WARRINGTON council has thrown its full weight behind the town’s care homes and their dedicated staff, following recent criticism that many care homes nationally had not followed the correct coronavirus procedures.
Care homes in Warrington, supported by their tirelessly hard-working and committed staff, have been operating under extreme pressure and demand throughout the lockdown, providing invaluable care and support to some of the town’s most vulnerable, frail and elderly people.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “How anyone can level criticism at our care homes for how they have responded throughout this pandemic beggars belief. Our care homes have been at the sharp end of the pandemic response and have battled challenge after challenge – including having to digest hundreds of pages of constantly-changing guidance and also doing their utmost to source essential PPE, which was prioritised for other care settings.
“We could simply not have asked for more from our care providers and their staff. They have been magnificent, committed and given love and support when families weren’t able to do so. Care providers have worked positively with us right from the start of the pandemic, frequently sharing information with us to help create a clear picture of the care home response in Warrington. We all know that the number of people who have been taken by coronavirus in care homes is heartbreaking – but this cannot be attributed to our care homes or their staff, who have done their absolute best to manage the situation despite the hugely challenging circumstances.
Cabinet member for adult social care, Cllr Rebecca Knowles, added: “If we take an objective look at how our care homes have operated throughout the pandemic, the only possible conclusion we can draw is that they have been heroic in their response. They have very often put the residents they have cared for above their own families, and I share the disbelief across the sector that they have been criticised for apparently not following the coronavirus guidance.
“We must not forget that our care homes have continued to provide an essential service despite almost impossible circumstances. Our care homes have opened their doors to residents who have been discharged direct from hospital without testing, have fought tooth and nail for each item of PPE required, and have worked around the clock for our most vulnerable. There is broad agreement that adult social care is in need of urgent and serious reform. I hope we will now see a major rethink of our national approach, so that the needs of older and vulnerable people are met more successfully.
“Our staff in adult social care are very often the unsung heroes and deserve the same level of recognition as our fabulous NHS.”
The council’s statement follow Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying on Monday that “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures”.
His comments sparked fury in the care home sector, with one charity boss calling them “clumsy and cowardly”.
Health secretary Matt Hancock later said in parliament that care homes had done “amazing work” during the crisis and rejected Labour calls to apologise for the PM’s remark.
“The PM was explaining that because asymptomatic transmission was not known about, the correct procedures were therefore not known,” Mr Hancock told the House of Commons.
At a media briefing this morning his official spokesman avoided questions when asked eight times whether the PM regretted his comments and would apologise or withdraw his comments.