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Hancock tells Covid inquiry that management of adult social care is “flawed”

Former health secretary Matt Hancock has blamed the organisation of social care for many of the care home Covid deaths.

Speaking to the Covid inquiry  he said that although the DHSC held overall accountability for social care in England, legal responsibility for the sector fell to local authorities. He told the inquiry  that the DHSC was well aware of failures in councils’ preparedness for a pandemic, describing it as “wholly inadequate”.

He explained: “I had the title and the accountability but I did not have the levers to act.” He went to describe this division of responsibility as the problem with how social care is organised in this country. He added: “The way we run adult social care is flawed. We are in nowhere near good enough shape.”

During the inquiry, Hancock admitted that the DHSC did not know even the basics about social care, including how many care homes were operating.  For future pandemics, he recommended that every health and social care setting should have their own stockpile of PPE paid for by the Government.

Commenting on the evidence given by Hancock to the inquiry, Unison head of care Gavin Edwards said: “A range of ministers systematically neglected social care, leaving it in a dreadful state at a critical time.

“[Hancock’s] actions left the care sector exposed to the devastating impact of the pandemic. Social care can be improved drastically now so the sector is more resilient in future.

“A properly funded national care service, delivered by local councils, using better trained and fairly paid staff, would ensure good quality care to all who need it.”


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