Analysis Exclusive

Exclusive: elderly C19 patients being sent back to nursing homes with a day’s supply of masks – or none

Hospitals remain desperately short of the type of personal protective equipment approved by World Health Organisation – and shortage is fuelling infection among most vulnerable

Care homes in the north-east of England have received a message from their local council telling them that elderly coronavirus patients will be sent back to them – with just a day’s supply of masks. However, the situation in most other parts of England is even worse.

Spain and other countries worst-hit by the virus have seen huge death tolls in nursing homes, with the virus spreading like wildfire among those most vulnerable to its lethal complications.

But Middlesbrough Borough Council (MBC) has written to the homes saying that hospitalised patients will be discharged and sent back with twenty masks, which local nursing staff say is enough for one staff member for a single day.

Terrifyingly, the phenomenon is at least an England-wide one and that MBC and the local James Cook University Hospital are doing more to protect residents and staff than many other councils and hospitals – and that the councils and hospitals are merely doing what they have been told to by the government.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said:

While individual care homes await delivery of more facemasks, the local hospital has made the gesture of providing each discharged COVID-19 patient from a care home with 20 facemasks.

This is an act that will help while care homes await delivery of more facemasks, which it is acknowledged are needed as soon as possible in care settings across the country.

However, a council insider described the situation as a nationwide one – and one with ‘absolutely terrifying’ consequences:

The local hospital is making a gesture, but a lot of hospitals are are discharging with nothing at all – and it’s no surprise, when the government still isn’t even delivering enough PPE for their own needs.

What James Cook (University Hospital) is doing may be next to nothing, but even that’s a stretch for them given the supply situation. In most places people are being sent back without any kind of PPE at all – and those councils and trusts are only doing what they’ve been told to.

And everyone knows what the result of putting people with the virus back into an environment full of the most vulnerable people is going to be.

It’s absolutely terrifying, but the government just seems to make claim after claim about what they’re providing. The claims are almost instantly disproven, but they just move on to the next one – and they’re so slow in actually taking any meaningful action that it beggars belief.

One local health worker told the SKWAWKBOX:

Forcing hospitals to send infected people back into care homes with no means of containing the virus is going to infect residents and the people caring for them. It’s the equivalent of pulling the pin on a grenade and throwing it into a room full of elderly people.

That’s basically what the government is doing. Their failure to start preparations when they had the opportunity is killing people and their failure to prepare now is going to kill even more. It’s unforgivable.

Local MP Andy McDonald said:

Elderly care is a hugely important link in the chain. If anyone is being sent back from hospital to a care home, it’s absolutely imperative for all the necessary PPE to be in place, because we know from existing cases how quickly it spreads.

There was a care home on the south coast where the virus spread at a rate of knots, so I’ll continue to raise this with the council’s strategic coordinating group and with the hospital directly.

But this is a countrywide issue and the government needs to get its act together, not just to claim PPE is being delivered to the NHS but really ensure it’s done. If there are any gaps where the virus can spread, that will quite literally be a disaster.

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  1. In the absence of a vaccine, the sensible approach is to test test test, trace trace, isolate, screen at ports, in particular at the most intense international transport hubs LHR and DBX Dubai before embarkation to the UK. Also sensible, would have been protective visors, aprons and masks for ALL frontline staff. Including social care staff. To have fewer is a false economy. To neglect full testing in care homes means ill residents being transferred to hospital and agency care staff carrying infection unknowingly to other care homes and hospitals. Underpaid agency staff on zero hour contracts tend to work “be exploited”, by many different agencies. The effect is as a boiling cauldron of contagion with ever connecting convection currents of Covid-19.

  2. The entire situation is FUBAR. It’s gone past the point of redemption; the horse has bolted

    Heads MUST roll. Literally.

