Poulter calls for immediate inquiry into care home deaths

Dr Dan Poulter MP

Dr Dan Poulter called for an immediate inquiry into how care homes were treated during the covid crisis. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has added his voice to calls for a full public inquiry into what happened in Britain's care homes during the first coronavirus lockdown.

The government had talked about putting up a shield around care homes.

However, health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said to MPs this week that he had told the prime minister everyone discharged into a care home would be tested once there was capacity to do so.

Mr Hancock had been answering questions from MPs following allegations that he had made misleading statements by former government advisor Dominic Cummings.

Dr Poulter, who vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus, said: “There is a strong case for conducting an immediate inquiry into Covid-related deaths in care homes.

"This would help ensure lessons are learnt, so that care homes are better protected ahead of any third wave.

“It is one of the most troubling aspects of this pandemic that the elderly have borne the brunt, despite being the most vulnerable in society.

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"We must ensure these mistakes are not repeated and that care homes are never again treated as an afterthought in pandemic planning.”

The APPG on coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic.

It has so far held more than 20 hearings and made over 40 recommendations.

The group is made up of 25 MPs and members of the House of Lords and is chaired by Oxford West Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.

Last week, it wrote to the prime minister calling for the chairman of the Covid inquiry to be picked on a cross-party basis, rather than being “hand-picked” by the government.

The letter, coordinated by Ms Moran, called for a formal cross-party committee to oversee the setting up of the inquiry to avoid political bias and ensure it can "command the confidence of the public and the support of Parliament and all four nations of the UK".

Signatories include Dr Poulter, Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Debbie Abrahams, SNP Commons health spokesperson Philippa Whitford and Plaid Cymru Commons leader Liz Saville Roberts.

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