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Hancock condemned for ‘deluded’ recount of care homes during pandemic

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock’s memories of how he handled care homes during the Covid pandemic has been condemned as a “deluded version” of events.

Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association which represents small and medium care home providers, said the former Health Secretary’s account “bears no resemblance to the facts”.

She added that Mr Hancock’s account, included in extracts of his diary serialised by The Daily Mail, are words which have been “peddled” by a man who “had no awareness of social care and its value then and this demonstrates he has learnt nothing since”.

Matt Hancock's account has been branded 'deluded'
Matt Hancock's account has been branded 'deluded'

Mr Hancock insists the virus was primarily brought into facilities by infected staff members.

The Government decided in the early stages of the outbreak to discharge potentially infectious Covid patients from hospitals into care homes without prior testing.

This has been blamed for the huge numbers of Covid deaths in care facilities during the first wave of the pandemic.

He also suggests there was “scandalous” behaviour of some care home bosses whom he says allowed employees infected with the virus to work.

In his entry on 2 April 2020, Mr Hancock states that negative tests would not be needed before patients are moved into care homes.

He said: “The tragic but honest truth is we don’t have enough testing capacity to check anyway. It’s an utter nightmare, but it’s the reality.

“Under the circumstances, we must make sure that anyone going from a hospital into a care home is kept away from other residents. I hope this message filters through and is followed.”

On 29 January 2021, he wrote: “Scandalous behaviour by certain care home operators, who are unscrupulously using staff with Covid.

“Inspectors have identified no fewer than 40 places where this is happening.”

Mr Hancock’s entry says he was “shocked” and it “underlines why we need to make jabs mandatory for people working in social care”.

Ms Ahmed said: “Sadly, the account peddled by Matt Hancock bears no resemblance to the facts.

“Those of us who lived through some of the most harrowing times in the history of social care can only see this as a deluded version. He had no awareness of social care and its value then and this demonstrates he has learnt nothing since.

“The sector was crying out for support which fell on deaf ears repeatedly. We knew that testing and vaccinations were the key to containing the infection and both took their time to reach social care and the ‘free’ PPE which was lauded as support some providers found to be faulty.

“At a time when he should be acknowledging the critical role of social care and its workforce he has chosen to condemn us once more to justify his own considerable failings and for his own financial benefit. It feels like we lived in parallel universes.”

On Friday Mr Hancock returned to the Houses of Parliament in London for first time since his I’m A Celebrity… appearance. The West Suffolk MP, who now sits as an independent having had the Tory whip withdrawn for going off to the Australian jungle while Parliament was sitting, was speaking in support of his Private Member’s Bill to introduce screening for dyslexia. His Bill however ran out of time and is now unlikely to make it into law in its present form.

Dressed in a blue suit and a pink tie, he told MPs that it was “a pleasure to be here and to be clean and well-fed”.

He also attended his Newmarket constituency.