Letters: Home Farm reporting, U-boats in Lochalsh and service at the Portree Co-op

Care home deaths – Government needs to look at itself

Reading your Editorial from last week, some-one would be hard pushed to know that a Scottish government actually existed or that they had responsibility for this sector.

They have had responsibility for overseeing such homes for over 20 years now, but because they have struggled to come to terms with their responsibility, 90 percent of such homes are run privately, extracting huge amounts of money from their patients and their families.

This is the Scottish health care system in 2020, much the same as anywhere else if the truth be told.

Those staying at Home Farm should have been safe in what would have been a very controlled environment.

The weak point was that staff have had to come and go every day, and there was no attempt to clarify their health status through testing or to control their wider contacts.

Care homes are not the “incubators” of the disease, as your Editorial suggests. Corona is incubated in the wider community.

There are certain places where you do not want the virus to end up, because the death rates are bound to be very high if it gets in there, and care homes are the most dangerous place of all.

The failing in this case lies in the lack of oversight within Scotland, and if we are to learn anything from this, it is important that responsibility is fully and accurately apportioned.

The Scottish Government have tried to say that care home owners themselves have been negligent.

If this is the case, then anyone catching the virus since the outset must also be in some way negligent, or if they contracted it in a public institution, then it must have been negligent.

Such is the downward spiral that arises when government chooses not to look at itself but wants to find some-one else to blame.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy

Home Farm was a particular risk

I would like to remind all reporters that Home Farm was a particular home at risk due to its persistent failure in even basic Infection Control Procedures.

This has been evident since November 2019. Their last inspection gave them a grade of 2 (weak)

Where were the NHS and Social Services staff in making sure this home improved to an acceptable level before the outbreak?

Val Colgan

Accountability on Skye nursing home resides in Scotland

Thank you for taking the time to publish an article in relation to the horrific impact the virus has had with a nursing home in Skye.

I’m a little confused by some of your assertions, that suggest the UK Government are responsible.

The National Health Service is 100 per cent devolved in Scotland and the private health care of nursing homes come under the regulation of the Scottish Government.

Surely your points would be better addressed to the Scottish Government who are responsible and accountable for the support of care homes during this pandemic?

Kindly note that the SNP administration have admitted that patients were sent to care homes without the results of the Cov-19 tests being known.

Ms Freeman was interviewed early by the BBC and admitted this point. It is also worth noting that the SNP have stated care homes will pay for the non-standard PPE issued by the Scottish Government.

Not something I believe is entirely reasonable, given this being a global pandemic and the regulations enforced by the Government.

Rest assured, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific virus. I hope accountability is aligned to where it resides here in Scotland.

Mr D Munro

Biased reporting on Home Farm

Your article re Home Farm Nursing Home is not only inaccurate it is totally biased.

I have a simple question for you….if the SNP and that woman Sturgeon are not responsible for anything why then do we need them?

So no doubt you will give them credit without hesitation but when truth and correct fact is required you cannot bring yourself to name and shame and there is indeed plenty to shame them for , including this.

Perhaps your reporting needs closer scrutiny in future.

Pauline Eggermont

[We did not criticise the UK Government for its involvement in the Scottish health or care services, both of which are of course devolved to the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.

We criticised the UK Government for apparently ignoring a 2017 report which predicted that care homes would be particularly vulnerable in the event of a pandemic, for the callous attitude of a prime ministerial special adviser at 10 Downing Street towards the fate of elderly people in the event of such an outbreak, and for the Conservative Party’s ideological fondness for privatisation of sections of the NHS.

As regular Free Press readers will be aware, we do not hesitate to “shame” the Scottish Government, or any other government, when their behaviour warrants criticism. – Ed.]

Co-op should do home delivery

I am disabled and use a rollator to get around. On Thursday last week I hurt my back and couldn’t walk even with the rollator.

I needed to buy some food but discovered the co-op doesn’t do home delivery. They used to, but not anymore.

I tried Skye community response and they put me on to the warehouse which is mainly vegetables.

I found there was nowhere to turn to and was getting exasperated. Along with the pain it wasn’t doing me any good.

My doctor suggested I increase the morphine that I’m already on to see if that helps.

I’m angry that there is no help for people like me.

The co-op could easily do home delivery. I don’t know why they don’t.

The co-op could allow disabled people to go straight in and not stand in a queue and I mean disabled people – not the ones who can walk perfectly with a walking stick and have somehow managed to get a blue badge .

There should be something in place to help people like me without having to go through reams of red tape.

Meanwhile I’m just about out of bread and milk and if it wasn’t for the kind actions of a neighbour I would be stuffed.

Why isn’t there something in place for these who find themselves in a situation like mine. And if there is then why is it being kept a secret?

Robin Mabbott

German sailors in Loch Alsh

Reading your article last week reminded me that about 10 years ago, as part of the Their Past Your Future project, the Museum of the Isles at Clan Donald and the Archive Service in Portree collaborated on an oral history project relating to the second world war in Skye.

One of the outcomes was a book The Crofters and the War, using excerpts from the many hours of recordings that were made, mainly by Mary Carmichael who was the project officer.

The book included a chapter on the surrender. There were quotes from Annie MacLean of Raasay, and from Ruth Coghill, Vi Beaton, and Mary Black, who all remembered seeing the surrender, as well as a photo of German sailors at Kyle station which is in the Archive service collections.

I seem to remember that Mary Carmichael located a film of part of the surrender, as I remember watching it, but I am afraid I can’t remember where it originated – maybe the Imperial War museum, maybe the Scottish Film Archive.

There were probably many other references to submarine activity and the end of the war elsewhere in the book, and also in the actual recordings.

I can’t remember whether both the Museum and the Archive service kept copies of the recordings, or whether it was just one of them.

Every contributor got a copy of the book, as did local schools, and it was also for sale so you may have come across a copy. The museum at Armadale still have a few copies I think.

Finally, thank you for keeping us informed online during this lockdown.

Maggie Macdonald