The bosses of care demanded that Boris Johnson withdraw the comments accusing the homes of not having followed the rules of the coronavirus.
The Prime Minister sparked a furious reaction after saying, “Too many nursing homes have not really followed procedures as they could have done.”
The Independent Care Group described the comments as a “real slap on the face” and the Community Integrated Care charity said the comments were “awkward and cowardly”.
Downing Street refused yesterday to apologize – and instead said that Johnson said “no one knew what the right procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time.”
But Nadra Ahmed, president of the National Care Association, said that Mr. Johnson’s remarks were “a huge insult,” adding, “When you think about some of the mistakes that have been made, I am absolutely amazed that he has made those comments and he should retract them.
Boris Johnson declined to apologize for the comments in which he said that “too many” nursing homes had ignored the proper safety procedures to fight the coronavirus. David Crabtree, owner of a care business, said the PM was “despicable.” Pictured during a visit to the construction site of the Siemens Rail factory in Goole on Monday
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Nadra Ahmed (pictured in 2017), president of the National Care Association, said that Mr. Johnson’s remarks were “a huge insult,” adding: “When you think about some of the mistakes that have been made, I am absolutely amazed. that he made those comments and he should withdraw them “
The dispute has increased pressure on Johnson to announce long-awaited reforms to the funding of social care. He made a commitment to make changes on his first day of work last July – a promise repeated in the Conservative manifesto before last year’s election.
The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the release of plans, but the huge number of virus deaths in nursing homes has put the spotlight on system failures.
Fiona Carragher, director of research at the Alzheimer Society, said the time for reform has been long overdue. “The coronavirus has shown how extremely delicate social care is, on which people with dementia depend almost entirely on life support,” she said. “It has never been more important to solve the social care crisis.”
Johnson’s official spokesperson was asked yesterday in a briefing at Westminster what the Prime Minister had meant by these remarks. He said: “The Prime Minister stressed that no one knew what the right procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time.”
In the photo: an image shows an elderly lady wearing a face mask during the UK coronavirus epidemic
Asked whether Mr. Johnson wanted to apologize or withdraw his words, his spokesperson said that “the Prime Minister believes that throughout the pandemic, nursing homes have done a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances “
This comes as MPs prepare to warn ministers that they do not have a coherent plan to provide protective equipment to hospitals and nursing homes before a second wave of the virus.
The public accounts committee will say today that it is “extremely concerned” about the current shortage of PPE and will accuse the government of not treating the issue with “sufficient urgency”.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said he did not accept the results and promised to give the NHS “everything it needs” for the future.
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, told the BBC: “Nursing homes across the country dealt with an extraordinary amount of different directives from the government almost on a daily basis.
So the suggestion that they were not following the procedures as set out is totally inappropriate and, frankly, extremely insulting.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also forced to defend Mr. Johnson’s remarks after the Labor party asked the House for an apology.