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Call for Health Minister to apologise over ‘national scandal’ of care homes testing

22 May 2020 3 minutes Read
Health Minister Vaughan Gething

There have been calls for Health Minister Vaughan Gething to apologise over the Welsh Government’s handling of testing for Covid-19 in care homes.

Both main opposition parties have branded the Welsh Government’s handling of the issue a “national scandal”.

BBC Wales Investigates, broadcast last night, showed that residents entered care homes from risky settings untested.

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Helena Herklots, suggested that the Welsh Government should be examined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over delays to testing in care homes.

But Wales’s health minister, Vaughan Gething, said the advice and evidence was that there was “no value” in testing those who were not symptomatic.

“We changed the approach that we took on testing people who were leaving hospital on April 22 onwards,” he said.

However, Plaid Cymru Shadow Local Government Minister Delyth Jewell MS said that her party had been consistent in their call for testing people coming out of hospital into care homes and that the Health Minister should now apologise.

“The [Welsh Government] U-turns came too late for many people and the consequences of not implementing universal testing sooner has been laid bare in the testimonies seen in the BBC Wales program,” she said. “It’s nothing short of a national scandal.

“Vaughan Gething’s defensive and unsympathetic response to the BBC investigation was abhorrent. Rather than continue to defend his own terrible decisions he must now offer a full and unreserved apology to bereaved families and traumatised care home staff.

“Plaid Cymru supports the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales’s decision to refer the Welsh Government to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over delays to testing in care homes.

“The Welsh Government has a duty to publish the evidence that guided their decisions not to test everyone in care homes. I wrote to the First Minister three weeks ago to demand an explanation of his claim there was ‘no value’ in testing asymptomatic residents returning to care homes from hospitals, but am yet to receive a reply.

“The heartbreaking truth is that many beloved grandmothers and grandfathers would still be with us today if a universal testing policy had been in place in care homes from the start.”

 

‘Inquiry’

Yesterday the Wesh Conservatives also said that the deaths in care homes in Wales were a “national scandal”.

“Today, we read with a mix of sadness and anger that the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales believes a breach has taken place in terms of testing residents of care homes, and again we called for full testing of all care home residents weeks ago,” Janet Finch-Saunders MS, Shadow Minister for Older People, said.

“Although the Labour Government here is struggling enough as it is, I look forward to when an inquiry into this and other aspects of its response to the pandemic begins.

“What has happened in care homes will likely be remembered as a national scandal, and I dread to think how many lives could have been saved.”

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Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 year ago

Apology ? Waste of time, they get trained in how to utter useless mealy mouthed nonsense about “lessons learned”…….. and “hearts going out to families”…..” as we explore the unknown”. That last bit about being in the dark is largely true but they can never bring themselves to acknowledge that fact until later as they posture in an all knowing manner. Gething should go but the probability that the remainder of the Labour A.M/M.S population contains nothing better will keep him in post.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

It’s indicative of the state of politics in Wales at present that vaughan gething is still in a job. In any other country in the world his utterly inept management of covid-19 testing would have led to his resignation – or sacking – by now.

E Williams
E Williams
1 year ago

For anyone who’s been following this particular matter, it was pretty obvious what the consequence of transferring untested patients from hospitals to care homes would be. So to call it ‘Scientific advice’ is breathtaking. Probably what was discussed at the time was a need to crowbar older patients out of hospital beds by any means and to anywhere coupled with the dilemma of having absolutely no provision for testing before hand. That’s not science, that’s incompetence.

Nothing less than Vaughn Gethin’s immediate. resignation should be demanded. Before he does more harm.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago

Surely, the UK performance, pace Scotland, has been v. poor, second on the worldometer? Lesson as far as I can judge, is that
Wales learns its lesson well. And that lesson is, to become as independent as possible, so as to remove any meddling from
beyond. Prepare as best we can for the next one? The Africans did, with Ebola and it has stood them in good stead.

Ann Owen
Ann Owen
1 year ago

Is the Test, Track, trace, Isolate going to be a scandal too? Vaughan Gething confidently announced earlier this week that Wales will get its arrangements via the UK Portal. Has he learnt nothing, none of the lessons of this pandemic? Biggest lesson? UK Gov is completely inept, and many would say criminally negligent! VG can’t shove the responsibility onto them, it’s HIS responsibility to make sure that our TTTI regime works efficiently, that the arrangements are robust and that we have enough tests and trackers. It seems that the trackers are in place for England, although they have no idea… Read more »

Tudor Rees
Tudor Rees
1 year ago

I think in fairness we must suspend judgment as there is some evidence that the Welsh govt plans were derailed by a “Take Over Grab” by Public Health England. Let us support our government, at least for now, and help them get this wretched disease under control.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 year ago
Reply to  Tudor Rees

Meddling seems to have upset the boat, so I agree. Very quiet about Scotland, aren’t they?

max wallis
max wallis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tudor Rees

Wales submitted voluntarily. The WG and NHS Wales were involved in the 2016 test-run of Operation Cygnus that showed a Pandemic would overwhelm us, NHS stocks of PPE etc. quite inadequate. The WG reps did not report openly, just waited on the English Government to decide – to do virtually nothing. http://www.powysthb.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/1145/Board_Item_2.6_%20Pandemic%20flu%20Annual%20Report.pdf

Cambro
Cambro
1 year ago

Needs to go. Needed to go long before now.

max wallis
max wallis
1 year ago

Only a week ago, Nation.Cymru was running articles praising the Welsh Covid response compared with England’s. The BBC Wales’s factual investigation shows the opposite with respect to Care-homes. It appears a similar story could be told of elderly hospital patients discharged early to their own homes, untested for Covid and including some with Covid symptoms. Hospitals told Councils to get social-care packages for them double-quick, while their Covid guidance was issued late, with proper guidance issued only on 30 April. Council’s were left like care-homes to desperately seek supplies of PPE as Hospitals kept all the NHS stockpile for themselves.… Read more »

Paul Bobgriffterson
Paul Bobgriffterson
1 year ago

Frightening how Gething can still believe he can lead us through this. From day one when he said the Wales Scotland rugby could go ahead because there was no evidence of mass gatherings being a cause of the virus spreading even when the virus was spreading like wildfire throughout Europe, the feeling of dread and defeat was upon us. The testing farce, the neglect of our elderly, PPE etc etc. Where have our politicians from all parties been? You are all as guilty as Drakeford and Gething and I hope you get dragged down in the eventual, but far too… Read more »

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