The anxiety and heartbreak caused by coronavirus and the devastating effects of a new disease on a largely unprepared country have, at times, been overwhelming. The physical, mental and economic wellbeing of much of the country have been severely tested; with older people, poorer communities and the BAME population seeming to have suffered the most.
The main message of the Government's advice at the outset of the crisis was "Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives". The most prominent measures for protection have been predominantly in recommending more frequent and thorough hand washing, and physical distancing measures.
However, as COVID-19 has taken hold it has been obvious that certain issues have caused major problems, for instance:
- Lack of PPE for healthcare workers in hospitals
- Mishandling of advice and assistance for care homes and elderly patients in general
- Confusion over the balance of maintaining social distancing and providing essential care for vulnerable people
- Numerous issues relating to testing: who should be tested, availability of testing, accuracy of testing
Sadly, many people who should have been prevented from contracting the virus have potentially become seriously ill and in some cases died. This is a terrible injustice.
If you have been affected by the crisis, either by contracting the illness yourself or as the relative of someone who contracted COVID-19, we are here to help. Talk to Thompsons today for information about your rights.
Here we take a look at the main points of advice offered by the Scottish Government.
Coronavirus advice in Scotland
The Government advised visitors to their website to visit NHS Inform, Scotland's national health information service, for up-to-date guidance on all major health-related issues, including physical distancing measures and advice for infected households.
Topics covered include:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): General advice
- Check your symptoms
- Ask NHS Inform a question
- Physical distancing
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- Caring for a cough or fever
- Your mental wellbeing
- Healthy living
- Care planning
- Parents and families
- Workers, travellers and community support
The website also provides advice in other languages and formats.
The Mygov.scot website also provides information and support for people affected by coronavirus and COVID-19.
Health Professionals and organisations were advised to visit the Health Protection Scotland website, where they could find information on infection prevention and control in healthcare settings.
Financial help for the bereaved
The UK government have outlined the help and support available when someone dies of coronavirus (COVID-19), including the criteria of eligibility for bereavement benefits.
However, as Thompsons solicitor Bruce Shields has highlighted, "in Scotland no employer, company or public body is likely to be prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal for breach of Health & Safety Legislation in any case of injury or death arising from COVID-19".
Bruce believes that "no death from COVID-19 is ever going to be subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry. The history of Public Inquiry in the UK suggests that no-one will ever be held accountable for the avoidable deaths and injury from COVID-19".
Sadly, this injustice may leave only one recourse for family members whose loved one has died – a civil claim for compensation.
In the following video Claire Campbell explains where members of the public and healthcare workers who have been affected by coronavirus can find information. She also explains briefly the situation if you have been bereaved as a result of COVID-19.
Talk to Thompsons
If you have been affected by the coronavirus crisis, you can talk to us today. We are here to provide all the information and support you need and to help you understand your legal rights and possible routes to justice.
Our "Can I Make a Claim?" page has lots of information about making a civil claim with Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland.
Call 0800 0891 331 or fill in our online claim form so we can call you back to discuss your circumstances.