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This week’s Prime Ministers Questions was particularly important with regard to trying to hold the Government accountable for the massive death toll in our Care Homes that there was fair warning about, but was instead exacerbated by insane policy decisions that gave the strong impression of a deliberate cull of our vulnerable elderly population. With a number of fixed dates when public policy changes were made fully documented by the BBC in a late Wednesday Newsnight broadcast that I will elaborate on here the earlier exchanges at PMQs are open to closer scrutiny. The BBC Newsnight team must have researched and fact-checked before the broadcast so I will document segments for comparison and contrast with earlier verbatim statements made at PMQs. I consider this significant evidence of a pattern of deliberate exposure to risk and culpable negligence that I refer to as a “Holocaust in Care!”
Emily Matlis began Newsnight on Wednesday the 13th of May by saying that, “The guiding principal was so clear, the more we stay home, the more the NHS is able to cope, the more lives we save, and stay home we did. The NHS did cope, but the death toll from this Pandemic has been horrendous. The NHS was perhaps underwhelmed, spare capacity in the newly built hospitals, free wards and empty Emergency Departments. It’s now clearer how many of the deaths were happening outside; 40% of all recorded Covid 19 deaths have so far happened in Care Homes. So why were those dying in Care Holmes not treated in Hospital and why were Covid patients released from hospital to live in Care Homes with Britain’s most vulnerable?”
These questions were at the core of a heated political row earlier that day that exploded at PMQs and continued on well into the afternoon. According to the BBC’s Nick Watt, following PMQs a volley of letters went back and forth between Sir Keir Starmer and the Prime Minister. Few are aware that the MPs are strictly prohibited by the rules of Parliament from claiming that another MP has outright lied to the House which, considering the appallingly high proclivity for lying among current politicians, has become far too quaintly genteel to support genuine transparency! The spat centred on the official advice given with regard to Care Holmes. Johnson claimed the statement was taken out of context, but the PM was dancing on the head of a pin, since the actual wording was fully verified and as such extremely damning with regard to the Tory Government’s lax Covid 19 containment policy.
Dementia specialist Dr. Jamie Wilson, appearing on Newsnight, said he believes major mistakes were made, cautioning that, “The Care Home population is extremely frail and vulnerable and most are over 80 with many co-morbid conditions. It was in that population it was very clear from the early Chinese data and the data from Lombardy that this population had a mortality rate of at least 20%. So when you add up all those factors it seems really quite incredible that patients were being discharged back to Care Homes and indeed that Care Homes were being mandated to take them back, even when there was a high risk they were Covid positive.”
Newsnight then highlighted how Jenny Harries, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, had stated in a daily Press Briefing that, “although those being moved are tested now in Hospitals, even prior to that testing there was a policy whereby an individual who was moving into a Care Home would be retained in safe isolation within the Care Home because it was recognized that this was a risk group … they are all having a test now but they would have been treated in much the same way before this.” The most serious problem with Harries’s frank admission of culpability is the delusional confidence that private Care Homes would be fully staffed and sufficiently equipped with appropriate PPE to provide safe isolation let alone complex medical care. Covid patients who deteriorate end up on a ventilator before they eventually die, but where was the access to ventilation equipment in Care Homes and the ICU trained staff to direct and monitor their use?
Care Home staff are taught stringent management of infection control as a critical component of their standard practice due to the vulnerability of the people that they care for. However, the simple aprons and gloves suitable for regular use were not sufficiently protective when staff were expected to deal with such a virulent virus while face masks and visors are not standard. All Care Homes purchase their own kit, but increasingly they were unable to access supplies as the PPE was requisitioned towards the NHS. At the same time Primary Care services were closed to them; GP s and District Nurses weren’t coming into the Care Homes so there was no clinical support. Although Nursing Homes will have a qualified Nurse on staff, Residential Care Homes do not. Tests remain inaccessible; we discovered that the Government cannot even guarantee that all Care Homes are going to be offered testing until the 6th of June!
Architect of the disastrous reforms to the NHS, Andrew Lansley, came under critical fire from Newsnight’s Emily Matlis, she asked, “what was the point of underwhelming the NHS when so many were dying outside it” Lansley attempted some rather typical Tory spin centred on the word “context” claiming that “the intention was to look after Care Home Residents.” Matlis was not satisfied stating that, “the Government had advice from Patrick Valance, the Chief Medical Officer, right at beginning, in January, warning that a looming crisis in Care Homes was on the way, they knew that was happening, they could see that was happening, yet they decided that they’d move patients without testing them into Care Homes with vulnerable people. What kind of craziness was that?” Lansley said it should never have been allowed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions…
There were no numbers published for weeks, then the words of Boris Johnson claiming “an apparent success at not overwhelming the NHS” when clearly the deaths had been going on outside, was a point that has angered us all, but Lansley tried to defend the Tory Government’s incompetence by claiming that these problems were not exclusive to the UK! Matlis attacked Lansley’s reforms reminding him that, “400 Health Professionals wrote to the Lords in 2011 they begged the Lords to reject your reforms they actually told you it would disrupt, fragment and weaken Public Health capabilities and would undermine the NHS’s ability to respond to a communicable disease outbreak emergency.” In defence of his reforms Lansley said “you know that’s not true, it didn’t fragment the Public Health Service, if anything it ought to have strengthened it.” Well, “Ought to” didn’t happen and our NHS is still on the ropes.