    1. The government ASSUMED that mostly weak, sick, POOR, elderly and otherwise vulnerable people would be amongst the vast majority of fatalities. Their assumption of who is most likely to die is a correct assumption. But Johnson’s choice to go down that line is yet another despicable Tory choice. Like the Sun printing the most horrible lies against the victims of Hillsborough and against Stephen Lawrence … the list is too long.

      1. Aye, Doug. I was gonna write about that’s how the toerags’d view it, but thought it’d look a bit too ‘westminster bubble speak’.

        They had yet another professor on bbc this morning who started each & every bloody answer with: ‘So…’

        Almost makes me long for the days when dullard beckham was never off the Tv, saying ”y’know’ , no less than sixteen times in every sentence…

  3. Do you lie about everything
    Are you lying now
    How do we know your not lying

    These fuckers would make Campbell and Mandelson blush with embarrassment
    In parliament Labour leader calls a meeting with Uncle Festa and the Speaker,
    Makes it clear every time he lies to the house he will be called out

    40 new hospitals, 70,000 nurses 20,000 police 6,000 GP’s ask for monthly updates on progress by reputable agency

    Attack not so Free Press and their owners

    Change the language and the debate

    ‘You have a visceral hatred of the NHS and you are determined to run it into the ground and sell what’s left to Trumpton ‘

  4. It is clear from daily government press conferences that the Chief Medical Officers and chief Nurses at the Departments of Health and Public Health are Senior civil Servants with medical or nursing qualifications and exempt from regulation y the medical an nursing
    councils because they have signed the Official Secrets Act and cannot contradict the Minister or Prime Minister and therefore cannot be held to anyone other than their Minister or the PM.

    1. IT never stopped me when the public needed to know and the official secrets act was used by many in local government to “cover up” what the public needed to know.,and most of it was used to evade the truth regarding incompetence and behaviour in local the expense of those that payed the taxes.Johnson has just refined the ” bullshit “into an art form.

  5. Camilla’s husband Andrew Parker-Bowles has Covid-19. He says he got it at Cheltenham when he was seen “in close contact with” his old … well… call it squeeze – “Princess Anne” and a child of hers. Anne’s brother Charles got it too.
    Who got it from whom… when and with what? Who gave it to whom, where and how?…no, leave out the how.
    But when? In sequence, in parallel, or both? And, why don’t they tell Boris Johnson where they got ALL THOSE TEST KITS so quickly? Boris Johnson’s jokers & liars are making every ridiculous excuse for not having tests available four weeks ago for frontline staff.

    ASK Diana’s husband Charles. ASK Mr Parker Bowles’ husband Andrew. ASK Andrew’s object of dalliance or more CHARLES’s sister Anne. ASK the person Betty described as “that wicked wicked woman” – Camilla. Ask those four. They know where all the test kits are‼️‼️‼️

  6. Boris Johnson considered many people, even nurses, doctors & people who keep the country clean, EXPENDABLE, to BOOST the STOCK MARKET and “BONUSES” for suited bandits. Johnson’s expendables are people significant others. Significant to ANY of us. Loved by any of us. We ALL pay the almost unbearable cost of grief and collective loss. We are victims of political choices of Bim & Bam Tories. “Two cheeks of the same backside as George Galloway often says.”
    Blue & Red Tories have milked all of us 99% for the greed of their 1% chums. 🌹🌹🌹

  7. Some may be surprised by the source of this article.

    By a country mile, the greatest misstep has been the shambles over mass testing. If Britain is to emerge from this nightmare (relatively) quickly, it is vital we ramp up an expansive screening programme. The failure to order enough testing kits is simply unforgiveable. Let’s not beat about the bush: It has left the NHS with one hand tied behind its back.

    Early last month, ministers said 10,000 a day would be checked, rising swiftly to 25,000. In fact, the figure stands at a paltry 8,000. One in five doctors and nurses must sit idle because they or a family member have displayed symptoms – even if they’re fit as a fiddle.

    Mr Johnson says he is exasperated. Welcome to how the nation feels!

