Matt Hancock's care home policy is "not good enough," says shadow social care minister

7 September 2020, 15:19

By Fiona Jones

Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall branded Matt Hancock's policy on care homes, which he outlined on LBC's Call the Cabinet, as simply "not good enough."

Speaking on LBC's new phone-in Call The Cabinet, caller Joan confronted the Health Secretary over unclear advice on the visiting of care homes - while advice on going to pubs and restaurants has been plentiful.

Matt Hancock told her the Government's position is that restrictions are now down to individual care homes and regional public health directors to decide.

Shadow social care minister MP Liz Kendall told Shelagh Fogarty she did not think Mr Hancock's response was "good enough."

"For some care homes who cannot physically...put up all the screens and other things that might be necessary, for families to visit what they need is a test, track and trace system that works.

"I think that families should be treated almost like key workers here. They should be having routine testing so they can go and see their loved ones," Ms Kendall said.

She said, "People are fading fast - some of them - in care homes. Especially if you've got dementia or Alzheimer's, families are absolutely essential because they are your memory.

"Unless families can come and talk and speak about the things that their elderly relatives love and care about and remember, they can feel that they're disappearing.

"It's not just about visiting the people we love most in the world, although that is essential, it is families are essential to providing good quality care."

Ms Kendall said the Government treated the care sector as a "complete afterthought" and said the same is still happening now.

If the Government actually wanted to not only keep elderly people alive but give them something to live for, they would be "absolutely laser-focused on getting regular weekly tests to care workers and family members and we're a million miles away from that," Ms Kendall said.

She told Shelagh she wants to see public body the Care Quality Commission give regular inspections and have their inspectors regularly tested.

"Ultimately families visiting as well, they're our eyes and our ears. We can't have an inspector in every single day can you?" Ms Kendall said, "That's another reason why getting families back up and running is so important."