Older people were “catastrophically let down” by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, says the charity Age UK. 

In evidence seen by The Guardian newspaper to an inquiry run by the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, Age UK said the initial policy of discharging the elderly from hospital into care settings without being tested for the virus was a “terrible mistake”.

It said discharging people into care homes without testing was a “terrible mistake that was only rectified in mid-April”.

“Furthermore, while care homes were quick to reduce the number of visitors, many have been forced to rely on agency staff to sustain safe staffing levels. This certainly hasn’t helped, and, in some cases, it may well have facilitated the transmission of the virus between care settings,” the charity’s statement said.

The inquiry has received 900 submissions from individuals, charities and public bodies in two weeks and public hearings will be held online on Wednesdays and recommendations for the government are due to be made by the end of summer.

Date published: July 24, 2020

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