British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was strongly criticised for his care home commentsReuters

Boris Johnson was wrong to accuse care homes of not following procedures during the coronavirus crisis, Louise Morse, of Pilgrims’ Friend Society has said. 

The Prime Minister has been under pressure to apologise over his comments earlier this week when he said: “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have but we’re learning lessons the whole time.”

Morse, spokesperson for Pilgrims’ Friend Society, a Christian care home provider, called the Prime Minister’s comments “outrageous”. 

She said he appeared to be shifting the blame for the high number of Covid-19 deaths away from the NHS ahead of an expected inquiry into the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. 

She said that there had been “no clear procedures” for care homes to follow when the virus started to spread across the UK, and that PPE had been prioritised for the NHS, leaving care home providers like Pilgrims’ Friend Society having to find their own. 

“There was a lack of clear guidelines and no testing,” Morse said. 

She said in spite of the challenges, Pilgrims’ Friend Society had “coped well” during the crisis and managed to find their own PPE “thanks to our ingenious and dedicated staff”. 

“The Covid experience has shown how frail the social care system is, and earlier this week the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, said that a social care plan must be formed now,” she said.

“Social care and the NHS are both part of the UK health services, and until social care is properly addressed there will be pressure and failures in the NHS.”

Johnson has been criticised by the other parties over his comments.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow social care minister, said, “Staff who have gone the extra mile to care for elderly people, and experienced things the rest of us can only imagine, will be appalled to hear the prime minister’s comments. Boris Johnson should be taking responsibility for his actions and fixing the crisis in social care, not blaming care homes for this government’s mistakes.”

Ed Davey, interim Lib Dem leader, said Johnson was “trying to shift the blame to those who risked their lives caring for our loved ones”.

Challenged by Starmer on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said, “The last thing I wanted to do was blame care workers.”

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