Calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to issue an apology after saying care homes had not followed correct COVID-19 procedures have been rejected by No 10.
Downing Street said the PM had been pointing out that not enough was known about the virus in the early stages of the outbreak.
A No 10 spokesperson said: “Throughout this crisis care homes have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances.
“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.”
The comments sparked fury amongst care providers with Mark Adams, who runs the charity Community Integrated Care, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the PM’s had been “cowardly” and shown a “travesty of leadership”.
The backlash has continued with Melanie Weatherley MBE, chair of the Lincolnshire Care Association, issuing a statement condemning the PM and NHS England boss Simon Stevens for appearing to pin the blame for the high care home death rate on the sector.
Melanie states: “These comments, although not unexpected, suggests the blame lies with care homes, when the sector is filled with hardworking, resourceful individuals who dedicate their lives to caring for others.
“A few weeks ago, the government was clapping for the care sector – don’t let them make us the target of their mistakes. The battle against COVID-19 isn’t over yet, but we’re still here fighting the good fight for the vulnerable people that need us.”