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Bucks care home boss angered by PM's comments

Boris Johnson seemed to place blame on care homes for their response to coronavirus.

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Oliver Sirrell at 12:30pm 8th July 2020. 4-minute read.

Bucks care home boss angered by PM's comments

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘slapping care workers in the face’ by a Buckinghamshire care home chief.

This comes after he made controversial comments about care homes allegedly not following coronavirus procedures.

Speaking earlier in the day on Monday, July 6, the Prime Minister said: “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have, but we’re learning lessons the whole time.”

This prompted a furious reaction from care home chiefs across the country, including Sarah Livedeas, CEO of the Fremantle Trust which runs nursing and residential homes across Buckinghamshire and neighbouring counties.

She took to Twitter on Monday evening to describe the ‘anger’ she felt at Mr Johnson’s comments.

She posted:

It's hard to describe how angry I feel at these comments. Absent or constantly changing guidance, often issued late at night, sometimes contradictory, with little understanding of care home environments – which procedures didn't we follow @BorisJohnson ?? https://t.co/7voFsEiVBG

— Sara Livadeas (@saralivadeas) July 6, 2020

Ms Livedeas’ tweet has so far been retweeted almost 700 times, with another 1,600 accounts ‘liking’ her post.

Responding to users who commented on her tweet, she added that Boris Johnson’s comments were “so demoralising”, “very disheartening” and “a slap in the face to care workers”.

A slap in the face for care workers

— Sara Livadeas (@saralivadeas) July 7, 2020

She also accused the government of “terrifying levels of incompetence” and laid into Mr Johnson for “blaming often the lowest paid and least unsupported”.

Terrifying levels of incompetence

— Sara Livadeas (@saralivadeas) July 6, 2020

We reached out to Ms Livedeas for further comment, and she explained why the Prime Minister’s comments had made her “very angry”.

She said:

“At the Fremantle Trust it was increasingly obvious to us from early March that we were facing a major threat from coronavirus and we started planning to manage the impending crisis.

“There was very little guidance at the time and we relied on the COVID-19 daily news briefings and snippets from the local authority who seemed to be as much in the dark as we were.

“By the time our employees and residents started to be affected by the virus we had plans in place to cope with reduced staffing levels, we had good supplies of PPE, which we had bought ourselves, and we were ready to treat any residents who became ill.

“I am sorry to say that a small number of our residents were affected by the virus and we were very sad to lose people in such unforeseen circumstances."

She added that their care teams have been 'absolutely amazing' in the way that they coped, supporting each other and the people they look after and their families.

Sarah continued:

“To hear that Boris Johnson had the audacity to say that care homes were not following procedures made me very angry.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was the constantly changing guidance, often issued late at night, sometimes contradictory and written by people who had obviously never set foot inside a care home.

“Many of the things that the government has said about the support provided to care homes is simply not true.

“However, I am very proud of the way that employees have stepped up to the challenge.

“The local authority in Buckinghamshire has been very supportive and I am grateful to our families and friends for the confidence they have shown in the Fremantle Trust throughout this very difficult time.”

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