Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
“Slow, inconsistent and negligent approach” to social care in pandemic
The Government’s “slow, inconsistent, and at times negligent approach” to social care in the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the “tragic impact” of “years of inattention, funding cuts and delayed reforms”, leaving the sector as a “poor relation” that has suffered badly in the pandemic. The Committee is demanding from Government a “3-point plan” by September, ahead of the second wave, covering health, the economy & procurement of medical supplies and equipment.
- Read the report summary
- Read the conclusions and recommendations
- Read the full report
- Read the full report (PDF)
This was illustrated early on by the “appalling error” committed when 25,000 patients were discharged from hospitals into care homes without ensuring all were first tested for COVID-19 – even after there was clear evidence of asymptomatic transmission of the virus.
Thanks to the commitment of thousands of staff and volunteers and by postponing a large amount of planned work, the NHS was – just – able to weather the “severe and immense” challenges to health and social care services in England and meet overall demand for COVID-19 treatment during the pandemic’s April peak – “unfortunately, it has been a very different story for adult social care”.
The Committee is particularly concerned about staff in health and social care “who have endured the strain and trauma of responding to COVID-19 for many months” and who are now expected to “cope with future peaks and also deal with the enormous backlogs that have built up”.
Failure to protect staff by providing adequate PPE has hit staff morale and confidence, while a lack of timely testing led to increased stress and absence. These same staff will be called upon in the event of a second peak and the NHS will need extra staff to deal with the backlog of treatment.
As well as its calls for a “second wave ready” plan, for health and the economy, the Committee expects an account to be provided in September of the spending under “policies designed to create additional capacity quickly” which – while necessary, especially in the haste the Government was acting in – have resulted in “a lack of transparency about costs and value for money”.
Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee, yesterday said:
“The failure to provide adequate PPE or testing to the millions of staff and volunteers who risked their lives to help us through the first peak of the crisis is a sad, low moment in our national response. Our care homes were effectively thrown to the wolves, and the virus has ravaged some of them.
“Vulnerable people surviving the first wave have been isolated for months, in the absence of a functional tracing and containment system. Yet there were bold and ambitious claims made by ministers about the roll out of test, track and trace that don’t match the reality.
“The deaths of people in care homes devastated many, many families. They and we don’t have time for promises and slogans, or exercises in blame. We weren’t prepared for the first wave. Putting all else aside, Government must use the narrow window we have now to plan for a second wave. Lives depend upon getting our response right.”
Latest News from
Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Committee pilots new ratings system to hold Government to account06/08/2020 09:25:00
An independent evaluation system that will give ratings on the Government’s progress against its pledges on health and social care targets is to be piloted.
New inquiry: Pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Building Safety Bill05/08/2020 13:05:00
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has announced a new inquiry to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Building Safety Bill.
Employment and COVID-19 inquiry launched by Lords Economic Affairs Committee03/08/2020 16:15:00
The Economic Affairs Committee launches its inquiry into employment and COVID-19 and invites written contributions to its investigation. The deadline for submissions is 10 September 2020.
Peers call for more transparency on trade deals03/08/2020 15:33:00
The International Agreements Sub-Committee has written to the Government outlining the concerns they’ve heard from stakeholders about some of the Government’s planned trade agreements and calls for “stronger powers for Parliament in scrutinising trade deals”.
Substantial reform of Universal Credit needed to protect the most vulnerable31/07/2020 11:25:00
The Economic Affairs Committee publishes its report 'Universal Credit isn't working: proposals for reform', which calls on the Government to make substantial changes to universal credit in order to protect the most vulnerable.
Non-tariff barriers require urgent consideration in the UK-EU negotiations30/07/2020 13:33:00
The EU Goods Sub-Committee, chaired by Baroness Verma, writes to Michael Gove about its inquiry on Beyond tariffs: facilitating future UK-EU trade in manufactured goods.
Conduct Committee publishes report on the Conduct of Lord Stone of Blackheath29/07/2020 15:33:00
The House of Lords Conduct Committee yesterday published a report by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE, the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, into the conduct of Lord Stone of Blackheath.
Chair calls on Government to learn lessons from gaps in worker and business support29/07/2020 12:43:00
Following a series of evidence hearings on the impact of coronavirus, with Ministers and representatives from businesses, trade unions, the self-employed, consumer and worker organisations, Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, has written to Secretary of State Alok Sharma outlining a number of key issues for the Government to address in its approach to support for business and workers as the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.