Category Archives: Social care

Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

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Covid-related deaths in care homes rise 46% in a week – after Tories promised to protect residents

Visiting time: guidance for visiting relatives in care homes, published a few months ago, suggesting putting them behind glass, in order to conform with social distancing rules.

What happened?

The Tories were humiliated over care home deaths, way back in the spring of last year, after 30,000 people were said to have died because of government idiocy.

The Tories had ruled that Covid-19 patients from care homes should not stay in hospital but should be returned to their places of residence – most of which didn’t have any protective facilities so they were sent to infect their friends and neighbours.

And the Tories failed to order that staff who usually move between homes should stop, so their employers didn’t either. That meant staff were catching the disease in one home and then transmitting it to others as they did their rounds.

Now we’re being told the rise is due to the virus having mutated into a more virulent form – but it has to be carried in by someone. I wonder who.

Deaths in care homes in England have hit the highest level since mid-May, according to the latest official figures, which revealed a 46% jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the last week as the more transmissible variant of Covid-19 breaches care homes’ defences.

In the week to last Friday, 1,260 deaths in care homes involving Covid-19 were reported to the Care Quality Commission, a sharp jump from 824 and 661 in the previous two weeks. The weekly death toll in care homes had fallen to well below 100 in early October.

Staff say guidelines have been followed to the letter, which suggests to me that they need to be revised; they don’t work.

No wonder insurers have stopped providing coverage for those homes that have offered to look after discharged Covid patients – to prevent the possibility of infection at other locations.

Source: Covid-related deaths in care homes in England jump by 46% | World news | The Guardian

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Care home residents told they can’t have vaccine unless they get on a bus

Frail residents of care homes across the UK are being told they can’t have the new Covid-19 vaccine unless they get on a bus to the hospitals where the jabs are being administered.

Apparently storage conditions mean they can’t have the injections in their care homes – but their physical condition means they can’t take the trip to hospital either.

Isn’t this going to cause yet another Covid care home scandal?

Covid vaccine plans for frail care home residents were in chaos tonight after they were told: Get on the bus.

The Government says they will have to travel to hospital hubs for the jab but angry care bosses said: “There’s no way they can do that.”

Care homes fear vaccines won’t be delivered to them until next year despite Government promises they would be a priority.

The vaccine must be transported at minus 70C, and can only be kept outside ultra-cold storage for a few days.

This means 50 hospital hubs in England will receive the first batch before GPs start delivering the vaccine in the community from December 14.

The complex logistical issues mean there are fears some of the most vulnerable in care homes will miss out if they can’t be safely taken to hospital.

Yet again, the Tories fail to think out their stratagy properly.

Yet again, it seems the most vulnerable will pay the price for bull-in-a-china-shop Boris Johnson’s stupidity.

Source: Covid vaccine plans for care home in chaos after frail residents told to ‘get on bus’ – Mirror Online

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Elderly man’s health failed and he died after council sent his wife to a care home

When care isn’t so caring: one partner was taken into a home and the health of the other deteriorated until he died. Why didn’t the council consider this? Or was it just a financial consideration?

In these days of Covid-19, one might be forgiven for thinking this gentleman was worrying himself sick that his wife would catch the virus and die.

But it is also a recognised phenomenon that if a couple who have been together for many years are split up, most commonly because one of them dies, then the remaining partner’s health often suffers – possibly to death.

So This Writer is led to question why the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead didn’t take this into account when it split up the couple in this story. Was it just a question of money – that it was cheaper to split this couple, and never mind of one of them died? And what happened to the house where the deceased gentleman had been living?

An elderly couple of 59 years were split up with little regard for their welfare by Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

The couple were separated when the wife was discharged to a care home after leaving hospital.

The husband was left to live in the family home with the help of care workers, but quickly deteriorated.

He became very low, did not eat or drink properly and lost weight. He stopped going out and instead spent a lot of time in his bed.

When the family complained a few days later the council agreed to take more steps to help the man visit his wife, but he passed away just a few weeks after.

