PM blames care homes for high social care death toll

Mr Johnson claimed that “care homes didn’t really follow the procedures”.

Matt Bodell
7 July 2020
Home caregiver dressing senior

The PM’s comments have sparked anger across the industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appeared to blamed care home owners for the catastrophic impact Coronavirus had on nursing and residential homes.

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More than 20,000 people have died from COVID-19 in care homes across the UK since the start of the pandemic in March.

During a visit to Yorkshire on Monday, the PM was asked about a call by NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens for urgent plans to adequately fund the adult social care sector within a year.

Mr. Johnson replied; “One of the things the crisis has shown is we need to think about how we organise our social care package better and how we make sure we look after people better who are in social care.

“We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have but we’re learning lessons the whole time.

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“Most important is to fund them properly but we will also be looking at ways to make sure the care sector long term is properly organised and supported.”

Throughout the pandemic, care home bosses and workers have consistently reported a lack of support from local government alongside restricted access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

Sparked anger.

Over 300 health and social care workers are now believed to have died of COVID-19 – with a lack of PPE and occupational exposure thought to be a contributing factor.

The PM’s comments have sparked anger across the industry and there are now calls for the PM to apologise.

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Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum – representing 120 of the UK’s social care charities, welcomed the PM’s recognition of the need for proper funding but she the PMs comments about care homes were “either accurate nor welcome”.

She said: ‘Government guidance has come to the sector in stops and starts — with organisations grappling with over 100 pieces of additional guidance in the same number of days. Care providers have moved to adopt these new procedures consistently, at pace and with integrity.’

She added Mr Johnson must start ‘turning the dial up on reform and down on blame”.

The Independent Care Group said the majority of providers had “done their absolute best in the face of slow and conflicting advice”.

Chairman Mike Padgham said: “We should not be getting into the blame game and it is wrong to criticise care and nursing homes. It is worth remembering that, in February, Public Health England told homes it was “very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected”.”

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