Care homes 'safest possible environment' for patients

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Care homes 'safest possible environment' for patients

The Scottish government tried to create the "safest environment possible" in care homes early in the Covid pandemic, the deputy first minister has said.

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Bereaved families are considering legal action after a ruling in England that discharging untested hospital patients to care homes was unlawful.

A Scottish public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic is ongoing.

Mr Swinney said this inquiry did "not need" to last years, and said it would provide full and proper answers.

The deputy first minister told BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show that the Scottish government's approach was "similar, but not identical" to UK government policy.

He said ministers made decisions based on "emerging scientific discussions" in the early days of the pandemic.

"At the time, what was trying to be achieved was to try to create the safest environment possible for everyone concerned," he said.

"We knew from international experience that our hospitals were going to come under enormous pressure.

"The judgement was how can we create - in that context of enormous risk of infection in our hospitals - the safest environment for individuals who had no reason to still be in, because they were clinically safe to be supported in a care home or in their own home."