Care chiefs have rejected claims by Boris Johnson that it was their lack of vigilance that led to a high number of coronavirus deaths in care homes.
On a visit to Yorkshire the Prime Minister alleged that ‘too many homes didn’t follow the procedures in the way they could have’. About half of care homes have had virus outbreaks with 20% of residents infected and 5% of staff.
Martin Green, chief executive of Care England which represents providers: ‘At the start of the pandemic care homes were ignored and our personal protective equipment was directed towards hospitals.’
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said the Government realised too late that care homes were as much on the frontline as hospitals.
In April, at the height of the pandemic, hospitals discharged elderly patients back into the care sector to free up beds without doing virus checks.
The National Audit Office recently reported that between 9 March and 17 May, around 5,900 (38%) care homes across England reported an outbreak peaking at just over 1,000 homes in the first week of April. Between 17 March and 15 April, around 25,000 people were discharged from hospitals into care homes. It is not known how many had COVID-19 at the point of discharge.
Health chiefs do accept that they discharged patients into care homes without checks.