A day of reckoning is coming where government will have to answer for the catalogue of neglect and missed opportunities that led to COVID-19’s devastating impact on care homes.
As the inquest into the government’s neglect of care homes beckons, four key questions must be answered:
Firstly, why did it take two months and thousands of deaths for the government to fully focus its attention on care homes and prioritse the sector for PPE and testing?
Secondly, why were PPE supplies woefully inadequate for the sector when it has emerged that research had been warning for years of the dangerous exposure of care homes to a pandemic?
Despite these warnings, a government report as late as March 13 concluded that COVID-19 was “very unlikely” to impact care homes. A tragic misjudgement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied when under scrutiny by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in Parliament.
Thirdly, why were residents and care staff not prioritised for testing immediately, despite the fact that elderly people were the most vulnerable to the virus?
Fourthly, why were care homes asked to take people from hospital without being tested who then spread the infection with devastating consequences?
The day is coming when these questions will need to be answered and lessons learnt so that vulnerable care home residents and our heroic care staff are never again sacrificed and put at risk in this way.