The horrific extent of the Care Home tragedy was elaborated on in the Canary Article, “Worrying data’ reveals more than 12,500 people in care homes have now died with Covid-19.” In the article which includes graphs of the data they quote Sarah Deeny, Assistant Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, who said: “Today’s data – which accounts for care home residents that have died in hospital – shows that previous figures have significantly underestimated the extent of Covid-19-related deaths among residents, which total 12,526 – 51% higher than previously published.” The article also verifies the delays in testing noting, “Despite recent announcements, there is still complete confusion about testing, with care homes telling MPs they have been unable to access tests. The Government’s own Covid-19 recovery strategy can’t guarantee that every care home for the over-65s will even be offered tests until June 6.”
In a detailed breakdown of the relevant policy decision dates, that for purposes of clarity I will quote word for word here, Newsnight revealed: “Up until two months ago Care Homes were advised that they did not need to take any extra special precautions against Coronavirus. Advice issued on the 25th of February said there was no need to do anything differently at Care Homes on the grounds that there was no evidence of transmission of the virus in the UK. On the 13th of March that advice was dropped and on the 19th of March the Government instructed NHS Hospitals to create space for Covid patients by clearing 15,000 beds, many of which were occupied by Care Home patients. On the 2nd of April Public Health England said that patients returning to Care Homes did not have to test negative for Coronavirus. It said negative tests are not required prior to transfer and admission into the Care Home. Just over two weeks later the Government said that patients entering Care Homes would be tested for the virus.”
The above instructions might even have be considered understandable if the NHS had been totally overwhelmed as was the case with the Italian Healthcare system at the peak of their Covid 19 crisis. But, on the 4th of May the Guardian announced that the new Nightingale Hospital would be closing the following week on the 15th of May. The impressively well equipped Nightingale Hospitals remained barely used at all so the one at London ExCel relocated their last 12 patients to shift to standby mode cautiously awaiting a second surge in Covid cases. A serious amount of public money was invested on the rapid creation of these facilities, no doubt channelled into the greedy pockets of Tory donors who earned lucrative contacts to supply the high-end equipment. Meanwhile vital PPE was not seen as such a big money spinner; dime store kit that could be ordered from China and to hell with the delay!
In her Guardian Opinion piece, Polly Toynbee asks, “How can Britain trust this floundering crew of fibbers to tackle coronavirus?” She highlighted reasons for the rapid erosion of public trust over ridiculous comments made my Tory ministers like the Health Secretary saying, “Take Matt Hancock’s dumbfounding claim on Friday: ‘Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes … we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need.’ What sentient voter doesn’t know that to be a flat-out lie? No testing and no PPE, as care homes – some close to bankruptcy – were pressured to take untested, possibly infected, hospital patients, without enough doctors, staff, training or isolation space. Taking the public for fools destroys trust.”
The Tories have come up with this new cosy sounding piece of propaganda to try to convince the public that they are trying really hard to protect our Care Home residents, but don’t be fooled by the chime of their latest clanger. In reality the Government’s much touted “Protective Ring around Care Homes” is far more like a bell pealing as a very loud voice yells “bring out your dead!” It’s really sick and it’s no joke. Just keep “Washing your Hands;” Boris Johnson and his Tory cabal have already Washed their Hands of all responsibility for the safety of the British people. The Canary report that even the mainstream media are now acknowledging that the death toll has surpassed 50,000.
In a Skwawkbox exclusive: “As govt claims peak passed and eases lockdown, it is TRIPLING temporary mortuary capacity – in preparation for huge new ‘spike’ in deaths” they report that, “Creation of temporary mortuary space for 30,000 bodies was reported during supposed ‘peak’ of pandemic. Now, as government relaxes lock-down, sends workers back to work and children back to school, it is more than tripling that capacity and warning funeral directors to prepare for massive new ‘spike’.” What genocidal scourge is this Tory Government planning to inflict on the people of this country? We must demand a full investigation so that the second we have enough evidence to prove their corruption and criminal negligence we can take swift action to get them removed from office to end this “Holocaust in Care” or any further “Slaughter of the Sheeple.”