Two disturbing reports – from Reuters and the Daily Telegraph – about what has led to the appalling loss of life in our care homes make for extremely disturbing reading.

May 16, 2020 | Uncategorized


Points scoring or seeking political advantage has no place in the midst of a national crisis. But we do have a duty to ask searching questions about how we have responded to the appalling death toll of Covid 19 in our care homes.

These two reports from Reuters and the Daily Telegraph make for extremely disturbing reading.


The article in the Daily telegraph was written by  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, its respected International Business Editor:

I have been silent on Covid-19 for a while. There was little to be gained from harrying the Government once it had abandoned the misadventure of herd immunity and was at least trying to get a grip.


But claims by both Downing Street and Public Health England that they “got it right” cannot be allowed to stand. Nor can the pretence that each stage of the containment policy is being fed out at just right time and at just the right calibration under the Jupiterian guidance of behavioural theorists.


There was never anything to be gained from delaying the lockdown once the brushfire had slipped control due to lack of testing/tracing. Each three days of prevarication meant a doubling of the infection case load. It was to sink deeper into the quagmire. Nor did the SAGE committee ever have a sufficient grasp of the basic facts to fine-tune the timing, let alone to play God.


The facts will out but it is hard to escape the conclusion that this secretive body – neither institutional fish nor fowl, with opaque responsibilities – gravely misjudged the speed of contagion long after the danger was obvious to virologists, immunologists, and epidemiologists across the world, and indeed to anybody paying attention.


Why does it make sense to impose a two-week quarantine on foreign arrivals at this late stage (excluding Ireland and France), rather than having done so when imported cases were first causing an explosion of infections in a virgin host community?


A Covid cardiologist at a top London hospital – friendly to Boris – has been so incensed by the daily charade of bogus omniscience that he vented his spleen in an email to me on Sunday night. It is a poignant indictment, so I pass along a few snippets.


Basically, every mistake that could have been made, was made. He likened the care home policy to the Siege of Caffa in 1346, that grim chapter of the Black Death when a Mongol army catapulted plague-ridden bodies over the walls.


“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.


“We let these people die without palliation. The official policy was not to visit care homes – and they didn’t (and still don’t). So, after infecting them with a disease that causes an unpleasant ending, we denied our elders access to a doctor – denied GP visits – and denied admission to hospital. Simple things like fluids, withheld. Effective palliation like syringe drivers, withheld.”


The public has yet to realise that the great quest for ventilators was worse than a red herring. The overuse of ventilators was itself killing people at a terrifying ratio and behind that lies another institutional failure.


“When the inquiry comes, it will show that many people died for lack of oxygen supply in hospitals, and this led to early intubation,” writes the doctor. “Boris survived because they gave him oxygen. High flow oxygen wasn’t available as a treatment option for all patients.”

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Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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