Health Secretary Matt Hancock is refusing to take responsibility for his mistakes – even after being confronted with the evidence.
When Intisar Chowdhury, the son of a consultant who died earlier this month, asked the health secretary live on LBC radio whether he regretted not taking his father’s warnings over vital medical kit seriously enough, Hancock repeatedly avoided making an apology.
He said he was saddened by the death of Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, who had warned Boris Johnson about the lack of protective gear for frontline NHS workers, and asked him to secure equipment “urgently” in a social media post.
Pressed to acknowledge that there have been mistakes in handling the virus, especially to Mr Chowdhury (junior) and other families that have lost loved ones as a result of this virus and probably as a result of the government not handling it seriously enough, he evaded.
He said: “I think that it is very important that we’re constantly learning about how to do these things better and I think listening to the voices on the front line is a very, very important part of how we improve.
“Of course this a very complicated logistical effort but I don’t want to play down the enormous efforts of many thousands of people who are working every hour that there is trying to solve the problem.”
Yesterday (April 28) Hancock refused to apologise to relatives of elderly residents who have died of coronavirus in care homes, after figures showed 5,000 such deaths in England alone.
He said during the daily Downing Street briefing that it was “unreasonable” to ask if he would apologise to the families of those who have died.
“Making sure that care homes have the support they need has been absolutely at front of mind right from the start,” he said.
“We’ve been testing in care homes right from the start and right through the crisis.”
If that were true, then why did it take the government until yesterday to provide daily tallies of deaths in care homes, alongside the statistics on hospital fatalities, rather than releasing them on a weekly basis, 10 or 11 days after the event?
If testing was taking place from the start, then the figures would have been available immediately.
It seems that – like the whole Tory government – Mr Hancock is simply trying to avoid responsibility for mistakes, omissions and policies that have caused thousands of needless death. Perhaps he fears the inquiry that must take place after the crisis is over.
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