IT was with incredulity that I heard that Boris Johnson was blaming some care homes for the number of deaths in their homes.

He has subsequently backtracked on these comments but his original remarks will not be easily forgotten.

When the powers that be saw hospital corridors in Wuhan littered with dying patients and the subsequent overwhelming of the Italian health service they panicked that the NHS might end up the same way.

They needed every bed they could get and an obvious part solution to the problem was to get rid of the 'bed blockers'. Initially they were sent to care homes without being tested.

When it became apparent that we had a pandemic on our hands four main things should have happened at care homes (a) stop visitations from the public; (b) test the staff so that they do not infect the residents; (c) new residents from whatever source, should have been tested for Covid-19; (d) agency staff should also have been tested before being allowed to work in a care home.

The care homes played their part by closing homes to visitors. The Government, however, did not play their part by testing home care staff.

They have belatedly got round to it but the horse has well and truly bolted. It is unclear, at least to me, what pressure was put on care homes by the NHS, to accept 'bed blockers'.

The Government let the country down by not having enough PPE or ventilators to deal with the pandemic and we are now only catching up.

What limited supply there was appears to have been used exclusively by the NHS and the residents of care homes and their carers were thrown to the wolves.

To make matters worse the NHS were refusing to accept patients from care homes who contracted the virus. Some relatives received letters stating that if their relative contracted the virus they would not be treated at a hospital but rather by a local GP. A virtual death sentence.

To sum up we had care homes that had no protective equipment (excluding bin bags). The staff were not tested and there was no oxygen or ventilators to help stricken patients struggling for breath. All the care home staff could do, because of lack of equipment, was hold the patient's hand. So much for Matt Hancock's protective ring around the care homes.

Working in care homes is challenging in normal times but when you add Covid-19 into the mix and you have no equipment to speak of for dealing with the virus, it becomes almost impossible.

Despite these difficulties, however, they have continued to to look after their patients putting their own and family's lives on the line. Instead of being criticised they should be feted for the Heroes and Heroines they undoubtedly are. Shame on you Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson.


Cocklaw Street,