Care homes deserve recognition, not Boris Johnson’s criticism – Yorkshire Post Letters

Boris Johnson's comments on sovial care have angered many in the sector.Boris Johnson's comments on sovial care have angered many in the sector.
Boris Johnson's comments on sovial care have angered many in the sector.
From: Karen Deacon, CEO, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.

I AM writing in response to the PM’s recent comments about how he believed many care homes did not follow proper procedures on coronavirus.

As a CEO of a charity which delivers complex care and rehabilitation to clients in nursing and care home settings, I, like many others, had assessed the risk and decided to close down the hatches 10 days before the lockdown.

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This was based on best advice to me at the time. The central advice for the first few weeks was confused and that was expected. This was a difficult, changing world both for environmental issues and progress of a disease we all knew little about.

How should social care be reformed?How should social care be reformed?
How should social care be reformed?

So what did we do? We restricted staff going home, working elsewhere, limited visits to the homes, sent staff to work at home, isolated staff we felt may be at risk, stopped families visiting and bought our own PPE.

We knew the NHS had to have first call, we got supplies in ready, for isolation, changed our IT systems so communication to external world happened easily for many, we held daily meetings to check on progress and review data, advice and expert views.

We ensured anyone that came from hospital, before testing was widely available, was isolated for 14 days in one room with the same staff only supporting them; we brought, at hugely inflated costs, hand sanitisers, test kits, not forgetting PPE, all in the absence of the first plans and any money kicking in.

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We did this in line with the understandably, ever changing, government advice, but our risk assessment has been client and staff safety first.

This was at a time when we lost all our fundraising events, in one hit overnight, and are now predicted to lose £1m this year.

But did we go out and say it’s your fault Mr Prime Minister? No. We followed guidance and added additional levels of precaution ourselves. We were grateful for the small amounts of resource we have been given, but we continue to rely on our own self-help for survival.

The NHS has had rightful praise but the social care teams need equal praise; we all had the same risk and the same transmission happened in hospital as in care homes.

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We have had no Covid cases transpire in any of our services, we have very fragile clients and we take directly from hospitals throughout the pandemic to ensure the NHS bed capacity was managed. Don’t isolate us even more now, Prime Minister. We made decisions based on science advice and risk assessment. Isn’t that what you did?

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson


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