    No10 blames a global shortage of kits. Yet it is wilfully perverse that a Southampton-based company is churning out lorry-loads of swabs and shipping them around the world, including to India and the Middle East, while the UK Government dithers.

    What in blazes is stopping the Department of Health requisitioning this kit? A conveyor belt of ministers tells us coronavirus is like fighting a war. Shouldn’t they begin to act like it?

    Confusion also reigns with ‘game-changing’ antibody tests to show if someone’s immune and safe to return to work. Millions were supposed to be ready last week. Now it could be months.

    This is a shocking state of affairs. The Government must appoint as a matter of urgency a dedicated minister for testing – someone given carte blanche to crack the controversy.

    1. Only because it’s safe to publish such
      Never ever believe for one moment this would have been printed if there was a GE around the corner
      Ruthless unscrupulous 50 faced bastards

  8. Well iTs got to be bad news for Johnson and his misfit liars when the Huffington post Paul Waugh describes his hero Johnson’s blather and exaggeration…Coming from that Tory supporting writer of whom neo liberalism is a God then the games up for the whole bunch of pathological liar daily farce.Johsons core instinct in the election campaign was to avoid the media even though they worshiped the TORY party and hated the Socialist run Labour party(Corbyn).Now we are seeing the pack mentality of a hungry press turn on their government the one they worked so hard to deliver to the British public.

      1. RH
        Gp to BBC Sounds last night Rick Edward’s show 9.41 pm Professor David McCoy
        Talks of taking a regional approach and short time span before lockdown causes more problems than it solves

    1. Devi Sridhar is right: the lockdown provides the Government with time to minimise the deaths that are caused by its strategic failure to provide mass testing and then to apply epidemiological best practice- TEST-TARGETED ISOLATION.

      Good find RH. Thanks

      1. You are right, qwertboi that the key failures are strategic, not the day-to-day incidents that occupy so much airtime, and panic fodder. Have no doubt that if the immediate panic leads to a lesser outcome, the Tories will take credit. Oldest trick in the book.

        Those strategic failure are twofold :

        1. The longer term under-funding of the NHS
        2. The recent failure to plan adequately in terms of test ond other equipment after early signs of an epidemic.

        These are the issues that a left-wing critique should be focusing on, coupled with the obvious positives of a public NHS (note that Cuomo speaking in New York provided an implicit critique of the fragmented US system).

  9. “Every older person should die with dignity and respect. We should be the party, who sorts it out.” June 2019 J Hunt

  10. As soon as China locked-down Hubei province, a 12-December-2019-Labour-Government would have procured masses of Test Equipment, the (propriety) chemicals they needed to work and prepared plans for the urgent aggressive testing of the population as soon as it was required.

    But Sir Keir and his Remain obsessiveness made that impossible.

  11. Where is slimy starmer?

    Not heard a peep out of him for a while…Meanwhile, NHS staff go without testing & PPE; workers are going without basic protections, everything’s going to buggery and that prick’s in hiding until Saturday when he’ll crawl from under his rock.

    Makes me wanna puke.

  12. I hope that rock that the knight climbs from underneath,crushes him and saves the only party with enough active members(the Labour party)to stop Johnson and his anti government in their tracks.No one voted for euthanasia against the vunerable and we must stop them murdering our elderly,and our sick and our people trying to survive the odds on social security..ITs almost becoming acceptable to kill the vulnerable which in my book is an offence against humanity and life on this planet.

  13. ‘Care from cradle to grave’……OR…. ‘the vulnerable & the elderly are a price worth paying’. Testing; Testing; Testing….123 Keep ramping it up! Protect us from Boris & the Spartans. Not enough tests; not enough protective equipment; not enough ventilators; not enough intensive care nor hospital beds…..not enough action, only shallow, reassuring words & an uncritical MSM. How many more months will it take for Gov’t to get organised, but in the meantime people are dying & the economy closed.

    Who will pay the piper & how?