A report by the Ombudsman found the council did not do enough to consider the man’s situation when his wife left hospital, despite his family telling it he would suffer at home.

Windsor and Maidenhead Council has a history of ill-treating people. Back in 2018, it tried to get police to arrest homeless people under the Vagrancy Act so they wouldn’t be on the streets during the Royal Wedding.

Then it imposed a fine on aggressive or proactive begging, requests for money, leaving bedding and belongings in a public area and other behaviour associated with homelessness – totalling an unaffordable £1,000.

Needless to say, it is a Conservative-run authority.

Source: Elderly man suffers after council splits him from his wife

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Is Matt Hancock denying care homes Covid-19 tests to deliberately harm residents?

Matt Hancock: he’s all talk and no help.

It seems Matt Hancock doesn’t think care home residents have suffered enough.

Hancock and the Tory government promised regular Covid-19 testing in all UK care homes on June 8.

The testing was considered necessary because residents’ health had been deteriorating after lockdown restrictions meant their relatives were not allowed to visit.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said the government had promised weekly testing for staff, and for residents every 28 days.

But he described the process as having “fragmented”; some care providers had received kits that had never been collected for processing, and others were experiencing long delays due to lack of laboratory capacity.

That’s right – lack of capacity to run tests, at a time when Hancock and his flunkies are telling us they are running hundreds of thousands of tests a week. They’re lying.

And they’re discriminating against care home residents, purely because they are care home residents.

And it is harming the well-being of those residents.

If they were behaving in such a way towards people because of the colour of their skin, that would be racism. If because they were (for example) Jewish, it would be anti-Semitism.

It should be treated as a hate crime.

Source: UK care homes still denied Covid tests despite Hancock pledge, officials warn

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What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

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Covid lockdown seems to have been perfect opportunity for Tory cruelty to care home residents

Matt Hancock: he says care home residents are now getting good support, but resident’s representatives say his new guidance lacks clarity and leadership.

It seems people living in care homes were doomed, no matter what happened – the instant the Tories announced the Covid-19 lockdown.

We already know that the government condemned more than 20,000 people to death by sending people with the virus out of hospital and back to their homes, which did not have the facilities to treat them safely.

Now MPs have been told that the lockdown has had a brutal effect, even on healthy residents.

The isolation imposed on them by the Tories has had a devastating effect on their mental health.

They’ve lost weight, the ability to speak, and memory – meaning they aren’t able to recognise relatives after months in isolation.

They are losing the will to live, according to evidence given to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Coronavirus.

It seems the Tories imposed lockdown conditions that turned care homes into the equivalent of prisons, with each inmate – sorry, resident – treated as though they had been thrown into isolation cells.

No risk assessments were carried out to consider the effect this would have, as vital support networks including visits from relatives were cut off.

It seems Health Secretary Matt Hancock cried crocodile tears for the care home residents whose lives he has ruined.

He said new guidance had been published last month, allowing visits by relatives for the first time since the lockdown.

He said it was possible to “carefully and safely” allow visits to care homes, based on “local knowledge and circumstances” for each care home.

Relatives’ and residents’ representatives say these guidelines lack clarity and leadership.

The whole package seems emblematic of the Tory approach to the Covid-19 crisis: say one thing – do another.

Source: Care home residents facing prison-like conditions and ‘losing will to live’ since lockdown, MPs hear | The Independent

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‘Care’ minister who helped kill off 20,000 people is now shooing nurses out of the NHS

No pay rise for nurses: by keeping the payroll as low as possible, aren’t the Tories making the NHS more attractive to US corporate buyers?

Helen Whately is a vacuous, propaganda-spewing incompetent – in other words, she is typical of the UK’s current Tory government.

Not satisfied with having presided over the Covid-19 deaths of more than 20,000 care home residents in her role as minister for social care, she has now turned her sights on nurses.

