Politics

Care home chiefs fear Johnson making them scapegoats over 20,000 virus deaths


Care home chiefs fear they will be scapegoats for government blunders that led to the deaths of 20,000 residents in the pandemic.

Fuming care bosses have blasted Boris Johnson for trying to shift blame.

They fear a wave of compensation claims against cash-strapped homes denied life-saving personal protective equipment and funds.

Mr Johnson this week suggested “too many” care homes did not follow procedures in the pandemic.

Since routine inspections were suspended on March 16, the Care Quality Commission has made 50 urgent visits to homes.

Among those was Temple Court in Kettering, Northants, where 15 residents died within six weeks of untested patients being taken there from the town’s hospital.

Its 12-strong workforce were all signed off with coronavirus symptoms.

Matt Hancock claimed the Government put a ‘protective ring’ around care homes

The CQC shut the home. Residents were said to be malnourished, dehydrated and “at risk of harm”.

But the 17-page report did not mention the impact of coronavirus, prompting whitewash fears.

A source at the home said: “The CQC completely glossed over the reason why the care deteriorated so badly.

“Why did it become so bad? It was infected by Covid patients that took down all the staff and left us entirely reliant on agency workers.”

Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, said: “It feels the tables have been turned to reflect badly on the care providers who have worked tirelessly through this pandemic.

“People are seeing that the blame is being shifted.”

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The CQC insisted failures at the home “were not specific to the impact of any Covid outbreak”.

In May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the Government had thrown a “protective ring” round care homes “from the start”.

Legal firms are said to be investigating dozens of claims against care homes.

Reasons include inadequate safety measures for visitors, relatives having to clear up rooms without PPE and poor cleaning measures.

Others argue care bosses should have done more to stop patients being transferred from hospitals without negative tests.

Cash-strapped care firms are being pushed to the brink of financial disaster.

Ten residents died after the virus ravaged Pelham House care home in Folkestone, Kent.

The outbreak began after the NHS discharged a 96-year-old resident without testing him.

Councillor Jackie Mead, 54, said the home was “let down” by the Government and NHS England. “It’s so unfair to point the finger at the care homes,” she claimed.





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