This is a brief message.
I've been disconcerted to see a wave of suspicion in the press, from the highest quarters, that implies care homes are somehow out of government control, and mainly in the private sector, so something will need to be done.
I don't understand why successive governments who have worked so hard to make the care home system as it is now worry about how it works. They shut the geriatric hospitals. Through austerity measures they reduced what local authorities could invest in care homes. They devised systems to encourage people to start care home businesses. And now, some of them don't like it.
It's a bit late. This change has been happening for about 50 years. Why start worrying now?
There have been some reports of increased deaths in care homes during the current crisis. A care home is like a hospice, and so deaths are often expected. Increased numbers of deaths are to be expected during a pandemic, whatever care is taken. Care homes have been asked to take new residents out of the NHS who may often have already been affected. It is hard to tell because the older person has unusual symptoms, which are hard to spot, and testing has not always been possible or available. It's hard to insert a testing probe into the nose and throat of a person with dementia. And up to 90% of people in care homes have dementia and many other conditions that make them frail.
To imply that any of this is caused by care homes being out of control of the government is wrong. To imply that they are in any sense out of control at all is shocking.
End of message.