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MATT HANCOCK’S attempts to deny responsibility for the tens of thousands of Covid-19 deaths in care homes were slammed as a “deluded version” of events today.
National Care Association chairwoman Nadra Ahmed said the recollections of the former health secretary, who was forced to resign last year after breaking his own social distancing rules, “bear no resemblance to the facts.”
The West Suffolk MP, who now sits as an independent after being thrown out of the Tory Party over his widely criticised appearance on ITV’s reality show I’m a Celebrity, said that the virus was primarily brought into care homes by infected staff members.
The claim came despite the ex-Cabinet minister allowing untested hospital patients to be discharged into care settings in the early days of the pandemic in spring 2020.
He also suggested in his diary — currently being serialised by right-wing newspaper the Daily Mail — that “scandalous” bosses across the largely privatised sector allowed employees carrying the virus to continue working.
But Ms Ahmed stressed that the MP’s account represents words “peddled by a man who had no awareness of social care and its value — and this demonstrates he has learnt nothing since.”
In his entry on April 2 2020, Mr Hancock stated that negative tests would not be needed before patients are moved into care homes.
“The tragic but honest truth is we don’t have enough testing capacity to check anyway,” he wrote. “It’s an utter nightmare, but it’s the reality.
“Under the circumstances, we must make sure that anyone going from a hospital into a care home is kept away from other residents. I hope this message filters through and is followed.”
On January 29 2021, he added: “Scandalous behaviour by certain care home operators, who are unscrupulously using staff with Covid.
“Inspectors have identified no fewer than 40 places where this is happening.”
A “shocked” Mr Hancock wrote that the allegations “underline why we need to make [coronavirus] jabs mandatory for people working in social care.”
In response, Ms Ahmed said: “Those of us who lived through some of the most harrowing times in the history of social care can only see this as a deluded version.
“The sector was crying out for support which fell on deaf ears repeatedly. We knew that testing and vaccinations were the key to containing the infection and both took their time to reach social care.
“And the ‘free’ [personal protective equipment] which was lauded as support was found by some providers found to be faulty.
“At a time when he should be acknowledging the critical role of social care and its workforce, he has chosen to condemn us once more to justify his own considerable failings and for his own financial benefit.
“It feels like we lived in parallel universes.”
On Friday, Mr Hancock returned to Parliament for the first time since his TV appearance — which is thought to have earned him up to £400,000.
The lucrative venture, which coincided with a worsening cost-of-living crisis for many of his constituents, was condemned by campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK.
Ahead of the show’s launch last month, the group tweeted: “Matt Hancock isn’t a ‘celebrity,’ he’s the former health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in the world while breaking his own lockdown rules.”
The ex-Cabinet minister was forced to stand down after security camera footage from his Whitehall office showed him in a romantic embrace with colleague Gina Coladangelo, despite strict social distancing measures being in place.
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