Nicola Sturgeon challenged over care staff shortages in Scotland

Scottish parliament

The Scottish government’s policy of providing free personal care for the elderly has been questioned after a lack of care staff on a Scottish island allegedly left a frail 90-year-old woman unable to get the help she needs.

During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Conservative West of Scotland MSP Jamie Greene told Nicola Sturgeon that he had been contacted by the woman’s family after being told it was “not possible” for her to receive home visits due to a shortage of staff on Arran in North Ayrshire.

Speaking about the pensioner, who has poor eyesight, memory loss and mobility issues, Mr Greene said: “Her family requested social care at home and was told that this is not possible due to staff shortages on the island, despite having been assessed as requiring it several times a day.”

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Ms Sturgeon said she does not know the details of the case but told Mr Greene it “certainly raises concerns in my mind”.

She urged him to pass the woman’s details to her office and that of Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, and added: “I can give an undertaking we can look into that as quickly as possible.”

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Sarah Clarke

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