A care home worker has blasted the government over a failure to provide guidance during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sandra Griffiths, a senior health care assistant at Beechlands care home in Loughton, said she was “very hurt” by the Prime Minister’s comments on Monday.

"More carers and residents would have survived if correct guidance was given earlier", she said.

Boris Johnson’s remarks came after he was asked what he made of NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens’ desire to see plans to adequately fund the adult social care sector within a year.

Mr Johnson said: “One of the things the crisis has shown is we need to think about how we organise our social care package better and how we make sure we look after people better who are in social care.

“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.”

Sarah, whose Alderton Hill care home has managed to keep Covid-19 free, said staff felt “forgotten” by the government.

“There was no guidance over accepting residents back from hospital”, she said. “We were not even told they must be tested at first, this all come out later once they realised that care homes were having residents come back from hospital with Covid-19.

Sarah says central government help in providing staff with testing was also a “joke”. “We were supported more by our head office and CQC.

“The government has definitely not provided good leadership”, she added. I feel more carers and residents would have survived if correct guidance was given earlier.

“We were forgotten until it was too late, we have worked so hard in our care home and are virus free due to our hard work and common sense but were really hurt by his comments.”

On Monday, Downing Street declined to apologise and instead Mr Johnson’s official spokesman tried to clarify the comments.

“The Prime Minister was pointing out that nobody knew what the correct procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time,” he said.

The Independent Care Group’s chairman Mike Padgham said it was “upsetting” for the PM to make such comments, and described them as “a real slap in the face for those workers after they have given and sacrificed so much”.

He said: “We hope he will reflect on those comments and see the incredible work the care sector has done in the recent months to care for older and vulnerable people, with late and conflicting advice and poor support in terms of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing during this awful pandemic.

“And we hope it will spur him into long-promised action to reform the sector and end the crisis in social care which left us so vulnerable to a virus like Covid-19.”

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