The government has prioritized the NHS over social care from the start of the coronavirus epidemic, a minister told Sky News.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said, “We had to make a choice about the tests, we decided to focus on the NHS. “
Pressed to find out if the government’s policy was to focus on health services first, he told Kay Burley @ Breakfast: “That’s right. I think it was absolutely essential. “
Buckland said there were “huge problems” in adult social care, adding, “We have seen a huge tragedy in our nursing homes, which is a great regret.”
Admitting that there was “more to do,” he added, “There have been many examples of nursing homes that have fortunately remained free from infection, [there have been] far too many cases of infection and death.
“I think every country in the world will look back and say there are things we could have done differently. “
Sky News analysis of Office for National Statistics figures shows that 39,404 people died in nursing homes in England and Wales between March 13 and May 8.
This means that there have been more than 20,000 more deaths in nursing homes compared to the five-year average.
Another minister said Tuesday that some inpatients with COVID-19 may have been transferred to nursing homes, sowing him in communities.
Environment Secretary George Eustice says there could have been “some cases” where those without symptoms were transferred untested to nursing homes.
Speaking to a committee of MPs the same day, nursing home bosses accused the government of prioritizing the NHS over nursing homes and failing to keep promises of support.
Professor Martin Green, Executive Director of Care England, who represents nursing homes, said that since the start of the pandemic, nursing homes were a second thought despite the accommodation of “the most vulnerable.”
Analysis – The time for honesty about early response to coronaviruses may have come
by Kate McCann, political correspondent
After thousands of deaths across the country and many of those living in nursing homes, ministers are faced with growing calls to admit where things have gone wrong.
Although very few are asking for an investigation at this time, many people want to know why the tests were limited to hospitals and why the patients were transferred back to nursing homes without first being tested for coronavirus.
Judging by Robert Buckland’s tone this morning in an interview with Kay Burley, the time for honesty about these decisions may have come.
The justice secretary admitted that more needs to be done to fight the epidemic in nursing homes and added that a decision was made at the outset to focus testing on inpatients, not those in the hospital. community at large – many believe this has contributed to the rapid spread. virus in the elderly in homes.
He said he would be “appalled” if people thought the government would turn the tables over to the advice on home deaths, but added that the sector is fragmented and that admissions back to hospital were not as widespread as some have claimed.
It also seemed to suggest that the new test track and trace system, which is essential according to scientists while the lock is released, may not be fully operational until June and that the application, which is supposed to operating with ground markers, may not be ready by the end of this month.
When asked if parents should send their children back to school, he agreed that people “feel safe” before doing so, a marked change from the typical discussion of scientific evidence. and responsibility.
The public wants government to succeed and is, at least for the most part, willing to accept that mistakes have been made to deal with an illness that very few people understand.
But they also want to see the ministers’ humility and honesty. Today, at Mr. Buckland’s, they got a taste of it.