We are now more than two months into lockdown and yet the urgent action that many people were calling for in March, in terms of support for our care homes and for the social care sector, still hasn’t happened.

As a result, West Dunbartonshire has experienced devastating death rates within our care homes and we have seen the sad loss of much loved local care staff, like Catherine Sweeney.

The first issue was over access to PPE for staff.

It took weeks for care homes and the Scottish Government to ensure that social care staff were adequately protected.

After much toing and froing over lack of supply and poor quality PPE, and even PPE locked in cupboards, staff were finally protected but this should have happened from the start.

Next, we saw older people admitted to care homes from hospitals without having been tested for Covid-19.

The fact that this was allowed to happen is utterly scandalous and many lives were put at risk – and were lost – as a result.

But still now, after everything the social care sector has been put through, these hardworking staff have to travel for miles outwith West Dunbartonshire to access a testing hub.

Every Thursday we rightly clap to show our thanks for key workers. Yet, when these staff need to access testing in order to keep themselves and residents safe, they have to travel for miles to get it.

West Dunbartonshire does not have a single testing hub for social care workers, health care workers or symptomatic local residents. Not one.

I have been told of one local Dumbarton resident being asked to travel to Dunoon for a test.

The death rate locally is the second highest in Scotland.

Brave care home staff are doing their level best but we know that, within West Dunbartonshire care homes, there are vulnerable residents who have been under complete isolation for months now.

Their only human contact is with care home staff but they are still being infected with Covid-19.

The only explanation for this is that staff are still working whilst carrying the virus.

I know that risking the health and lives of residents is the last thing that care home staff want to do.

They need to be tested constantly and they deserve access to local facilities.

We owe that to our hardworking care staff and to the residents who they seek to protect.