Revelations about the Government’s handling of social care settings during the Covid-19 crisis come as no surprise, care providers said today.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) said it was obvious from the start that the Government had no plan on how to look after the vulnerable when coronavirus struck and the sector suffered as a result.
Their comments came after former Government advisor Dominic Cummings told a committee there was no proper plan for care homes and that it was “catastrophic”.
“Like all of these things, it was not deliberate. It was a function of the fact that the system was just completely overwhelmed,” Mr Cummings told the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham: “Nothing that Mr Cummings has said today comes as a surprise to care providers as it was very clear there was no plan for social care. The sector was ignored and suffered terribly as a result.
“It was like being thrust into a wartime scenario with no clear plan of attack or survival.
“The Government advice at first was to proceed as normal, but many care settings locked down much earlier than they were subsequently advised to.
“After years of neglect and under-funding, care settings were exposed and vulnerable to something like coronavirus and the outcome was devastating.”
Mr Cummings told the committees that they were told in No 10 that people would be tested before being sent back to care homes and they were told there was a shielding plan. Neither of those things was correct, he said.
“It certainly should never have been the case that people were discharged into vulnerable care settings without being properly tested,” Mr Padgham added.
“It was chaotic, care settings were not protected or shielded and suffered terribly as a result. It is going to take the sector a long time to recover. The only glimmer of hope that we have is that this will ultimately lead to the long-awaited reform of social care that we have been promised for a generation. That must happen now to ensure the sector is not left in such a desperate and vulnerable position again.”
● Figures from the Office for National Statistics say that 32,154 people died from Covid-19 in care homes in England and Wales between 28th December 2019 and 14th May this year.
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