HEREFORDSHIRE Council has hit back after he Prime Minister said “too many” care homes did not properly follow procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson said lessons are being learned after appearing to cast some blame on care homes as they responded to the Covid-19 outbreak, but Herefordshire Council said homes in Herefordshire responded with "the highest level of bravery and professionalism" throughout the pandemic.

Cabinet member for adults and wellbeing Councillor Pauline Crockett said: “Herefordshire has so far experienced the sad loss of 60 people in care homes across the county.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones, and we continue to do all we can to prevent more people and families from suffering.

"Care homes and care providers in Herefordshire have responded with the highest level of bravery and professionalism throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and continue to provide the highest quality of care under difficult circumstances.

"By no means are deaths in care homes a reflection of the quality of care provided by a hard working care sector.

“Herefordshire Council continues to work closely with care homes and providers to provide high volumes of PPE to help keep residents safe and to protect staff.

"Support for the care sector from government was slow and the guidance offered was confusing and changing almost daily. Shifting the blame this way towards local care providers shows poor judgement.

"In my view, the response from all of our care providers, including care homes has been nothing short of amazing.”

The council added it "strongly rejects" the Prime Minister's comments he made on Monday.


When asked what he made of NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens’ wish 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.

“Most important is to fund them properly… but we will also be looking at ways to make sure the care sector long term is properly organised and supported.”

The comments were widely condemned, but Downing Street declined to apologise. 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.


Pressed on whether Mr Johnson would like to apologise or retract the comments, the spokesman said: “As I’ve just set out, the PM thinks that throughout the pandemic care homes have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances.”

It comes as latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the coronavirus death toll in Herefordshire’s care homes has risen by one in the most recent week.

The weekly figures from ONS show that 123 deaths involving Covid-19 were provisionally registered in Herefordshire up to July 4.

Of those, 67 happened outside hospital – including 60 in care homes and four at private homes. A further three deaths were in hospices.

No deaths have been recorded at “other communal establishments”.

The number of deaths in care homes was one higher than at the end of the previous week.

The latest figures, based on where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, include deaths that happened up to June 26 but were registered up to eight days later.

Overall in England and Wales, there were 606 deaths involving Covid-19 in the week up to June 26 – the lowest number since the week ending March 27.

There have been 50,219 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to June 26 (and registered by July 4), with 31,761 in hospitals, 14,852 in care homes, 2,288 in private homes, 691 in hospices, 223 in other communal establishments and 185 elsewhere.