A TOTAL of 73 people have died from Covid-19 in East Renfrewshire care homes since the start of the pandemic, a new report has revealed.

The tragic death toll includes 12 fatalities at three care homes in Barrhead.
Westacres Care Home, in Newton Mearns, was worst hit, with 16 residents losing their lives.

There were also 18 deaths at two care homes in Giffnock, 13 at one home in Thornliebank and a further nine at two other Newton Mearns care centres.

A total of 10 care homes in East Renfrewshire were named in the figures, which were published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) after a ruling by the Information Commissioner.

The deaths took place between March 16, 2020, and May 23 this year and most of the victims were elderly.

The NRS also reported 809 Covid deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow, and 425 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley.

Jack Ryan, chief executive of Westacres Care Home, confirmed the 16 Covid-related deaths at the charity-run establishment took place in April last year and most of the elderly victims already had long-term respiratory conditions.

He added: “We were devastated at the time.

“Neither our staff nor residents were given access to testing and we really struggled to get PPE [personal protective equipment].

“How it got into our home, we will never know.”

A spokesman for The Care Inspectorate, which is responsible for the regulation of care homes across Scotland, added: “We have worked closely with care providers, the Scottish Government and partners to support care services to respond to and recover from the pandemic and continue to do so.”

Overall, there were 3,317 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes across Scotland in the same period.

The Erskine Home, in Bishopton, which is run by a veterans charity, recorded the most Covid deaths in Scotland, with 34 fatalities.

Opposition parties have called for a public inquiry to examine Scotland’s death toll.

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “What happened in care homes during the pandemic was nothing short of a scandal and the government must be held to account.”