  14. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 is a statutory instrument and will prevent any mobilisation or protests.
    Also consider in its original form was for two years and it can be renewed in its current form.

    1. Sm you are correct and its chilling in the way its been nodded through on using the virus to destroy civil rights.Being a former member of the democracy movment I am well aware of how draconian a Tory or any establishment government operate against the will of the people.if they are not challanged on the streets were all true democracy is founded.


      The Ministry of Defence expects 3,000 military reservists to be called up for duty as part of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

      In a letter to employers with reservists on their books, assistant Chief of Defence Staff Simon Brooks-Ward said they would play “a critical part” in the newly-established COVID Support Force.

  15. Latest thinking, postulated today, is “Err, well, now we think the virus might be able to travel further through the air than the two metres we told you was safe.”
    Not even an “Oops, sorry.”
    I wrote a fucking month ago that the distance ‘droplets’ could travel would be dependent on air movement – ie in a breeze they’ll travel downwind far further and upwind hardly at all.
    I’ve got a GCSE woodwork – can I be a government expert on coronavirus?

    1. Missed your post about distance but I’ve been telling people if some people can spit cherry pips 30-odd feet it stands to reason a violent sneeze (And that’s another bugbear of mine… People that roar when they sneeze) could travel every bit as far.

      Also, the masks… some protection is better than none. If they can prevent aerosol spreading from the infected and providecaeven a meagre barrier from a viral load then that surely must reduce the chance of transmission.

  16. The rationalisation of healthcare for the elderly and those with long term conditions has been apparent for a number of years. Sadly it is no great surprise that these decisions are having to be made in a severely underfunded and understaffed NHS. Many doctors and consultants have had to have difficult decisions with patients about cost long before this outbreak. The grim reality is that the healthcare for all in times of need has been eroded for the many.

    I suspect that this outbreak will be used as a cover for many who have sadly passed away from other conditions over the course of the year or years ahead.

  17. Rule Britania! Well I have been contacted by the British Embassy in Phnom Penh Cambodia almost an hour ago and I have been offered a flight out of Phnom Penh to Zurich in approx 6hrs from now .The Swiss have arranged a flight for the Swiss and offered 40 places for the brits.The cost is unknown,but they will have to sign somthing before boarding.They will have to endure a night in Zurich and arrange their onward journey.Many of the passengers have been in a desperate situation and have run out of money for food and lodgings and are young and frightened.Hats off to the Swiss and thanks for the attempts by the British embassy to act like one.So its bon voyage to the expats and hope they all arrive Britain.and the Boris Johnson fiasco.

  18. Pertinent questions the BBC/MSM will never ask a Tory:

    How many NHS staff are now, as a result of the new testing regime, believed to have infected patients prior to becoming symptomatic and self-isolating – how many previously symptom-free patients were infected in the wards where those staff members worked – and how many of those patients have gone on to die of CV?

    When did the government first begin to try to source the essential chemical components of CV testing kits and when did the “bottleneck in the global supply chain” commence?

  19. The all-cause mortality rates for Europe for Week 13 have just been released.

    The current situation for Europe is that there is a general excess mortality, but significant variation between countries – including variation within the UK.

    It is also clear that the 65+ age group rate has a higher relative rate than than other age groups.

    In context, the latest rate for England is at about the same ‘high’lev el as the late 2019 peak and the 2018/19 peak (but heading upwards). It is currently lower than the 2016/17 and 2017/18 peaks. Scotland, Wales and NI are near average or lower.

  20. RH, I take it that you do accept that in those previous years no extraordinary measures were being taken – and that the figures just released are DESPITE today’s extraordinary measures?
    Staying home puts the population at lower risk of death not only from CV, but also from influenza, accident and many other unrelated causes surely?
    Doesn’t one have to assume that without the measures taken so far, today’s rate would be considerably higher?

    1. “Scotland, Wales and NI are near average or lower.”
      I suspect that if the figures for London and its commuter belt were separated from the rest of England we might well see a massive difference there too.
      I don’t think that should affect the national response.

