NICOLA Sturgeon has spoken about the Border Telegraph’s investigation into patient transfers during the coronavirus pandemic.
NHS Borders moved dozens of hospital patients into care homes without checking whether the patients had COVID-19.
The health board was not breaching Scottish Government guidance at the time.
Asked about the transfers, the First Minister said it is “important” to note that NHS Borders believes the transfers did not spread the virus.
Ms Sturgeon also criticised Borders MP John Lamont for his accusation that the transfers show “how negligent the SNP were on care homes”.
When that allegation was put to her, the SNP leader said: “Part of me wants to treat that comment with the contempt it deserves.”
Ms Sturgeon’s comments came during her televised press conference today (July 8), with ITV Border’s political editor Peter MacMahon among the journalists posing questions.
Mr MacMahon asked Ms Sturgeon to comment on this newspaper’s report – based on a Freedom of Information [FoI] request – that 68 Borders patients had been transferred to care homes without being tested before April 26.
The First Minister said: “I’ve not seen the Border Telegraph or the particular FoI so I’ll not comment too much on the detail of that.”
However, Ms Sturgeon did respond to Mr Lamont’s criticism of her government.
She said the Tory’s remarks were “an attempt to politicise something that is inappropriate”.
Going on to defend her handling of the pandemic response in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: “We had very difficult decisions to make.
“We took those decisions on the best knowledge and evidence we had at the time.
“And we’ve had in place lots of things to protect care home residents.”
She added: “The death toll in care homes – and the death toll overall – has been awful and I would be the first person to acknowledge that and there will be lessons that we all have to learn from that.
“Anybody trying to make this an issue of party-politics should really take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.”