Professor Jason Leitch apologised for his comments on care homes

Jason Leitch apologises for saying older people are 'corralled' into care homes in Scotland

A senior figure in Scotland's care industry described Leitch's comments as 'outrageous'.


The Scottish Government's top medical advisor has apologised after saying older people tended to be "corralled" in care homes.

Professor Jason Leitch was speaking on a live radio interview today about the rising number of positive tests for coronavirus north of the border and the potential impact on the social care sector.

Appearing on BBC Good Morning Scotland, the national clinical director was asked if he was concerned by the situation in Scotland's care homes.

"Concerned in the sense I want to protect them as much as I can from this virus," he said.

"We've learned both in Scotland and around the world, the vulnerable, who we tend to put in institutions such as care homes - remember, most older people live in their own homes - but we do corral older people in care homes.

"Donald Macaskill (CEO of Scottish Care) and many others have helped us with what protection looks like for those places.

"I don't like it. I would rather have visiting, I'd have hairdresseers visiting, and the all the usual things. We've had to effectively close them. It's horrible."

But those comments prompted an angry reaction from Annie Gunner Logan, the chief executive of CCPS, the Coalition of Care & Support Providers in Scotland.

In a now deleted tweet, Logan said: "So apropos of care homes, Jason Leitch just said on BBC Scotland that we 'corral' older people into 'institutions'.

"I'm sorry, but that's an outrageous thing to say. No wonder social care isn't treated as a priority, when such a senior leader is so ill-informed."

Leitch responded: "Apologies Annie. That wasn’t a well chosen word in a live interview but I did go on to say care homes were individual's homes.

"I'm sure if you listened to me throughout the hundreds of interviews I've done you realise I'm trying to protect those living and working in care homes."

The chief executive of Scottish Care - which represents independent care homes - had earlier warned the number of residents catching the virus is likely to grow in the coming weeks.

Dr Donald Macaskill told the BBC: "Unfortunately we have a likelihood that if we continue to see the transmission of the virus at the current rate, we will see an increase in case in care homes.

"We are in a very different position from where we were in March, but undeniably there is a close relationship between the number of cases in the community and the number of cases in care homes.

"England is further ahead, but we will get there unless we change our behaviour."

The most recent figures published last week found there were 78 care homes in Scotland where there has been an outbreak - but the majority of those involve staff who have tested positive and are now self-isolating at home.