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Boris Johnson has been accused of being “cowardly” after he said “too many” care homes failed to follow procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mark Adams, chief executive of charity Community Integrated Care, said the prime minister’s comments were “hugely frustrating”.
“I think we’re almost entering an… alternative reality where the government set the rules, we follow them and they don’t like the results and they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday morning.
He added: “I think this at best was clumsy and cowardly.
“I think what we’re getting is history re-written in front of us, when you could list pages and pages of government failure which the system has had to cope with.
“And to get a throwaway comment, almost glibly blaming the social care system and not holding your hand up for starting too late, doing the wrong things, making mistake after mistake, is just frankly unacceptable.”
Johnson said yesterday: “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.”
Almost 20,000 care home residents in England and Wales have died with coronavirus, the majority dying in their care home, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
Covid-19 accounted for 29% of the deaths of care home residents between March 2 and June 12 and a fifth of all deaths of care home residents this year.
Labour also criticised Johnson’s remarks. Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall said: “There have been 30,000 excess deaths in care homes and at least 20,000 of these caused by Covid-19.
“25,000 elderly people were discharged from hospitals to care homes without any tests whatsoever and frontline care workers were left without vital PPE.
“Staff who have gone the extra mile to care for elderly people, and experienced things the rest of us can only imagine, will be appalled to hear the Prime Minister’s comments.
“Boris Johnson should be taking responsibility for his actions and fixing the crisis in social care, not blaming care homes for this government’s mistakes.”