BORIS Johnson has blamed the high rate of deaths in care homes on “too many” care providers failing to follow health guidelines.
More than 20,000 of the 44,236 people who have died of coronavirus in the UK were living in care homes.
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Speaking on a visit to Goole in Yorkshire today the PM insisted the Government was “learning lessons the whole time”.
But pointing the finger of blame at individual care homes, he said: “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have.”
The comments sparked anger from care providers who branded Boris’s remarks “neither accurate nor welcome”.
They also pointed to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff in many homes, which failed to combat the spread of the virus.
The National Care Forum (NCF) hit back by telling the PM to start “turning the dial up on reform and down on blame”.
Meanwhile Downing Street said it was unlikely to meet demands by NHS England boss to have a new social care system up and running by this time next year.
Sir Simon Stevens said he wanted a “properly funded” plan in place to finally fix the UK’s social care crisis within 12 months.
But the PM’s spokesman said it would “take time to develop a fair and sustainable solution” to Britain’s creaking social care system, insisting it was “one of the most complex issues” facing the nation.
Asked about Sir Simon’s comments, Boris said: “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.
“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.”
Care homes have had to contend with difficult rules while trying to look after vulnerable people – including confining patients to their room if they show signs of the virus.
It took the Government weeks to roll out wide-scale testing in care homes and for care staff – who could pass it on to residents.
According to the ONS, one in five people in care homes in England became infected with coronavirus – and more than half of all homes had outbreaks.
Care home residents over 65 and those with dementia are now able to receive a coronavirus test every 28 days and staff are able to access them every week, the Department of Health announced last week.