Matt Hancock, who resigned last month after being revealed to have links with Gina Coladangelo, an associate and non-executive director of the Department of Health, rejected advice from officials about testing capacity in April, May and June last year. Had given.
This includes over 42,000 care home resident deaths coronavirus in England and Wales According to the Office of National Statistics. The Care Quality Commission is expected to release data on deaths per care home this week.
Mr Hancock told a Downing Street press conference in May 2020 that every resident and care home worker would be tested every two weeks until early June. However, that promise hinged on having sufficient capacity for rapid test kits, which officials said would not be available for several months in the April, May and June meetings.
However, the former health secretary, who is still an MP, has repeatedly asked officials to “come back with a different answer” when he said the lack of supplies made it impossible to meet the government’s commitment .
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care did not respond prior to publication.
COVID-19 Testing shortages were exacerbated as a result of delays in the spring and summer of 2020 and then the withdrawal of lateral flow kits ordered from Randox. Supply problems were raised with Mr Hancock in April and May, before some randox test kits were withdrawn in June.
Still, Mr Hancock went ahead with a public commitment in May that was untenable and ultimately incomplete, officials said. One official claimed Mr Hancock had put additional pressure on staff because he had “promised more” publicly and at cabinet meetings.
Labor shadow social care minister Liz Kendall said: “It is concerning that the former health secretary’s promise to care for the home’s residents and families went against the advice of their own health experts.”
She said: “When the government finally begins its public inquiry into its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, it should be clear exactly what advice the minister received and when. The families of loved ones who died in care homes deserve to know the truth. “
randoxOfficials said it won a £133m contract to distribute the kits, which were intended to be a major provider of testing kits to homes and other health care settings, including hospitals. He said the over-reliance on the company directly contributed to delays in conducting routine tests in care homes.
In July 2020, about 750,000 test kits had to be recalled from Randox after swabs were found that were not sterile. Its original contract for test kits in March and a six-month extension for that contact were awarded without a competitive process.
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said that “from the outset” his body had called for “adult social care to be at the forefront of the government’s testing plan.” He added that testing, vaccination and PPE continue to protect the region.
Officials’ details about an impossible promise come after the former top aide of Downing Street, Dominic Cummings, told lawmakers that Mr Hancock had lied about taking tests before being discharged home to care for hospital patients. Mr Hancock has strongly denied that he lied about the matter.
It was also reported that the prime minister had described the former health secretary as “disappointing” in a WhatsApp message.