NHS Lanarkshire has refused to say which care homes potentially received Covid-positive patients in the early stages of lockdown.

Last month, it was revealed that 167 patients were discharged to care homes across the region in March and April as hospitals looked to make beds available for the influx in coronavirus patients.

Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon has since written to the health board to find out which care homes were affected, but the request was refused as being “manifestly unreasonable”.

She had also asked if NHS Lanarkshire could rule out care homes such as Whitehills care home in East Kilbride and Highgate care home in Uddingston, which were at the centre of high-profile Covid-19 outbreaks, but without success.

When patients were discharged from hospitals to care homes in March and April this year, NHS Lanarkshire followed Scottish Government guidance which meant 126 patients were discharged across the region without being tested for coronavirus.

Of the 41 who were tested, three came back positive.

Ms Lennon, Labour’s spokesperson for health, has questioned NHS Lanarkshire’s justification for not releasing the information and is now seeking a review of the decision.

She said: “We are now in a second wave of the pandemic, but families who lost loved ones in the early stages of the first wave still don’t have answers about the transfer of patients between Lanarkshire hospitals and care homes.

“It’s not too much to ask that NHS Lanarkshire provides a list of care homes that received hospital patients between March and May, how many had been tested in advance and how many tested positive for Covid-19. If they don’t know the answer, that’s extremely worrying.

“Transparency can save lives and we all want to ensure lessons have been learned. Whilst no one wants to create additional work for NHS staff, it’s vital that procedures and data monitoring are fit for purpose.

“The Scottish Government should provide additional resources if NHS Lanarkshire doesn’t have time to review this vital information.

“It is not ‘unreasonable’ to request this information on behalf of my constituents – it is the least that families deserve.

“It’s just not right that NHS Lanarkshire refuses to say whether hospital patients with Covid-19 were transferred to local care homes with a high number of deaths.

“In recent days there have been hospital outbreaks in Glasgow and Edinburgh. There should be no room for secrecy or complacency, and I urge the Scottish Government to work with health boards to publish the facts.”

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NHS Lanarkshire have said that in order to release the information, staff would have to “trawl through” hundreds of patients records.

Gabe Docherty, NHS Lanarkshire director of public health, said; “Every member of our public health team is working incredibly hard to deal with the constant daily challenges of Covid-19, including providing support to care homes, managing outbreaks, test and protect and contact tracing.

“The information requested is not centrally recorded, it is held within each individual patient record.

“To provide this information would mean that one of the team would have to stop doing their regular work to trawl through each one of the hundreds of patient records to obtain this information.

“The legislation has exceptions which can be applied in this situation. This was explained in the response.

“I can advise that testing of all patients prior to discharge was conducted in line with the existing Scottish Government guidance at the time of discharge.”