MP calls for answers over Eyemouth care home deaths

  • Video report by Tim Backshall

An MP in the region says questions have to be asked about seven deaths linked to coronavirus at a care home in Eyemouth.

All of those who died had tested positive for the virus, although some had other severe health issues.

The home is owned by Scottish Borders Council, which says all the official guidance was followed and the staff had the necessary protective equipment.

Seven residents at Saltgreens Care Home died after testing positive for coronavirus. Credit: ITV News

The local Conservative MP, John Lamont, supports the work that's been done but says questions still need to be asked about what happened.

"Across the Borders the number of homes that have had coronavirus has been relatively low compared to other parts of Scotland.

"That's a positive but that doesn't take away from the very difficult and challenging scenario we are having to deal with at Saltgreens in Eyemouth.

"Questions have got to be asked and try to understand how this has happened and try to ensure it doesn't happen again."

Eyemouth is a small fishing town and the loss of seven of its elderly residents has come as a huge shock.

One resident told us: "You know whose granny or mum or sister or brother or father was lost because we are such a small community. You do feel it, you feel it for the other people."

Eyemouth community councillor James Anderson. Credit: ITV News

Community Councillor James Anderson agrees. "It's now our aunties, uncles, the people you love that are dying and it really brings it home, it's just heartfelt sympathies to the families involved."

One of the workers at Saltgreens spoke to us to say that staff had all the personal protective equipment necessary to try to stop the virus from spreading.

"Every resident we know personally and they're almost like family to us so when we lose one it's very upsetting," says Prue Gordon, a support worker.

"We've had all the PPE we needed. We always had plenty and if we thought we were running short we told one of the line managers and they got it for us straight away."

Chief Executive Tracey Logan, Scottish Borders Council. Credit: ITV Border

Scottish Borders Council, which runs the home, disclosed in April that a small number of residents and staff had tested positive for Covid-19. But it was only on Monday that it revealed that seven people had died, where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificates.

Chief Executive Tracey Logan says: "We regret every single person who has suffered the virus and certainly those who have passed away.

"It's always tragic to lose people in those circumstances, but I think generally overall we have one of the very lowest rates of instances of Covid-19 and deaths in our care homes in the Borders and I think it's important to remember that."

Saltgreens Care Home Credit: ITV Border

A further sixteen people living in the home have also contracted the virus, but most have now recovered.

The council says all the residents and staff have been tested.

It's still not known how the virus came to be in the care home and whether any lessons can be learned. But what is clear is just how much it's affected this community