James O'Brien proves Hancock directly contradicts himself over care homes

28 May 2021, 13:32

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien proves how Health Secretary Matt Hancock has directly contradicted himself during questions about his Covid care home response - playing a clip from yesterday's press conference and a clip from April 2020.

Former chief adviser Mr Cummings appeared before ministers to give evidence regarding the Government's early handling of the pandemic.

During the inquiry Mr Cummings said the Health Secretary should have been sacked for lying about care home Covid tests, claiming he is guilty of “criminal, disgraceful behaviour” that cost lives.

James played a clip from 15 April 2020 coronavirus press briefing where he confirmed that vulnerable residents in a care home would be able to get a test "immediately".

He told reporters at the time that there is enough capacity that "everybody in the social care system who needs a test [is] able to get one."

However in Mr Hancock's press briefing yesterday, he was asked if the lack of Covid tests for residents during April 2020 was his biggest regret.

He responded: "Because we didn't have the testing capacity at the start of the pandemic, it wasn't possible. What I'm very proud of is we built that testing capacity but it took time. It took me setting this target, which people didn't think I was going to meet, and because of the team effort we did meet that target and then we had the testing available to be able to put the policy in place."

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James reflected, "On 15 April 2020, he said everyone who needs a test can get one, yesterday he said in April 2020 that wasn't the case. The number of patients that were moved from hospital to care homes without being tested is estimated to be in the region 35,000."

He then clarified it was exactly 36,275 deaths involving care homes since the pandemic began.

"Thousands of people were discharged from hospital without being tested. There'll be no way of ever knowing how many of them actually brought Covid-19 to care homes.

"I think this is, in normal times, armageddon."

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He commented that even a doctor wrote in the Daily Telegraph about this grave issue, drawing the comparison of "plague-ridden corpses being catapulted over the ramparts of an enemy castle in the hope of infecting everybody inside."

He continued that if condemning words against the Government appear in right-wing media, then "it almost assumes a bigger weight."

James then traced back further to 12 April where, according to Dominic Cummings, one of the first things Boris Johnson asked of Matt Hancock when he emerged from hospital was "what on earth has happened with all these people in care homes?"

James quoted: "Hancock told us in the Cabinet Room that people were going back to be tested before they went back to care homes. What the hell happened?"

James called on listeners to give their personal experience of care homes during this period to ascertain the reality of what went on.

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