Health & Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has denied a claim by the PM’s former chief adviser that he had promised all hospital discharges to care homes would be tested at the onset of the pandemic.
The charges by Dominic Cummings were made among a series of explosive claims made by the former chief adviser during evidence to MPs this week.
Mr Cummings said he had been told “categorically” in March that people would be tested before they went back into care homes.
Responding to Mr Cummings’ comments during a Downing Street briefing, Mr Hancock said: “My recollection of events is that I committed to delivering that testing for people going from hospital into care homes when we could do it.
“I then went away and built the testing capacity for all sorts of reasons and all sorts of uses, including this one, and then delivered on the commitment that I made.”
When asked if sending people back to care homes was his biggest regret, Mr Hancock added: “I have answered this question many, many times, because we didn’t have the testing capacity at the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t possible.
“What I am very proud of is we built that testing capacity, but it took time.”
It has been estimated that at least 16,000 elderly patients discharged from hospitals to care homes during the height of the pandemic were not COVID-19 tested.