Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/nclexion/public_html/wp-content/themes/jnews/class/ContentTag.php on line 47
Case numbers of Covid-19 are still thankfully going down, as are deaths, but the government already seems to have fired the starting gun in the blame game.
On Monday, Boris Johnson appeared to blame care homes for the almost 20,000 fatalities from coronavirus in the sector, suggesting some had not followed guidelines properly.
“Care home staff and social care leaders have angrily rejected his comments”
“We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have,” the prime minister said in an interview.
Needless to say, care home staff and social care leaders have angrily rejected his comments, while political opponents have pointed to the earlier lack of personal protective equipment in the sector.
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, said: “Care providers have moved to adopt these new procedures consistently, at pace and with integrity.”
Meanwhile, Mike Padgham, head of the Independent Care Group, wisely said: “We should not be getting into the blame game and it is wrong to criticise care and nursing homes at this time.”
Mr Johnson’s comments were, at the very least, clumsy but right now feel deeply insulting to a part of the nursing and care workforce that has been hit so hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those who feel wronged is Grainne Wokes, a care home manager at Methodist Homes in Buckinghamshire, who has written candidly and eloquently about her feelings on Mr Johnson’s choice of words for Nursing Times.
In an opinion piece published on our website this week, she said: “The comments made directly by him were an insult to those on my team and across social care who found themselves in hospital and were very poorly.
“Residents in care homes are like family to those of us who work there. This means that we are still grieving for this huge loss, a loss that I hope never to experience again,” she said.
She went on to say she “strongly disputes” what Mr Johnson said and highlighted that she had subsequently invited him to come and visit her care home to see inside the sector for himself.
This, she said, would give him the chance to “meet with the staff and residents who endured Covid-19, and speak to those who worked tirelessly every day to maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone around them while grieving for those that died in our care”.
I really hope that the prime minister takes up Ms Wokes on her offer, though I somehow doubt that he will, unfortunately.
Right now, as the country pauses for breath after lockdown and waits to see what happens next, the prime minster should be applauding those in the care sector, not bashing them.
He also needs to focus urgently on building capacity in the health and care sector, including an adequate stockpile of PPE, so that staff feel properly prepared and safe ahead of any second wave.
Casually pointing the finger at an underfunded sector during a television interview is not the way to analyse why the sector has been hit so heavily by Covid-19.
There will be plenty of time to establish exactly what led to our catastrophic mortality rates via a independent inquiry on the country’s response to Covid-19, which is surely the grown-up way to learn and move on from this crisis.
Last chance to enter our awards
I also wanted to highlight that there is still time left to enter both the Nursing Times Workforce Awards and the 2020 Nursing Times Awards, though we are approaching the final cut-off dates.
What with the challenge of Covid-19 and it being the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, our awards represent an opportunity to celebrate the huge achievements of the profession in 2020.
Our Workforce Awards in particular have just a few days left for entering and include categories such as Best Employer for Staff Recognition and Best UK Employer of the Year for Nursing Staff.
If you have a great initiative, innovation, team or colleague that you think deserves one of our awards, please help us share that good work through our awards.
If you have already begun an entry, please make sure the work you have already put into it counts by submitting it and to have a chance of winning. Good luck!