Commenting on the evidence given to the Covid inquiry today (Wednesday) by former health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, UNISON head of care Gavin Edwards said:
“The Conservatives had been in power for ten years when Covid struck. But a range of ministers systematically neglected social care, leaving it in a dreadful state at a critical time.
“Matt Hancock is living in a different world. His actions left the care sector exposed to the devastating impact of the pandemic.
“He failed to make enough protective kit and testing available when staff and care home residents desperately needed it. His disregard for the most vulnerable cost thousands of lives.
“The government repeatedly ignored calls to improve the availability of sick pay so care workers didn’t lose out when ill or isolating. Ministers’ failure to act meant many staff continued to work, with shocking consequences.
“Nothing can right the many mistakes made by ministers three years ago. But social care can be improved drastically now so the sector is more resilient in future.
“A properly funded national care service, delivered by local councils, using better trained and fairly paid staff, would ensure good quality care to all who need it.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
The article Matt Hancock’s actions during the pandemic left the care sector exposed, says UNISON first appeared on the UNISON National site.