A National Audit Office report has found that 25,000 hospital patients were discharged to care homes without testing at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also shows that the Government failed to heed advice to build up stocks of PPE. Jeremy Hunt, the Commons Health Committee chair, said it was “extraordinary” that no one in Government appeared to consider the risk to care homes of transferring patients from hospitals without COVID-19 checks. And Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier said care home residents and staff were treated as an “afterthought”, with devastating consequences.

Responding to the report, Cllr Elaine Sherrington, Labours Adult Social Care spokesperson said “We knew from the information from China, back in March, that the elderly and vulnerable were most at risk, yet the Government did not prepare care homes for what was to come, such as supplying personal protective equipment for staff.

“The final indignity was to discharge Covid positive elderly people from hospital into care homes, thus spreading the infection. At the same time, the Government kept the death figures from care homes out of the official statistics.

“The result is that a third of the deaths in Bolton are happening in Care Homes. We have relatives who are now afraid to send their loved ones into Care Homes and in some cases are taking them out.

“The Government have failed in their duty of care, and the Tory Council need to explain why they blindly followed the Government line rather than doing things differently here.”

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