COVID-19: Matt Hancock denies dishonesty, however questions stay over Dominic Cummings’s care house accusation

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Relating to the federal government’s dealing with of care houses throughout the pandemic, one key truth isn’t in dispute.

From mid-March to mid-April closing 12 months hundreds of aged sufferers have been discharged from hospitals into care houses with out being examined for COVID-19, and infections unfold among essentially the most susceptible consequently.

The important thing query raised via Dominic Cummings’s explosive testimony to the well being and science make a selection committees, on the other hand, is whether or not Well being Secretary Matt Hancock had informed Boris Johnson this might no longer be the case.

Dominic Cummings: 'The health secretary should have been fired'.
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Dominic Cumming informed MPs: ‘The well being secretary will have to were fired.’

Mr Cummings informed MPs on Wednesday: “We have been informed categorically in March that individuals could be examined earlier than they went again to care houses. We handiest therefore came upon that that hadn’t came about.

“The federal government rhetoric used to be we put a protect round care houses – it used to be entire nonsense”.

Nowadays Mr Hancock used to be requested many times within the Area of Commons whether or not he had certainly informed Downing Boulevard that individuals being discharged have been examined.

He argued the federal government had adopted scientific recommendation, and that the Scottish govt had additionally struggled to forestall the unfold within the care sector, however didn’t reply to the principle query immediately.

As a substitute he stated in wide phrases: “Those unsubstantiated allegations round honesty don’t seem to be true. I’ve been directly with folks in public and in non-public all through.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock answers an Urgent Question following Dominic Cummings' evidence to MPs
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Well being Secretary Matt Hancock defended his movements throughout questions from MPs on Thursday

The top minister used to be additionally requested whether or not Mr Cummings’s account used to be correct – and that MrHancock had misled him.

Mr Johnson, just like the heath secretary, did indirectly deal with the query, pronouncing: “I feel that in fact what came about in care houses used to be tragic, however we did the entirety shall we to offer protection to the NHS, to minimise transmission, with the data that we had.”

Within the absence of a selected reaction from Mr Hancock or Mr Johnson to the central allegation, it’s value having a look again on the report to look whether or not Mr Cummings’s professed marvel on the loss of checking out for folks being moved from hospitals to care houses stands as much as scrutiny.

On 25 February the federal government revealed steering pronouncing that there used to be “recently no transmission of COVID-19 locally” and stated “it’s subsequently not possible that any one receiving care in a care house or the neighborhood will grow to be inflamed”.

This steering used to be withdrawn on 13 March, the day on which Mr Cummings claims he realised the federal government would wish to alternate technique and urgently draw up plans for a countrywide lockdown.

On 17 March NHS England Leader Govt Sir Simon Stevens wrote a letter to all NHS trusts asking them to “urgently discharge all health center inpatients who’re medically have compatibility to depart”, together with those that could be discharged to a care houses.

There used to be no point out of the desire for checking out on this letter.

On 25 March Labour MP Peter Kyle requested a query of the top minister in parliament about how infections had unfold impulsively thru a care house in his constituency.

In accordance with Mr Kyle’s query about when checking out could be to be had within the care sector extra extensively, Mr Johnson indicated he used to be conscious the loss of checking out for care house citizens used to be a subject, pronouncing: “We need to roll that out once we most likely can”

Additional govt steering issued on 2 April stated that sufferers being discharged to care houses will have to be remoted in the event that they have been appearing COVID signs, however said obviously {that a} damaging check used to be no longer a demand previous to their switch.

On the Downing Boulevard COVID briefing on five April questions have been requested of each Mr Hancock and deputy leader scientific officer Jenny Harries about when regimen checking out could be to be had in care houses. The solutions supplied via Dr Harries indicated that checking out capability at the moment supposed precedence used to be being given to sufferers in hospitals, however that care houses and prisons have been at the precedence record.

By means of 7 April additional studies of the dire scenario in care houses have been beginning to emerge. Sky’s Lisa Holland spoke to a care house proprietor in Devon who stated he used to be being requested to admit COVID-positive sufferers from hospitals.

Despite the fact that a lot of NHS trusts are understood to have began checking out the place imaginable earlier than shifting sufferers, it used to be no longer till 15 April that the federal government’s ‘grownup social care motion plan’ used to be revealed and required all the ones discharged to care houses to be examined.

At a Downing Boulevard COVID briefing on 16 April, leader scientific officer Chris Whitty showed 92 care houses had reported outbreaks inside of 24 hours, and stated he wish to see extra checking out to be had to the sphere.

Given this timeline there shall be questions as to how it will were the case that Mr Cummings and the top minister will have been unaware that checking out used to be no longer being performed.

Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock
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Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock

One imaginable clarification that may be derived from Mr Cummings’s personal testimony is that this era coincided with each he and the top minister’s bouts with COVID.

Boris Johnson first went to health center on 6 April after checking out high quality on 27 March. He used to be admitted to extensive care on 7 April. He didn’t resume his complete tasks till 27 April.

Mr Cummings himself travelled to Durham on 27 March, no longer returning to Downing Boulevard till 14 April.

Talking to the committee the day prior to this, Mr Cummings stated: “When he [Boris Johnson] got here again after being in poor health he stated: ‘What on earth has came about with a lot of these folks in care houses? Hancock informed us within the Cupboard Room that individuals have been going to be examined earlier than they went again to care houses, what the hell came about?’.”

On 15 Would possibly, a couple of weeks after the top minister’s go back to paintings, Mr Hancock used a Downing Boulevard COVID briefing to argue the federal government may just no longer have performed extra to offer protection to care houses.

“Proper from the beginning we’ve attempted to throw a protecting ring round our care houses. We set our first recommendation in February, and because the virus grew we reinforced it all through. We’ve made positive care houses had the assets they wish to keep watch over the unfold of an infection,” he stated.

The query now’s whether or not Matt Hancock’s look in entrance of the similar joint make a selection committee in two weeks’ time will see him take on the accusation he had misled Quantity 10, or whether or not that factor is driven again additional to the general public inquiry because of release subsequent spring.

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