BETTER GOVERNANCE WOULD HAVE SAVED MANY LIVES…
BETTER GOVERNANCE WOULD HAVE SAVED MANY LIVES
I don't know if you watched the Panorama programme last night that concentrated on the shocking excess death rates in Care Homes?
We have had some scandals in this country, including things like the Grenfell Tower Fire Disaster, but this one probably tops the list. It doesn't have the same visual impact as a huge tower block on fire. All of the deaths have occurred pretty much hidden away from public view but involving much greater numbers of people and certainly profoundly impacting on the lives of relatives and carers.
It would be an easy hit to blame everything on the current crop of Conservative Ministers but actually the roots of this problem go back very much further and are related to past government failure to get to grips with a problem that still persists today.
No previous government has got to grips with the fact that we have two entirely separate systems that are supposed to care for people. We have an NHS which mainly deals with fixing people when they get ill. We also have a care system, which is partly privately run but also run by local authorities.
For as long as I have been a County Councillor, I have heard people saying that the NHS and Social Services should be fully integrated so that you don't get competition or conflict between the two, whether it be who delivers the services or how it is paid for.
How exactly the ever increasing demands of an elderly population for care are going to be met has never been properly addressed. Successive governments have always found reasons for not sorting out the issue, most shamefully by Mrs May on the lead up to her disastrous General Election result.
There was never a "protective ring" put in place to protect care home staff or residents. On the contrary, 75% of patients were quickly discharged from hospital, without even a Covid-19 test, let alone a proper quarantine period, directly into Care Homes and seeding the virus in the most vulnerable settings in the country.
This was because of a Minister, in charge of the NHS, deciding what to do in the best interests of the NHS. He wanted to clear the decks for the expected surge in serious virus infections. Had the needs of Care Homes been properly considered (much more likely in an integrated service) then this would not have happened and many thousands of lives would have been saved.
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