‘Things we would have done differently’, says health director after care home outbreak

A director of public health has said there are “things we would have done differently” given the opportunity, following an outbreak of coronavirus at the Wastview Care Home in Walls.

NHS Shetland board member Susan Webb made the comments at this morning’s (Thursday 28th May) virtual meeting of the integration joint board, which considered the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on care homes within Shetland and the work which has gone in to containing the virus afterwards.

Ms Webb, based at NHS Grampian, told members that of the nine Shetland care homes, eight had been rated as having no issues, while the care home which had suffered an outbreak had been rated as amber.

The Care Inspectorate confirmed in April that there had been a number of coronavirus-related deaths at Wastview.

Ms Webb said that this outbreak was “ongoing”, but that the situation was improving with all staff and residents returning negative tests for the virus.

She praised the efforts of the care staff yesterday, adding there was “a lot of good work going on in care homes in Shetland”.

The public health director said that during the early days of the pandemic, it had been difficult to keep in line with changing guidance.

IJB chairwoman Emma Macdonald, and NHS interim community health director Josephine Robinson, praised the efforts of NHS staff and care workers who have been able to get the outbreak under control, and to ensure all the care homes have plans in place for a similar situation.

“The last few months have been really difficult for our care staff, and for our residents,” Ms Macdonald said.

“So this is very welcoming.”

But councillor Stephen Leask asked Ms Webb if the IJB should be “comfortable” with the response time to the outbreak, and asked if the plans were “reactive rather than proactive”.

He said he wanted to ask the question “before we start patting each other on the back”.

Ms Webb admitted that “there are things we would have done differently”.

But she added that the health board was “absolutely in line with guidance” now.

“Whilst I’m presenting a positive picture, it’s because I think we have a positive picture,” she said.

More in Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.


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