Harrogate care boss defends sector following comments from Prime Minister

The woman in charge of a Harrogate care network has defended the sector after the Prime Minister said too many care homes ‘had not followed coronavirus procedures’.

His comments were made as nearly 30,000 people are now confirmed to have died of coronavirus in care homes across England and Wales since the beginning of the outbreak.

Mr Johnson’s comments resulted in widespread condemnation from the care home community, with the National Care Forum calling his remark “hugely insulting” to care workers.

Sue Cawthray, CEO of Harrogate Neighbours.

The number of Covid-19 related deaths in Harrogate care homes currently stands at 104.

But Sue Cawthray, CEO of Harrogate Neighbours says care workers have gone above and beyond during the pandemic and have faced unclear guidance every step of the way.

She said: “Over the last few months during the pandemic the Government guidelines issued to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in care homes has changed on a regular basis.

“This means that we have been constantly adapting and adhering to the rules set to ensure the safety of our staff, residents, tenants and their families. Care staff across the UK have made huge sacrifices over the last few months to work around the challenges that could have been prevented, such as the delay in receiving the appropriate PPE to protect staff and those we provide services to.”

Mr Johnson has since regfused to apologise for his comments, despite his spokesman stating care staff had ‘done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances’.

Health secretary Matt Hancock also said care homes had done “amazing work” during the crisis but rejected Labour calls to apologise for the Prime Minister’s remarks.

Sue Cawthray now wants to reassure both her staff and the public that they have done an amazing job despite the circumstances and their hard work has not gone unnoticed.

She added: “Our staff at Harrogate Neighbours have gone above and beyond to support everyone and their families throughout the crisis, particularly when family members were unable to visit their loved ones and we have had to provide emotional support too. We want to reassure all our staff across our organisation that they are valued and have done a fantastic job to help limit the spread of the virus amongst such vulnerable people particularly as we have remained Covid-19 free.

“Staff across the sector have put their own health and their families at risk on a daily basis to help those in our care and should not go unrecognised and must be applauded and congratulated on an amazing job and not blamed for the unfortunate high numbers of deaths in care homes across the UK.”

At least 25,000 people were discharged from hospitals into care homes in the UK without being tested for coronavirus in March and April.

Routine testing was not available for much of this time and only small samples of residents could get tests if there was a suspected outbreak.

There was also a PPE shortage for staff in the care sector at the beginning of the pandemic.

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