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[11/06/2021 | No comment]

Yesterday, I spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate in Parliament on ‘Winterbourne View Hospital and the Transforming Care Programme’

On the 31st May 2011 a BBC Panorama documentary revealed appalling abuse of people with a learning disability and/or autism at the Winterbourne View Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU).

Footage of patients being repeatedly assaulted and mocked by staff shocked people across the country. In response the Government promised to take people with a learning disability and/or autism out of ATUs and instead support them to live in the community.

10 years of missed targets later and there are still 2,040 people with a learning disability and/or autism living in ATUs that are completely inappropriate for their needs. The decade of failure to deliver on promises made after Winterboune View is the worst I’ve seen in 25 years of working in health and social care.

You can read my full speech here, or watch it here.

[10/06/2021 | No comment]

Matt Hancock was at best disingenuous in his evidence to the select committee today. He selectively used briefings, evidence and clinical advice to defend his record instead of admitting his abject failure to protect care homes in the pandemic.

Even Matt Hancock knows he now categorically failed to put a protective ring around care homes. He has now used multiple excuses for failing to test those discharged to care and family members who have lost loved ones will be frustrated and deeply upset that they still do not have the truth from the Secretary of State today.

The Government was much too slow to act to protect residents and staff. As we emerge from this pandemic Ministers must put in place a plan to transform social care and ensure that care homes never again face a crisis of this scale.

Read more in the Evening Standard, Independent, and BBC News.

[01/06/2021 | No comment]

Front page of the Guardian newspaperLast week, Matt Hancock claimed it ‘wasn’t possible’ to test all care home residents for Covid-19 before they were discharged from hospital. However, there were over 530,000 tests carried out in the UK by 20 April 2020. To compare, there were 25,000 people discharged from hospitals to care homes. By this point, we had already seen the virus sweep through care homes in places like Italy, France and America.

The reality is, the Government prioritised freeing up beds over protecting older people from the virus. The Health Secretary needs to get his story straight and stop wiggling out of responsibility.

Read more in The Guardian

[01/06/2021 | No comment]

Public Health England’s report, written in October, claims that only 1.6% of outbreaks in care homes had come from inpatients who had been discharged from hospital.

The analysis in this report is based on people who were tested in hospital – when the precise problem was 25,000 elderly patients were discharged to care homes without a Covid-19 test – and on people who were tested in care homes, when again we know at the time care home testing was extremely limited and didn’t included anyone who was asymptotic.

Instead of using partial data to try and rewrite history and avoid responsibility for the tragedy in our care homes, Ministers should be straight with people about what happened, learn the lessons from what went wrong, and put in place the long-term reforms to social care that families desperately need to make sure these terrible mistakes never happen again.

Read the full story in The Observer.

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