May 22, 2020
According to the official numbers, more than 11,600 people have died from coronavirus in care homes across the UK.
Britain’s justice secretary on Wednesday admitted that the government had prioritized the National Health Service over elder care homes.
The government’s decision to free up bed space in the NHS by moving elderly patients into care homes as soon as possible has dominated debate in Britain over the past few days.
“WE’VE SEEN A HUGE TRAGEDY”
“I think we needed to make a choice about testing and we did decide to focus upon the NHS,” Robert Buckland told Sky News. “The issue with care homes is that we’ve got many thousands of different providers, different settings, there have been lots of examples of care homes that have mercifully stayed infection free, but sadly far too many cases of infection and then death.”
He added: “We’ve seen a huge tragedy in our care homes which is a great regret. I think every country in the world will look back and say there are things we could have done differently.”
Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, welcomed the honesty, despite the policy being controversial.
“In many ways I can understand why the government prioritized the NHS,” he said, adding that he did not mean to criticize them. “But I think with hindsight what we’ve seen is that care homes are very much at the epicenter of this pandemic,” Green said, adding he hopes the government learns “from that experience and start shifting their focus onto care homes.”