Thursday 16 July 2020 / 12:19 PM Keir Starmer / Social Care

Learn lessons, save lives: Starmer calls on Prime Minister to make social care a key focus of independent coronavirus inquiry

At a meeting with care workers in Nottinghamshire today, Keir Starmer has called on the Prime Minister to commit to making the crisis in social care a key focus for the independent inquiry into the UK’s response to coronavirus.

The Labour leader today condemned the Government’s failure to protect care homes during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic as a “national shame”. Starmer met yesterday with bereaved families of Covid-19 victims, including those who lost relatives in care homes.

The Government-commissioned Preparing for a challenging winter report published this week noted that ‘July and August must be a period of intense preparation’ and made a series of recommendations to improve the UK’s resilience to coronavirus ahead of the winter months.

It has emerged that previous warnings over the risks to social care during a pandemic were ignored. The leaked version of the Government’s Exercise Cygnus warned that there was “little attention paid’ to the care sector, and the Chief Executive of Care England revealed in May that the report’s “clear recommendations…haven’t been implemented.”

On his visit to Gedling, Nottinghamshire, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said:

“The Government’s failure to protect our care homes at the start of the pandemic was a national shame. I pay tribute to care staff who did everything they could but were left without tests or protective equipment.

“An independent inquiry was always inevitable. But the Prime Minister must now guarantee that social care will be a key area of focus for that inquiry.

“We also need action now ahead of a possible second wave this winter. We need to get to the bottom of what happened in care homes so that lessons can be learned, and lives can be saved. We cannot afford for the same mistakes to be made again.”