Ruth Maguire MSP has asked for clarification on what criteria care homes must meet in order to allow additional visitors to meet with family members.

Following a statement on Care Homes by Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman in the Scottish Parliament, the MSP for Cunninghame South noted worries of family members regarding being able to see their relatives.

She said: “I understand Scottish Government caution about the resumption of care home visiting, but I also keenly feel family members ’concern about the impact of loneliness and isolation on their loved ones’ health. What criteria will individual care homes have to meet to allow them to increase the number of people who can visit a resident?”

The Health Secretary said in reply: “There are two critical criteria for a care home to be able to introduce any kind of visiting. The first is that they need to be Covid free for 28 days, and the second is that they need to be fully participating in the care home worker testing programme.

“Thereafter, care homes need to have produced a plan, which the local director of public health or his or her nominee signs off, for proper infection prevention and control. That includes ensuring that there are adequate supplies of PPE, and that the staffing rota is of a sufficient size to ensure that staff are there to assist residents and visitors.

“Those are the primary areas of concern. The director of public health is also involved—the reason why it is the director of public health is that they understand the prevalence of the virus in their local area.”

Providing further comment, Ms Maguire said: “I appreciate the clarification from the Health Secretary on what criteria needs to be met by care homes in order to allow visitors into care homes.

“While robust guidance must be in place to prevent the spread of Covid infections within care homes, many people in North Ayrshire will have gone without seeing relatives months now. They will be rightly worried about the health and wellbeing impact that a prolonged period of isolation will have on their loved ones.”

“If care homes adhere to the guidelines outlined as efforts to contain the virus continue, more people will be able to visit their loved ones in the near future.”

The exchange in Parliament can be viewed below.