Boris Johnson has come under fire after saying care homes ‘"didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have" to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Almost 20,000 care home residents have died from the virus, with a total of 44,236 deaths across the UK.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Goole in Yorkshire on Monday, the PM said:
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 leaders, MPs and commentators have slammed the remarks, with many citing a lack of PPE, proper testing procedures, underfunding and a delayed response from the government to the care home crisis.
All of these factors resulted in the UK having the highest care home death toll in Europe, according to sector professionals.
Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, told the The Guardian that the comments felt like a “slap in the face”:
Despite the fact PPE was diverted, despite the fact we didn’t have testing in our services, despite the fact they’ve not put any money into our sector, it has worked its socks off, and it’s a huge disappointment to hear the leader of our country say what he’d said.
While Mark Adams, chief executive of Community Integrated Care, said he was “unbelievably disappointed” at the “cowardly” remarks:
To be honest with you, if this is genuinely his view I think we’re almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the government sets the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results, they then deny setting them. It is hugely frustrating.
Labour MP Angela Rayner suggested the PM should be “turning the dial up on reform and down on blame”:
While Labour MP Ian Lavery called Johnson an “out of touch posh boy” trying to “shift the blame” to care homes:
Piers Morgan slammed the comments as “disgusting”:
People on social media also had a lot of thoughts:
Many called on the PM to apologise for his comments, prompting a No 10 spokesperson to insist Johnson wasn’t blaming care home:
The PM was pointing out that nobody knew what the correct procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time.
What do you have to say for yourself, Boris Johnson?