Saltgreens: NHS Borders moved virus patients to care home

NHS Borders transferred two hospital patients to a care home despite both of them testing positive for coronavirus beforehand.

The information has emerged following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request sent by the Border Telegraph to the local health board.

The two patients were moved to Saltgreens Care Home, Eyemouth, at some point after April 26.

Scottish Government guidance, communicated to health boards on April 26, states that hospital patients should have tested negative for COVID-19 at least twice before a move to a care home is authorised.

Asked to comment on the Saltgreens transfers, an NHS Borders spokesperson said: “Both of these patients were admitted from a care home with COVID and were transferred back to their care home with care home agreement as the most suitable place for their care.”

Meanwhile, the Border Telegraph has also learned that five untested hospital patients were transferred to Saltgreens – run by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) – before April 26.

A spokesperson for NHS Borders and SBC said: “Testing prior to transfer from hospital to care homes was implemented by the Scottish Government on April 26, 2020.

“All transfers since that date have been tested.”

Saltgreens is known to have suffered eight virus-related deaths.

Across the Borders up to June 28, a total of 12 deaths linked to COVID-19 had been recorded at care homes.

Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman told the Scottish Parliament on April 21 that she was updating testing guidance.

During her address, she said: “COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital to a care home should have given two negative tests before discharge.

“I now expect other new admissions to care homes to be tested and isolated for 14 days in addition to the clear social distancing measures the guidance sets out.

“Testing is not an alternative to following the guidelines on social distancing, but it can and does provide assurance to family of those already in care homes, those being admitted to homes, as well as staff.”

Since the updated guidance was formally communicated to health boards on April 26, NHS Borders has overseen the transfer of 60 hospital patients to care homes.

A total of 58 tested negative at least twice prior to their move. Of those patients, six had tested positive on their admission to hospital.

Between February 28 and June 4, Saltgreens received a total of nine people who had been discharged from hospital.

Border Telegraph | News