Did Health Secretary Matt Hancock create the Covid-19 crisis in care?

Credit: PA

Today Dominic Cummings finally admitted what carers have been telling me all along.

That care home residents - potentially thousands of them - were sacrificed in the scramble to protect the NHS.

The significance of his evidence cannot be overstated. The crisis in care was one of the greatest scandals of the pandemic.

Dominic Cummings criticised Matt Hancock in front of the combined Health and Technology committees Credit: PA

And right from the outset, carers told me that paramedics were turning up at their doors with patients discharged from hospital who had not been tested for Covid-19.

Today, Dominic Cummings claimed that in March 2020 the Health Secretary had categorically promised the Prime Minister that testing was indeed taking place.

Debbie Adams, who manages a care home in Luton, says Matt Hancock "needs to resign"

But, according to his evidence, Downing Street only discovered in April that this had not been true.

More than 30,000 residents would subsequently die with Covid-19 in care.

Last May, we traced the transmission of the virus through one home which had accepted a patient from hospital who hadn’t been tested, killing residents room by room as it spread.

And again that month, we uncovered how thousands of care home beds had been block booked by the NHS to take hospital patients with Covid-19.

25,000 would be discharged in total before routine testing was finally introduced in mid-April.

In September, three whistle-blowers in the NHS verified the story from their side too, telling me how care homes had been used as a “dumping ground” to protect the NHS.

And yet time and time again the government told me that wasn’t true.

Last July, the Health Secretary again insisted to me that a protective ring had been placed around care.

That if the virus had spread in homes, it was only because scientists hadn’t realised it could be transmitted by asymptomatic patients.

But today, Dominic Cummings accused him of lying. “The protective shield was complete nonsense,” he told MPs.

Matt Hancock is due to face the same committee in a fortnight and will respond but it is difficult to see how he can now remain as Health and Social Care Secretary given that accusation.

He is charged with one of the greatest failures of any minister in history. He will require an extraordinary defence.

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