Media coverage of the Commons’ Covid Report tore away Boris’s defence of his government’s handling of the Covid Crisis. ITV highlighted multiple incompetencies and serious errors and delays that cost lives; Sky said this was ‘A slap in the face’ for families of pandemic victims. Even the Daily Mail (12 October) slapped down the Government’s version of the events. We reprint the Mail’s report here.
The elderly were ‘just an afterthought’: Devastating report by MPs into Covid pandemic lays bare Government blunders, the £37bn test and trace fiasco… and the shocking decisions that left thousands to die in care homes
- First major inquiry into the Covid crisis says the tragic losses in care homes were among the highest in Europe
- The report finds that deaths could have been prevented but instead elderly were treated as ‘an afterthought’
- Finding is just one among catalogue of failings detailed in the inquiry by the health and science committees
- The report found test and trace system which cost Government £37billion was also branded ‘chaotic’ fiasco
Many thousands of care home residents died needlessly in the pandemic, a damning probe from MPs concludes today.
The first major inquiry into the Covid crisis says tragic losses in care homes were among the highest in Europe – and could have been prevented. Instead, the elderly were an ‘afterthought’.
The devastating finding is among a catalogue of failings detailed in a joint report from the health and science committees of the House of Commons.
The MPs say ministers were blinded by ‘groupthink’ among scientific advisers, who wrongly wanted to manage the spread of the virus, rather than suppress it.
They also castigate the ‘chaotic’ performance of the £37billion test and trace system.
Early decisions on lockdowns and social distancing rank as ‘one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced’.
The report blasts ‘light touch’ border controls when it was clear cases were coming from abroad.
The report is likely to anger families who lost loved ones and increase the pressure for the independent judge-led inquiry to begin as soon as possible. Other devastating findings include:
- The UK’s response was too ‘narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model’ that failed to learn lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola;
- This was a ‘serious early error’ when other countries were taking drastic action;
- The lack of a proper test and trace system early on meant a full lockdown was ‘inevitable’ and should have come sooner;
- Decision-making was dysfunctional with the exchange of important information between public bodies ‘inadequate’;
- Death rates among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and those with learning disabilities were unacceptably high.
Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, the Tory MPs who chair the two committees, said that while the vaccine drive had been ‘boldly planned and effectively executed’ there were also ‘big mistakes’.
One was that hospitals discharged patients into care homes without testing them for the virus because officials were focused on ‘protecting the NHS’.
The report describes Covid-19 as a ‘scourge of the elderly’ and says over-80s were 70 times more likely to die than those aged under 40. Yet in the first month of lockdown around 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes without being checked for Covid.
This had the devastating impact of ‘seeding’ the disease among the vulnerable. Almost one in four people who died from Covid-19 lived in a care home, with 41,675 residents succumbing to the virus up until this May.
The report notes: ‘The UK was not alone in suffering significant loss of life in care homes, but the tragic scale of loss was among the worst in Europe and could have been mitigated.’
This rapid discharge of people from hospitals into care homes ‘led to many thousands of deaths which could have been avoided’.
The inquiry also says Covid-19 exposed decades of underfunding and neglect of the entire social care system.
Extending to 151 pages, the report draws on evidence from former health secretary Matt Hancock, chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.
HAFSON reminds our readers that Keep Our NHS Public held a People’s Covid Inquiry earlier this year. Michael Mansfield QC, who led the the People’s Covid Inquiry, was on The World at One and gave an incisive critique of the Government’s failings re: a public inquiry.
You can listen here at KONP’s Facebook page: https://fb.watch/8BsGwqGHOx/