomes frail as people get older. The average life expectancy 79. Women live 5 years longer than men on average (worldwide).

    If people live to eighty they have lived to the average. Any more years are a bonus. Depending if people have accumulated health problems. No matter how much PPE. It would not stop elderly dying as a higher % of the population. (Pro rata). That is the nature of the disease. It spreads indiscriminately. Unfortunately.

    The life expectancy rate is going down in the rest of the UK because of Tory policies. Austerity. 120,000 more elderly people have died earlier. The first time in a century? It usually rises with every generation. On average better off people are healthier and live longer. Poverty is a killer. The elderly are being especially look after at the present time. Appreciated. The outpouring of messages. To loved ones and others.

    The highest live expectancy, on average, is Japan 85 years. Finland 82 years. Finland is considered to be one of the best places to live. Happy people. Less well off countries can have higher life expectancy. Spain 80 years. Healthy life style contributes. Diet, exercise and climate. Genetics and DNA. The nourishment the parent had on conception is also a factor.

    Smoking ban and MUP. Education and budget. To afford a healthy option and alternative. Well being, exercise and mental health facilities are beneficial. The SNP Gov have increased people’s welfare. More equal within the restrictive powers.

    Elderly people, especially women, (more of them} are the most resistant to SNP/Independence. They need to vote for it to improve their lives, Stop voting Tory. The Tories will be voted out soon. No wonder. The total incompetence, ignorance and arrogance.

    Unelected reps in Downing Street. Johnston conveniently hiding. Another excuse and diversion. Typical.

    • The lad who delivers the weather forecast on the BBC English Breakfast Show opener by reminding the viewers that it was ‘St George’s Day in the UK’.
      I believe that he used to be a Scot, before attending the Reorientation Unit in Brize Norton and undergoing a Room 101 frontal lobotomy.
      We close the border now.
      England will come out of lockdown 7th May, and there will be floods of virus carriers heading to Jockland,to..escape the virus.
      Set up Police Road Blocks now.
      I am serious, as I have been for 4 weeks now. Close the border.
      OT Richard Leonard is clearly clueless, and inept.

  24. Ending a lock down for the sake of an economy… Just heard the most eye watering discussion on the news. There’s been a bit of this discussion going back and forth for several weeks tbf, but it is getting to the point where someone is going to initiate that ‘one moment’.

    Just to be clear. Without adequate testing, treatment, a working vaccine in place? The ending of a lock down will in all likelihood result in a rise in cases and fatalities. And yeah, that’s exactly what it says on the tin. That’s a helluva decision to make for anyone. That they’re actually talking about this right now?

    • Well “they” have to talk about it now. At some point the physical damage, death, illness, mental illness and suicides,from the economic meltdown will exceed that of the virus – and that may not be far off.

  25. The chat is open the schools in June.
    Wonder if they’ve ever tried to keep primary schools kids apart.
    This is , start with the solution you want,release the lockdown, make the conversation match.
    We don’t even know who are the carriers without symptoms without good testing. Then the search for contacts to contain the spread as it will do.
    They’re still on the ‘Herd Immunity’ plan.
    When the expert says that the people arriving in the country by aircraft are so few compared to the population so we don’t even test, you should worry.
    They want to hold the deaths at 4 or 5 hundred a day or less,back to work.
    The Aston Martin car company are going back to work,hopefully to make ventilators rather than cars.

    • I’d heard that about the schools and couldn’t quite believe they were serious. As for a magic number for ending a lock down? They put a number on what’s acceptable? FFS!

      • I’m afraid you have to – what are you saying – the economic lunacy has to stay in place even for one death a day?

        It’s done all the time – road fatalities for instance.

        • No, that’s not what I’m saying JG. My chief concern is considering lifting a lock down with no effective testing, treatments or vaccine in place. I am however appalled that people are talking about what’s acceptable in terms of human collateral damage.

          That would and should leave anyone saddened.

          It’ll be a tough call.

          • A tough call as you say.

            Yes it’s not by any means pleasant to make these calculations but they have to be made as in the example I gave of road deaths and injuries.

      • Engilandland schools,
        Why would the Scottish schools reopen for 2 weeks before the holidays start.
        Yes they can forgo the holidays, they’ve just had them.
        Remember the english schools don’t stop for summer until the end of July,normally.
        I’m pretty certain, the way they’re talking, a death toll of an extra few hundred a day wouldn’t bother them, as long as it isn’t them.
        Do you think we pensioners are going to get the jag first?,when it’s available.
        Look at the Italian and Spanish figures, they seem to think a rate of about a third is acceptable.

        • “Why would the Scottish schools reopen for 2 weeks before the holidays start.
          Yes they can forgo the holidays, they’ve just had them.”

          Children in Scotland may have had a break, but staff have not with teaching still going on in the hubs for nhs and other key workers children.

          • I can’t speak for other schools but my daughter in law works in a primary school and they are sharing the workload between them. That means she works mornings only 1 week in 2.

        • Hardly a holiday. Stuck inside for most of the day, not getting to see their friends. And haven’t they been doing school work online? I would hope in Scotland at least going back to school in August would be a much safer option.

  26. The older people might still have to self isolate for a while. Over 50? Until it is safer. Or a vaccine? Or other intervention treatment.

  27. WM are getting away with murder. Lies and obfuscation. The media are acting as propaganda outlets, as in WW2. I’ve lost all faith in them.

  28. If Nicola Sturgeon chooses to deviate from Westminster in ending the lockdown then I would think it would be not lifting it earlier than Westminster but staying in lockdown for longer.

    I don’t think she will deviate though unless she believes it absolutely essential that she does. She’s laying out her plans now so will have to stick to them I guess.

      • Agreed Petra, Nicola Sturgeon is giving them fair warning right now that she intends to act alone even to the extent of closing borders. There is going to be a massive row between Holyrood and Westminster. This decision will set off alarm bells all over Whitehall and in No 10.

        I would expect repercussions and I’m certain Nicola Sturgeon expects them as well, watch this space.

  29. No football matches or any big gatherings for some time. Maybe no pubs or restaurants reopening anytime soon either.

    Surveillance of those coming into “this country from elsewhere”. This is some speech.

  30. FGS, I’ve heard it all now. Where’s Janey Godley, with her wee Trump placard, when we need her?

    ‘BILLIONAIRE Donald Trump has asked the UK Government to bail out his golf courses in Scotland as they struggle to cope with the economic chaos of the coronavirus crisis.’


    ‘Covid-19: BBC sorry for incorrect Scots care home death figure.’

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