Matt Hancock’s justification of Covid care home policy has sparked industry outrage

Care home group accuses Matt Hancock’s diary and memory of events of ‘bearing no resemblance to the facts’ with one manager declaring ‘this is a man who lied’

  • Matt Hancock’s defence of Covid care home handling sparked industry outrage 
  • Former health secretary explained many of his decisions in his pandemic diaries 
  • But industry insiders have said his memory ‘bears no resemblance to the facts’ 
  • Hancock faced backlash over several Government decisions during pandemic

Matt Hancock‘s steadfast defence of his handling of care homes during the Covid pandemic has sparked outrage within the industry.

The former health secretary detailed in his pandemic diaries the Government’s early decision making in trying to keep the nation’s frail and elderly community safe.

Industry insiders have today said they’re most frustrated by Mr Hancock’s adamance that he’d introduced a ‘protective ring’ around care homes.  

Nadra Ahmed, chairwoman of the National Care Association, told The Times: ‘Matt Hancock’s memory of events bears no resemblance to the facts. In reality, the only protective ring was thrown around the NHS

‘There was no thought for social care. I think it’s a huge insult that he has written this book in the way that he has for his own gain.’

Meanwhile David Crabtree, of Crabtree Care Homes, two residential homes in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said ‘the sector is up in arms’ after reading several early entries from Mr Hancock’s not-yet-released book.

The former health secretary detailed in his pandemic diaries the Government's early decision making in trying to keep the nation's frail and elderly community safe

The former health secretary detailed in his pandemic diaries the Government’s early decision making in trying to keep the nation’s frail and elderly community safe

‘This is a man who lied when he said there was a ring of protection around care homes,’ he said.

Mr Hancock faced fierce criticism over the Government’s decision in the early stages of the outbreak to discharge potentially infectious Covid patients from hospitals into care homes without prior testing.

The policy has been blamed by many for the huge numbers of Covid deaths in care facilities during the first wave of the pandemic, when an estimated 20,000 elderly residents died.

Mr Hancock insists that only a fraction of the Covid cases in care homes – as few as 1.2 per cent – were actually caused by hospital discharges. 

He says he was shown evidence suggesting that the virus was ‘primarily’ brought into homes by infected staff.

The former health secretary has made no secret of his mistakes in his pandemic diaries, and staunch supporters say he was given ‘an impossible job to do’ and handled it as best he could.

Nadra Ahmed (pictured), chairwoman of the National Care Association, said: 'Matt Hancock's memory of events bears no resemblance to the facts

Nadra Ahmed (pictured), chairwoman of the National Care Association, said: ‘Matt Hancock’s memory of events bears no resemblance to the facts

One ally said any decision he made throughout the pandemic was rooted in scientific facts and guidance. 

And Mr Hancock attacked the ‘scandalous’ behaviour of some care home bosses who he accused of ‘unscrupulously’ using workers infected with the virus.

Mr Hancock also claims that it was the then-NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens who pushed to discharge hospital patients into care homes, saying he was ‘determined to make it happen’.

He admits that transferring them without testing first was an ‘utter nightmare’, but says that at the time officials did not have enough testing capacity to do so anyway.

In his diary entry on the April 2, 2020, Mr Hancock noted patients leaving hospital for care homes could not all be tested for Covid.

Mr Hancock attacked the 'scandalous' behaviour of some care home bosses who he accused of 'unscrupulously' using workers infected with the virus

Mr Hancock attacked the ‘scandalous’ behaviour of some care home bosses who he accused of ‘unscrupulously’ using workers infected with the virus

‘The tragic but honest truth is we don’t have enough testing capacity to check anyway,’ he wrote.

‘It’s an utter nightmare, but it’s the reality.

‘Under the circumstances, we must make sure that anyone going from a hospital into a care home is kept away from other residents. I hope this message filters through and is followed.’

Later, he wrote: ‘The awfulness of what the virus did to people in care homes around the world will stay with me for the rest of my life.’

Mr Hancock quit his role after he was caught breaching his party’s social distancing guidelines while having an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo.

Recently, he appeared on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, which caused him to lose the party whip.

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