Care home chief: 'Government left us on our own since start of pandemic'

7 September 2020, 15:34

By Seán Hickey

After Matt Hancock told LBC he has given authority to care homes to enforce coronavirus rules, this care home chief says they've been on their own since the pandemic began.

Matt Hancock joined Nick Ferrari this morning for the first Call The Cabinet where he told listeners that the Department of Health has passed over authority to individual care homes to decide whether it is safe to open to visitors amid the coronavirus crisis.

Rachel Beckett of Wellburn Care Homes told Shelagh Fogarty "that's pretty much been the case from the start, that we've been very much on our own."

The care home boss added that "it's no surprise he's just passing the buck again," insisting that the Health Secretary is looking to place blame on care homes for families that continue to be separated.

She accepted that "he did say six weeks ago we could open our doors," but she listed the empty promises the Department of Health have made to ensure a safe reopening of homes, including improved testing capacity.

"It's been very very difficult right from the start."

Ms Beckett explained how important testing is in ensuring safety for patients and visitors to care homes
Ms Beckett explained how important testing is in ensuring safety for patients and visitors to care homes. Picture: PA

A dejected Ms Beckett told Shelagh "once again we're having to make decisions without their support."

Shelagh wondered why, if elderly and at-risk people are allowed to visit relatives in the outside world, then why can't that work "safely, carefully, cautiously" in a care home environment.

Ms Beckett explained that fast and efficient testing is crucial if this is to happen in care homes. She told Shelagh that we "absolutely need those test results within 24 hours," otherwise anyone visiting a care home, or care home patients themselves are at risk of contracting coronavirus.

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