The government’s assertion it had put a protection shield around care homes at the beginning of the pandemic was “complete nonsense” the PM’s former chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, has said.
Speaking during a hearing of the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees, Mr Cummings said he was shocked that hospital patients were not being tested before going into care homes during the height of the pandemic in April 2020.
Mr Cummings said: “We were told categorically in March that people would be tested before they went back to care homes. We only subsequently found out that that hadn’t happened.
“The government rhetoric was we put a shield around care homes – it was complete nonsense.
“Quite the opposite of putting a shield around them – we sent people with COVID back to the care homes.”
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.
Mr Cummings said thousands of people had died needlessly due to government mistakes.
The former chief advisor to the PM said the situation had been made worse by a lack of PPE and testing equipment.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman of the National Care Association, said Mr Cummings’ evidence indicated the care sector had been lied to from the onset of the pandemic.
Nadra said there had been “no plan, no protective shield and people were discharged out of hospitals untested, without regards to their personal health or that of those they would come into contact with”.
“For the most vulnerable to be let down in this way will be the greatest shame this government will face in the way they responded to the pandemic,” Nadra added.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said: “Nothing that Mr Cummings has said … 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.
“After years of neglect and under-funding, care settings were exposed and vulnerable to something like coronavirus and the outcome was devastating.”