Furious care bosses demand Boris Johnson retracts his ‘cowardly’ comments after PM blamed homes for failing to follow Covid-19 rules
- Care bosses across the UK have called the PM’s comments a ‘slap in the face’
- Yesterday Boris Johnson said care homes had failed to follow procedures set out
- No. 10 yesterday declined to apologise, causing further uproar from the sector
- Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, said Mr Johnson’s remarks were ‘a huge insult’
- She added: ‘When you think of some of the mistakes that have been made, I am absolutely stunned[…]he should retract them [the comments]’
Care bosses have demanded Boris Johnson retract comments blaming homes for failing to follow coronavirus rules.
The Prime Minister triggered a furious reaction after he said: ‘Too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have.’
The Independent Care Group described the comments as a ‘real slap in the face’ and the Community Integrated Care charity said his words were ‘clumsy and cowardly’.
Downing Street yesterday declined to apologise – and instead claimed Mr Johnson had been pointing out that ‘nobody knew what the correct procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time’.
But Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, said Mr Johnson’s remarks were ‘a huge insult’, adding: ‘When you think of some of the mistakes that have been made, I am absolutely stunned that he has made those comments and he should retract them.’
Boris Johnson has refused to apologise for comments in which he said ‘too many’ care homes had ignored proper safety procedures to combat the coronavirus. Care home company owner David Crabtree said the PM was ‘despicable’. Pictured during a visit to the Siemens Rail factory construction site in Goole on Monday
Nadra Ahmed (pictured in 2017), chairman of the National Care Association, said Mr Johnson’s remarks were ‘a huge insult’, adding: ‘When you think of some of the mistakes that have been made, I am absolutely stunned that he has made those comments and he should retract them’
The row has increased pressure on Mr Johnson to announce long-awaited reforms to social care funding. He pledged to make changes on his first day in the job last July – a promise repeated in the Conservative manifesto before last year’s election.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the publication of the plans, but the huge virus death toll in care homes has shone a fresh spotlight on the failings of the system.
Fiona Carragher, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the time for reform is long overdue. ‘Coronavirus has exposed just how dreadfully threadbare social care is, on which people with dementia almost totally rely for vital support,’ she said. ‘It’s never been more important to solve the social care crisis.’
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman was yesterday asked in a Westminster briefing what the Prime Minister had meant by the remarks. he said: ‘The Prime Minister was pointing out that nobody knew what the correct procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time.’
Pictured: A stock image shows an elderly lady wearing a face mask during the coronavirus outbreak in the UK
Asked if Mr Johnson would like to apologise or retract the comments, his spokesman said ‘the Prime Minister thinks that throughout the pandemic, care homes have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances’.
It comes as MPs prepare to warn ministers they do not have a coherent plan to deliver protective equipment to hospitals and care homes ahead of a second wave of the virus.
The Public Accounts Committee will today say it is ‘extremely concerned’ about ongoing shortages of PPE and will accuse the Government of not treating the issue with ‘sufficient urgency’.
A Department of Health spokesman said it did not accept the findings and promised to give the NHS ‘whatever it needs’ for the future.
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, told the BBC: ‘Care homes across the country were dealing with an extraordinary amount of different guidance that was coming out from Government on an almost daily basis.
So for the suggestion that they were not following procedures as laid out is totally inappropriate and, frankly, hugely insulting.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also forced to defend Mr Johnson’s remarks after Labour demanded an apology in the Commons.