9 April 2020

Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to consider extending coronavirus tests to the relatives of people receiving end-of-life care, so they can visit their loved ones.

The commitment was secured by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard at a virtual leaders’ questions session today. Mr Leonard said family members were in a state of significant distress as a result of being unable to spend time with terminally ill relatives.

“We talk a lot about statistics, but it is about human beings,” Mr Leonard told the First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon said she would “look at that very carefully”.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Leonard said: “I welcome the First Minister’s commitment to examine the case for testing relatives of those receiving end-of-life care.

“It is absolutely right that hospitals and hospices are taking all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

"But we must also remember that as far as we humanly can we should avoid people dying alone, and avoid putting families in distress because they fear they will be unable to see their loved ones before they die.

That is why compassionate testing should be urgently explored.”

Mr Leonard also pressed the First Minister to give a "categorical assurance" that community care workers will receive the correct and adequate personal protective equipment following conflicting advice issued by the Chief Nursing Officer.
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