Prime minister’s comments branded a ‘kick in the teeth’ by care workers

A furious care worker says Boris Johnson has spent weeks clapping in their honour before appearing to shift blame for coronavirus deaths onto care homes.

After nearly 20,000 deaths in care homes across the country, The Prime Minister said on Monday this was because “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures”.

His words have sparked outrage from care home managers with Mark Topps, manager at Little Wakering House, branding it a “kick in the teeth” to those who have worked to protect the most vulnerable.

Mr Topps said: “It is really sad to see the PM making statements like the one he has made.

“I personally think that making this comment after he has stood for weeks clapping for care workers is insulting and a kick in the teeth to those care workers who have worked tirelessly to care for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Many care staff, a large majority of which are on minimum wage, have and still have to work with a lot of anxiety and worries.

“There is little to no testing for the large proportion of the sector, those working with learning disabilities like myself and those in supported living who have never been tested and it’s as if their efforts have not been appreciated and go unrecognised.”

The care home manager also pointed out Mr Johnson’s mention of “procedures” made little sense because at the beginning of the pandemic there were none.

He added: “For my service we went into lockdown before the government made the recommendation and I just implemented what I thought was the best thing to keep everyone safe as there was no guidance and no response from local authorities or public health as no one knew.

“Once the government got to terms with the situation within care homes we were then left dealing with guidance changing on an almost weekly and sometimes daily basis and it was practically impossible to keep up and abreast.

“It became a full-time job juggling all the changes and implementing it.

“To give you some idea my contingency plan went from seven pages and my latest one currently sits at 66 pages.”

At a daily briefing, Downing Street said the prime minister would not be apologising for his comments but he believes the homes have done a “brilliant job under difficult circumstances”.

Councillor Trevor Harp (Ind), who oversees health in Southend, said: “I would suggest that this has been a very difficult situation and it is too soon to start trying to place blame for what happened.

“This needs careful analysis before anyone makes sweeping statements.”


Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter