Care homes will be able to allow visitors over Christmas, says Matt Hancock 1 year ago

Care homes will be able to allow visitors over Christmas, says Matt Hancock

Hancock made his first GMB appearance for 201 days

Care homes will be free to allow visitors over Christmas, Matt Hancock told Good Morning Britain on Monday.

Advertisement

The health secretary was the first government minister to appear on the show for 201 days, notably immediately after the resignation of senior government advisor Dominic Cummings.

Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Hancock said testing would (hopefully) be available to family members of care home patients over the festive period.

He stressed that local councils and the owners of the care homes have the final say on whether to allow visitors or not, but said the facilities to allow visitors will hopefully be in place.

Advertisement

“I hope to have that in place for all care homes by Christmas," he said.

Throughout the pandemic, the care homes that have allowed visits have limited them to prison style window visits, outdoor meetings or in some cases not allowed them at all.

Hancock acknowledged the heartbreaking nature of not being able to visit loved ones suffering from illness, but explained: “When this disease gets into our homes we know that people in care homes are particularly vulnerable to it.”

This all sounds grand but care home workers will not have forgotten in July when Boris Johnson blamed care homes for deaths from coronavirus inside their homes.

Advertisement

“We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have,” the prime minister claimed, after Matt Hancock discharged 25,000 hospital patients into care settings without bothering to test them first.

A post-Christmas surge could see a similar conversation had, but public goodwill towards the government's efforts to get control of the virus is waning very thin.