Ministers faced fresh allegations on Wednesday of failing to prepare care homes for a pandemic, as it emerged that COVID-19 may have killed 22,000 residents in England and Wales – more than twice the official toll.
Council social care directors in England warned the government two years ago, in a series of detailed reports, about care homes’ exposure to a pandemic, the Guardian has learned.
They called for better supply plans for personal protective equipment (PPE) – warning that “demand for PPE could rapidly outstrip supply” – plus improved infection control and a system to enlist volunteers to help services expected to be stretched to breaking point.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), which represents directors of adult social services in England, told the Guardian it carried out the work to improve government planning for a flu pandemic at the request of the Department of Health and Social Care. But it said: “We are not aware of whether government departments picked up on any of the recommendations set out.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “As the public would expect, we regularly test our pandemic plans – allowing us to rapidly respond to this unprecedented crisis. Our planning helped prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and means we are past the peak of the virus.”
Source: Guardian, 13 May 2020