Hancock denies claim about Covid-testing care home residents. What DID he mean, then?

Matt Hancock: hopefully the next time any news media show a picture of him in a car, it will be after he has been removed from his job as Health Secretary for lying to Parliament and the public, and for deliberately allowing more than 40,000 care home residents to die by failing to provide them with “the resources they need”.

Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock is dissembling maniacally in a desperate attempt to deny causing thousands of care home deaths.

He’s telling us that he never claimed, during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, that care home residents were being tested for the disease before being discharged from hospital back to those homes.

Perhaps he didn’t say so in as many words.

So the question arises: what did he mean when he told us on May 15 last year, “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes. We set out our first advice in February… we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need”?

Clearly, one of the resources necessary to ensure that care homes are protected from Covid-19 is the testing of people going into those homes, to ensure they don’t have it.

Boris Johnson was caught lying about care homes on May 13 last year, when he claimed that the government imposed a lockdown there before the national lockdown started at the end of March 2020.

In fact, the Tories followed out-of-date advice from Public Health England, published on February 25 that year, until March 12 – by which time thousands of deaths were taking place in care homes across the UK.

That advice stated: “There is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home … will become infected.”

Therefore government policy was not to provide any protection in care homes at all.

Between March 2 and May 1, 2020, no fewer than 12,526 people died with Covid-19 in care homes.

Covid-19 testing did not begin in those homes until July last year, by which time more than 29,000 people had died there. At least a further 11,000 people died after testing began, bringing the total to more than 40,000.

Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that [bolding mine] “we brought in the policy of wanting to test everybody who went into a care home as soon as we had those tests available”.

That is not what he, nor his boss Boris Johnson, told the public at the time. Bizarrely, he still claimed

 that he had been honest and straightforward with people during the pandemic.

That is clearly a lie, right there.

We know that care homes were being treated as though there was no possibility at all that any of their residents could have Covid-19, right up to March 12, 2020 – 10 days after people there had started dying because of the virus.

We know that Hancock had claimed that he had thrown a “protective ring” around care homes by providing them with “the resources they need”.

What resources did Hancock mean in that statement?

It occurs to This Writer that any such resources must include the facilities to isolate residents from their fellow residents after returning from hospital, and the ability to test them for Covid-19 before allowing them to mix with anybody else at all.

If Hancock is now saying that government policy at this time was that it wanted to test people – but wasn’t actually to test them – then logic dictates that it did not provide care homes with the resources they need.

That would mean Hancock lied to Marr, because he lied to the nation in May last year.

Taking this further, logic suggests that his reason for lying was the fact that by the time he made his false claim, more than 12,526 people had died because the government had not provided care homes with “the resources they need”, after having claimed that it had.

I am reminded of the image Dominic Cummings supplied, of a whiteboard covered with ideas about how the government intended to cope with Covid-19, early in 2020. At the bottom is the question: “who do we not save?”

It seems likely that we now know the answer to that question.

And it seems Hancock is trying to slither out of responsibility for allowing those unnecessary deaths to happen.

This Writer hopes that when Hancock faces a joint meeting of the Commons Health and Science committees during the week, his fellow MPs point out these facts to him, along with one more fact: deliberately lying to Parliament is still a sacking offence for any member of the government.

He’s a slippery, treacherous creature but Hancock has set a trap for himself. Let’s hope his Parliamentary colleagues have the intelligence to spring it on him.

Source: Covid: Matt Hancock responds to Dominic Cummings’s care homes remark – BBC News

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  1. Jon Lisle-Summers June 7, 2021 at 12:02 am - Reply

    It’s a huge scandal but even this article uncovers only part of it. The other part relates to the low wage care staff who had to take two or three jobs, in different care homes, all through the early 2020 lockdown, just to subsist.
    Care home staff were on all different TV news programmes complaining about a total absence of basic protective gear – even NHS Trusts couldn’t get enough PPE – so what chance did lowly care homes have?
    If you factor in that cross-infection potential along with patients, untested, being shunted back into care homes, then the scandal assumes even more grotesque dimensions.

    • Mike Sivier June 8, 2021 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Yes, I’ve covered the fact of care home staff moving between different facilities on many previous occasions. It’s not part of this story because this story is about the government providing “the resources they need” to care homes in terms of Covid-19 testing. The lack of PPE – and the transmissibility between homes – created because of staff moving between them certainly played a huge part in causing a huge number of deaths.

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