With Dominic Cumming's evidence to Parliament about government failings during the pandemic dominating the news, Nicola Richards has been interviewed by Sky, ITV, the Mirror and the Mail.
There were serious government failings in their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protection of vulnerable people in care homes across the country. The numbers of care home deaths due to this horrific virus are tragic and my heart goes out to all the families affected. It’s vital that every victim is counted.
Palms Row Health Care - and the Sheffield Care Association - have been at the forefront of highlighting how when the crisis hit, care homes were fighting for residents’ lives like never before.
Care homes, which act as an extension of the NHS provide valuable community care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society but we don’t feel we were protected in the way the NHS was. We kept hearing assurances that additional costs for infection control would be met and we’d get more support, but without guarantees we were working blind.
Communications from the government and Public Health England were extremely disjointed throughout the crisis which added to the pressures we were under. We voiced our concerns again and again about the lack of support we’ve received but we’ve felt very alone.
I wrote to the Minister on numerous occasions throughout the pandemic and only got an acknowledgment of the concerns I raised this week!
Care home providers, carers, residents and their families across the country deserve a sincere apology.
Sadly the Government has continually delayed publication of a social care Green Paper - going as far back as 2017. The current Secretary of State has even indicated that it may be scrapped altogether. This means that front line care workers and the owners of care homes have no assurance that their vital services will be fully funded and fully resourced in the long term.