SCOTLAND’S handling of the first wave of Covid-19 was shambolic, especially for those requiring full-time care. With an increasingly ageing population, elderly relatives requiring residential care is an issue directly impacting most Scots.

Many people entering residential care are forced into private care homes, which can be very costly. Private care homes took an average of £56,000 per resident last year.

Nobody could have expected the pandemic that has gripped the world this year, but between March and July more than 2,000 people died whilst being part of the care system in Scotland. That is 2,000 vulnerable people, who the lockdown measures were put in place to specifically protect, dying as a resident in a full-time care facility. 70% of all private care homes had cases of coronavirus, whereas in the third and public sector only 40% of care homes and facilities had cases.

READ MORE: Covid in Scotland: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary ward shut due to outbreak

Despite the massive fees imposed on the residents and families of residents in private care homes, the news was flooded with reports of private care homes quickly running out of PPE and staff to run the facilities. The staff who remained were overworked and underpaid, with the typical care assistant earning less than £10 an hour.

All the while, the largest four companies in the healthcare service (HC-One, Four Seasons, Care UK and Barchester) managed to pay out huge sums to their shareholders whilst the people they were paid to protect died in their thousands.

On September 1, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that there will be a review into the adult care service, expected to present results in January of next year. It is a grave concern of the Scottish Socialist Party that this parliamentary review will be as hollow as others in the past, and that with the pressures of the private care lobby there will be no mention of a national care service on the SNP or Scottish Labour manifesto in the upcoming elections.

Scotland’s record of handling the coronavirus has been one of the poorest in Europe. The SSP is calling for no more clapping for carers and instead demanding direct action from our politicians.

The National Health Service and the wider welfare state rose from the ashes of a country crippled by the Second World War. Scotland’s legacy of our disastrous handling of Covid-19 should be a publicly owned National Care Service, free at the point of need for all people in Scotland, paid for in full through taxes.

Our elderly and vulnerable clearly deserve a higher standard of care than the profit-driven private sector can provide, and those who work to care for them within the system require better pay and greatly improved working conditions. Immediate reform is necessary.

Michael Bell
SSP, Lothians

PLEASE may I object to the UK Government page, “I make space to protect you”, in yesterday’s National?

How irresponsible of the “UK Government Scotland” – note not our own Scottish NHS and FACTS – to produce such a “do as I say, not as I do” page.

Who is making space and who is protecting whom? The delivery lady has no mask or gloves, and there is no hint as to how she is to safely pass the parcel onto the recipient, who appears to hover uncertainly at the door.

Shame on them! Yet again breaking their own rules and confusing the public!

Valerie Waters
East Lothian

I HAVE a very simple, but what I consider an important question. Why is the UK Government promoting the ENGLISH “Hands, Face, Space” public health campaign in their sponsored advertising across Scotland?

Public health is exclusively devolved within NHS Scotland, who of course are running the Scotland-specific FACTS campaign.

I think that this question should be asked of Jeane Freeman and/or the First Minister.

Graham Bell
North Kessock

KEIR Starmer on Radio Scotland last night stated that Covid is the most important issue at the moment and independence should be left aside.

This is the same man who said we should continue and get Brexit done – as far as I know it is the same pandemic affecting England, but it is only independence that should be halted.

Even with a majority in Holyrood he believes there should be no referendum – he is obviously not a fan of democracy or of “listening to the people”.

The people in Scotland are shouting louder and louder but people like Starmer are simply covering their ears. He is no better than Boris Johnson, who has lost the majority of people in Scotland and is now afraid he will lose Scotland’s resources.

Yesterday in Westminster Rees-Mogg, answering Tommy Sheppard, displayed the arrogance and entitlement that is a good part of what the people of Scotland are subjected to day and daily by Westminster and we say no more – your time is up.

Winifred McCartney