In a car-crash breakfast interview, she tried to tell the nation that nurses don’t deserve a pay rise after all the good work they have done keeping people alive in spite of her own, and her colleagues’, incompetence – because they are locked into an unfair pay deal that was imposed on them three years ago.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic with video of her attempt to dissemble during the interview, interspersed with the shocking facts:

The difference between Whately’s words and the cold hard facts is more than a quarter of a nurse’s wages; she says they’ve had at least a six per cent pay rise since 2017 but in fact their wages have plummeted by a whopping 20 per cent.

This Site has already published the facts and you can see them for yourself here.

I said the lack of a pay rise suggests an attempt to keep NHS costs down to make the service attractive to US corporate buyers in a trade deal with Donald Trump.

The trouble is, it is also weakening the service – which is already short of 40,000 nurses – by encouraging staff to walk out and take higher-waged jobs elsewhere.

A huge part of the problem, I think, is that you can tell by Whately’s vacant expression that she actually believes the lies she has been told to speak.

One can only sympathise with the good people of Faversham and Mid Kent, who were clearly outvoted by similarly dimwitted Tory twits. That’s the only way anyone with any intelligence could have ended up with such a disgrace as their representative.

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Tories are stalling on social care because they don’t want you to have it

Matt Hancock: millions of people are going without vital care because this bubblehead can’t be bothered to read a report.

Is it really any surprise that the Tory response to Covid-19 in social care situations has been a massacre?

They have no interest in using public funds to provide care for people who need it; they don’t think the money is meant for that.

Also, of course, anything with the word “social” in its title is like garlic to a vampire for them.

For example, has Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock got round to reading a report that stated – in July 2019 – that the social care system needed a cash injection of £8 billion, just to keep it ticking along?

Who knows how much cash it needs now?

Hancock was supposed to respond within two months but didn’t. Perhaps he was on his summer holibobs.

It is now more than a year later. Yes, Hancock has had to handle the Covid-19 pandemic – but if he was a responsible minister, he would not leave other matters dangling, and in any case the crisis has identified serious failings in care home provision.

Hancock has done nothing about them, nor has he lifted a finger to address failings that have left no fewer than 1.4 million older people in the community without help that they need desperately.

Public funding has fallen by £700 million since the Conservatives came back into office in 2010, and 400,000 people have lost their entitlement to help because successive Tory minister couldn’t be bothered to increase the level of means below which a person should be eligible for help, in line with inflation.

Boris Johnson ignored the scandal in his manifesto for last year’s election because he was afraid it would derail is campaign – and your true-blue Tory mass media dutifully turned a blind eye.

Theresa May’s 2017 election campaign was derailed by the issue of social care, after she proposed draconian measures to take families’ property away from them, in order to fund care for frail relatives.

Finally, last week, pressed for an answer on social care by a coalition of English councils, Hancock volunteered a cobbled-together choice between forcing everybody aged over 40 to contribute extra taxes to fund social care in later life – in line with models running in Japan and Germany, and compelling us all to take out insurance that will pay the bills later.

Neither plan is workable.

Firstly, what if people who are taxed for social care in later life never actually need it? This Writer’s grandmother lived to the ripe age of 88, with Altzheimer’s in her later years, but never had social care; my parents are both in their 80s now and are happily – and healthily – at home. Contribution to such a fund for any of them would have been a waste of money.

And the insurance plan is a no-hoper too: payment into private insurance schemes inevitably creates the temptation to cheat the payee out of their funds. Look at the way the criminal US insurance firm Unum cheated its clients out of their payments by ensuring that they could never meet the conditions required for payouts. Look at the number of UK pension funds that have been raided.

And of course we already pay into an insurance fund for our old age: National Insurance. The Tories could simply increase that by 1.5 per cent (that’s the amount of their income that Germans pay), rather than farming the job out to let privateers rob us all.

Either Hancock hasn’t considered any of these issues or he doesn’t care.

