Folkestone and Hythe Constituency Labour Party calls for a public inquiry into care home deaths and the handling of Covid-19 in Kent

Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party is calling for a public inquiry into care home deaths and the handling of Covid-19 across Kent.

Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party would like to express its condolences to the families of those who have sadly passed away in care homes in this constituency and elsewhere. The Party is saddened to hear that a local care home faces closure after a resident who had been admitted to hospital with suspected Covid-19 was discharged the following day, before their test results were actually known. It has been suggested that the care home was pressured to take him back, in accordance with government guidance. This is unacceptable and highlights possible structural failings in the government guidelines.

A spokesperson for the CLP said: “Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, claimed that the government had put a “protective ring” around the care home sector. We therefore want questions answered about the decision not to “shield” older people from Covid-19 sooner, and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care home staff. We want to know why a particular care home in the constituency has had 9 residents die of Covid-19.

Roger Gough, the Conservative Leader of Kent County Council, said in May: “We will not let up in our focus to procure and deliver supplies to support the safe provision of services to the most vulnerable people in the county”. Sadly this statement seems meaningless in the light of these unnecessary deaths. The Government has said it has made more than £3bn available to local authorities for the Care Sector to deal with Covid-19. We would like to know what this money has been spent on, when, and where?

Folkestone Town and District Councillor Jackie Meade (Lab) said: “Despite repeated promises regarding safeguarding care homes, this is a tragic failure. This should never have happened, and I am in contact with Roger the care home owner and am supporting his call for an investigation. My heart goes out to all the residents, staff and families who have been affected and those responsible for pushing Covid-19 elderly back out to care homes need to be called to task to ensure that this can never happen again.” Cllr Meade added: “Questions need to be asked in order to learn from these mistakes in the future. The public have a right to know these answers, as do the families of those affected”.

The Labour Party backs the call for a public inquiry by the management of Pelham House Care Home and The National Care Association. Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party also supports the call by the Kent County Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee that there should be a probe into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kent.