UK hospitals were prioritized over social care homes during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, a government minister has admitted, prompting public anger in light of the huge amount of Covid-19 deaths among the elderly.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland became the first UK government minister on Wednesday to ostensibly concede that they decided to direct the majority of resources toward the NHS at the detriment of care homes in terms of protection against the deadly Covid-19 disease.
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It also appears to fly in the face of rhetoric peddled by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has insisted in recent days that they have “tried to throw a protective ring around” care homes “right from the start” of the outbreak.
During an interview on Sky News Buckland admitted that the staggering amount of deaths in care homes has been “a great regret,” but now was “not the time to blame people.” However, he claimed that it was “absolutely essential” the NHS was given priority.
We needed to make a choice about testing and we did decide to focus upon the NHS.
“We had to make a choice”.It’s for others to decide whether the choice was right or wrong, but it certainly had consequences. Here’s the full clip with Robert Buckland. pic.twitter.com/pX5cOOUxFq— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 20, 2020
The number of people who have died with Covid-19 in care homes since the start of the pandemic has now surpassed 10,000 – more than a quarter of all deaths – according to data published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The admission may have not surprised many people on social media – but that couldn’t hide the palpable anger voiced on Twitter. Some branded the government’s response to the coronavirus criss as “a horrendous failure of leadership” and suggested the situation could have been avoided if PM Boris Johnson’s administration had been properly prepared.
Others online called it “a total fiasco” by the UK government. While one commenter mocked Hancock’s somewhat boastful “protective ring” remarks about care homes.
Liz Kendal – Labour’s shadow minister for care and older people – hit out at “the clearest admission yet that ministers didn’t give care homes the protection they needed.” She insisted that the NHS and social care sector are “inextricably linked” and that “one cannot be prioritized above the other.”
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