By Councillor Mark Ingall

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to blame his government’s failure to control COVID in care homes is despicable and I condemn him for doing it.

We have known for some time that many thousands of elderly and vulnerable care home residents died of COVID, when they were infected thanks to a government decision to send elderly patients from hospital back to care homes without testing them first. I spoke about this in a Your Harlow article on the 16th April.

This awful decision, with fatal consequences, was made worse by the failure to allocate resources to care home to cope with the infections. On the 20th April, in a letter to Harlow’s MP Robert Halfon, I wrote;

“We are watching a tragedy unfolding in Care Homes and hospitals in Harlow and across the country, a tragedy that is being exacerbated by a lack of sufficient PPE delivered on time. Today we learnt that protective gowns for nurses and doctors had run out, endangering their lives and increasing the risk of cross contamination of patients.”

The response of Harlow’s Tories has consistently been to criticise those who point out the government’s failures as “political point scoring”, rather than demand a better response to the COVID pandemic from Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson.

Now the response from their Government is to try to dodge their responsibility completely, as they have done with so many other issues during this crisis. Whether it be the return of schools, the actions of their most senior advisor or the confusing messaging, lack of guidance or inaccurate statistics given to local authorities – this Government seems unable to apologise and continues to shirk its responsibilities in such a shameful way, at a time of national crisis.

Now thousands of heroic Care Home workers, some of who have themselves moved into the care homes they work in to reduce the risk of infection to their own families, have been kicked in the teeth by a Government that has tried to shift the blame again. The Conservative Government got this horribly wrong, they should admit it and stop trying to re-write history.

By Councillor Mark Ingall,

Leader of Labour Group and of Harlow District Council




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