Source: Matt Hancock has failed to respond to report warning of social care ‘scandal’ nine months after deadline | The Independent

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Johnson blames care homes for Covid-19 deaths that he caused

Boris Johnson: yes, I’m going to keep using this V-sign image whenever he’s caught harming the people of the UK because it really is an accurate depiction of his attitude to you. He became prime minister for the power – not to render a service. And he’s using that power to kill.

This is what happens when you give unlimited power to do whatever he likes to an overgrown school bully like Boris Johnson:

He does whatever he likes.

And if he gets caught doing something that is utterly unacceptable – like, say, causing the deaths of 30,000 care home residents by deliberately sending people with Covid-19 there to infect them…

He tries to blame someone else.

“It wasn’t me, sir! Those other boys did it! They’re bad, not me!”

Pathetic.

For the record, all the Tory excuses about care homes have been proved to be lies.

The best example of this is when they said they threw a “protective ring” around care homes before they even put the country into lockdown, back in March. This was a lie.

In fact, the Tories ordered hospitals to send care home residents with Covid-19 back to those homes, even if their destinations did not have the facilities to treate them in isolation from other residents.

Not only that, but employment practices at many homes meant staff were moved around between facilities owned by the same company, meaning they may have caught Covid-19 from a resident at one home and then transferred it to residents in another.

Johnson is saying that the spread of the disease in this way, along with the inability to treat residents with Covid-19 in isolation is because homes “didn’t follow the procedures”. This is a lie.

There weren’t any procedures to follow because Johnson and his cronies didn’t bother to think about making any.

Now, some of his more PR conscious colleagues are trying to mitigate the damage he has caused, like Alok Sharma saying, “No-one is suggesting care homes have not done a great job under really difficult circumstances.” This is a lie.

That is precisely what Johnson is saying, because the alternative is to admit that his government is at fault, and to blame for the deaths of around 30,000 people.

Underlying this, of course, is the question of whether Johnson secretly wanted to cause those deaths. He has succeeded in wiping 30,000 expensive care accounts off the government’s books – and to a Tory, that’s a positive outcome.

Now, just like a school bully, Johnson is refusing to apologise for his false claims. He’s pretending he hasn’t done anything wrong and he’ll try to bully us into accepting it because he has the power of the government behind him.

Trouble is, there’s always someone who’ll stand up to a bully:

Mark Adams, who runs the charity Community Integrated Care, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the prime minister’s comments were “cowardly” and a “travesty of leadership”.

He added: “If this is genuinely his view, I think we’re almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the government sets the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results, they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.”

The National Care Forum said Mr Johnson’s remarks were “frankly hugely insulting” to care workers.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the forum which represents 120 social care charities, told BBC Newsnight that care homes followed the guidance “to the letter”.

Of course, all bullies have their cronies – the sneaky little gits who hang around next to them, egging them on.

Boris Johnson has the BBC, whose mealy-mouthed Nick Triggle has tried to help pass the buck onto care homes.

“In the government, there is a frustration the care sector has escaped largely blame free,” he tells us. “Care homes are not government-run. On the whole they are owned and operated by private firms.”

We’ve heard this old chestnut before; it’s one of the main reasons Tories love privatisation – the ability to shift the blame.

“Oh!” say the Tories. “But we don’t run these homes – they’re all private! So it’s the private companies that run the homes who are responsible for all these terrible deaths, not us!

“It doesn’t matter that we didn’t send them appropriate guidance at the appropriate time!

“It’s not important that we couldn’t even be bothered to get off our arses and find PPE (personal protective equipment) for hospitals, let alone care homes!

“And nobody should be asking why we couldn’t care less about providing Covid-19 tests in care homes until the public demanded it!”

Pathetic.

Worse still is the fact that Johnson will probably use the money he is saving by not having to pay the care costs of 30,000 dead people to provide a new funding package for social care – and he’ll call that a triumph for Tory politics.

“We need to think about how we organise our social care package better and how we make sure we look after people better who are in social care,” he said.

Is that his answer, then?

A regular cull of vulnerable care home residents?

Source: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson criticised over ‘cowardly’ care home comments – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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