Care provider's powerful response to Boris Johnson's care home comments

7 July 2020, 16:10

By Fiona Jones

This care home charity chief gave a powerful and forensic analysis of the government's coronavirus strategy in response to Boris Johnson's claims that "too many" care homes did not follow guidance.

Boris Johnson has refused to apologise for heavily criticised comments he made to suggest that the conduct of care homes was below par during the pandemic.

Care home charity chief Mark Adams has rejected Boris Johnson's claims and told LBC even going back to February it was evident that Covid-19 was dangerous for anyone in a care environment.

"We were waiting to see leadership and action from the government. Many of the providers of social care across the UK voluntarily went into lockdown in the first week in March because they could see what was coming," he said.

"It was still about 13 March when Boris Johnson was going to the Cheltenham Gold Cup and letting Spaniards come over for the Atletico Madrid Liverpool game.

"Really at that stage there was very little guidance, there were requests from hospitals to clear their wards by transferring patients without testing into care homes, and you're being told at that stage you didn't need to wear PPE or only the most basic of PPE."

Mr Adams pointed out that in February the World Health Organisation were urging every country to test as this was the only way to fight coronavirus: "We abandoned our testing programme until Neil Ferguson produced that report showing how many people potentially might die and then we suddenly re-write what the government's plans were.

"Testing didn't actually occur in nursing homes until late May and even then it was sporadic. It was really only in the last three weeks that we've seen people tested on a routine basis."

Shelagh observed that by the end of May a large amount of the deaths caused by the peak had already happened.

Mr Adams said that when fighting an invisible and sometimes asymptomatic virus, testing needed to have been done in care homes at least weekly. He called the Health Secretary's claims of a protective "ring of steel" around care homes as nonexistent.

"It's a figment of political spin and we're in a situation where the social care system that's faced into Covid-19 has a front line on minimum wage, no sickness benefits, very little support, is now being targeted by the most senior politician in the country: that the deaths might somehow be their fault."