Hancock hoo-ha is ultimately just hot air


Tim Probert

Online Sales Executive Matthew Moore

Journal Administration

Katy Cockle Design

Steven Dillon Publisher

Geoff King

Publishing Director

Trevor Moon

THE CARE HOME ENVIRONMENT is published monthly by Step Communications Ltd, Step House, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3DR, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1892 779999 Fax: +44 (0)1892 616177 Email: Web:

Welcome to the June edition of The Care Home Environment. In recent days, the former chief advisor to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings and in turn Health Secretary Matt Hancock have generated plenty of column inches about the government’s Covid-19 response in the early days of the pandemic. As has been well publicised, Cummings effectively blamed Hancock for around

25,000 hospital patients being discharged to care homes in England before the government introduced mandatory testing in mid-April. Cummings accused Hancock of lying by telling Boris Johnson that testing would be

introduced before then; Hancock denied he had misled the Prime Minister. It was only a matter of time before the issue of discharged hospital patients into care

homes during the peak of the first wave would return to haunt the government. Yet while it is a source of considerable distress for many, this issue paints only a small picture of the impact on care homes from Covid-19.

It was only a matter of time before the issue of discharged hospital patients into care homes during the peak of the first wave would return to haunt the government

Indeed, figures published by Public Health England identified 97 care home outbreaks

involving 804 care home residents and 286 deaths in England due to hospital-associated seeding, i.e. where patients were discharged into care homes. The report only looked at those confirmed with a positive Covid test and the majority

of the hospital-seeded care home outbreaks identified were in March to mid-April 2020 – a time when testing of patients was, of course, scarce. Even if a robust testing regime was in place, however, Covid-19 would still have spread in

care homes given asymptomatic carers – many of who work for agencies across multiple care settings - were unwittingly spreading it in the face of high community transmission. Furthermore, the fuss over Hancock and hospital patients ignores the disproportionate

ISSN NO. 2398-3280

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toll of excess deaths among care home residents that occurred during the first wave from other causes. In the end, the attempted political assassination of the Health Secretary is a distraction

from the big picture about social care, Covid-19 and the government: that the sector was in a highly vulnerable position and the pandemic should be the spur to long-awaited reform promised for a generation to avoid a repeat.. Enjoy the magazine.

Tim Probert • Editor

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