    2. You notice I didn’t draw any specific conclusions from those figures – they are purely basic data.

      The isolation measures may have had some effect, even given the time-lag, and the rationale for spreading the load is clear, and one that I’ve always recognized. Which raises the question of whether the same measures should be employed in years like 2016/17, where there was a peak considerably greater than what we see now?

      As to the fact that much of the UK shows average mortality – I agree with you that the ‘London effect’ is likely to be a major component of the picture.

      How this will pan out – we will have to see. How much isolation is required is a matter of speculation, although certain things are clear – particularly the age gradient seen in the figures.

      Until a vaccine is available, the only immunity is that developed in the ‘herd’ by natural means – which, coupled with the issue of sustainability of current measures balanced against the increasing downsides over time poses massive questions.

      The main problem is that it will be impossible to draw definitive conclusions until way after the event.

      1. You made your conclusions clear in previous posts – I merely pointed out problems with placing too much reliance on statistical analysis and too little on reasoning.
        “…in years like 2016/17, where there was a peak considerably greater than what we see now” – will only be a question worth asking if we’re at least close to CV’s peak already.
        If we’re not at the peak or close to it 2016/17 is of no relevance.

      2. Statistical analysis is reasoning, David.

        In terms of the future, there is no certainty – just speculation.

        An overwhelming desire for one outcome at the expense of other scenarios isn’t reasoning – it’s denying that life is principally about probabilities and trade-offs.

        Planning for worst case scenarios isn’t an attractive option in most circumstances, and I write as someone who is in the most vulnerable group.

      3. … and you are right about earlier peaks. There is a possibility that they could be exceeded. But who actually demanded exceptional totalitarian measures at the equivalent point in 2017/18 as a preventative of worse?

        I’m not arguing for complacency – simply perspective, and the best data indicates that the effects of Covid-19 are less than initially feared for the normally healthy population, particularly below the age of 65-70.

        We could restrict car usage permanently to present levels and achieve a more significant decrease in mortality – in perpetuity.

        There isn’t any certainty – but that cuts both ways in terms of possible actions and consequences.

  21. In future response will be local and proportionate, so you will see certain areas carry on as normal
    There is also a limit to lockdown and we will want to know at what stage the preventative measures cause more problems than they are worth
    Sweden has effectively given autonomy to their Public Health body,
    Not a fucking Cockwomble allowed anywhere near the management of the situation

    1. That’s an important point, Doug. There’s a lot of concern throughout Europe about the consequences of this lockdown and the powers fearfully granted to untrustworthy representatives. Then there are the consequences of extended social paralysis ….

      Sweden will be an important reference point. I gather that it is under pressure to conform to the general accepted strategy. Currently it has no excess mortality – but that could be just a timing issue. And that’s the problem : we don’t have good data – or foresight.

      I don’t have firm views over the details of the best strategy, but the ramping up of panic certainly sets my antennae twitching. It’s the oldest trick in the book for scoundrels.

  22. Well RH Johnson’s Tory party are the scoundrels,but acting like lambs to the slaughter is one of the most disappointing traits of the over educated chattering classes.

    1. Don’t be plain silly, Joseph. It isn’t ‘socialism’.

      … and nor is paranoid resentment.

    2. I think,I prefer this opinion from one of the ‘over educated chattering classes” rather than witchcraft that endorses the establishment panic directive :

      “Professor John Oxford of Queen Mary University London, one of the world’s leading virologists and influenza specialists, comes to the following conclusion regarding Covid19: „Personally, I would say the best advice is to spend less time watching TV news which is sensational and not very good. Personally, I view this Covid outbreak as akin to a bad winter influenza epidemic. In this case we have had 8000 deaths this last year in the ‘at risk’ groups viz over 65% people with heart disease etc. I do not feel this current Covid will exceed this number. We are suffering from a media epidemic!“

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