Rachael Maskell MP, York Central
Rachael Maskell MP, York Central

Labour MP, Rachael Maskell and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group ​of Councillors, Anna Perrett, have been pressing the Government and Council for greater transparency over COVID-19 in care homes, and are concerned that the public are not being provided with a full picture as to what is going on.

In response to care home staff and domiciliary care staff raising concerns with the MP, Rachael Maskell phoned all the care providers in her constituency, and passed these concerns on to the Care Quality Commission, City of York Council and where necessary Vale of York CCG. She welcomes the increased scrutiny of care homes, which should have commenced earlier, and how better training in the use of PPE and practice within a home is now taking place, but is concerned that earlier intervention could have saved lives.

Ms Maskell has also asked the Council to ensure that there are ways that all staff can raise safety concerns independently. Rachael has expressed fears how patients discharged from hospital with COVID-19 returned to care providers, rather than first isolating in transitional care facilities, and hopes that this will be utilised in all cases. Again, the delay in this provision places serious question on the pace of response to the crisis.

Further, Ms Maskell believes that the public has a right to know how many cases of COVID-19 have been identified and how many people have sadly died of COVID-19 or ‘possible’ COVID-19 from each care home, whether they have died in the care home or subsequently in hospital. She is also keen to hear if those who died of other illnesses should have received escalated medical intervention, earlier. She understands from relatives and care staff that there have been a number of serious outbreaks in care homes, but this information has not been confirmed by City of York Council. She believes that families who have relatives residing in one of York’s care homes should be provided with clear information about infection at that care home, since they may want to take further measures to protect their loves ones.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I have been requesting information locally and in Parliament to highlight the serious impact that COVID-19 is having on York residents in receipt of care. Much of this information is yet to be forthcoming. I believe that the public have a right to know what is going on, not least if they have a relative living in one of York’s care facilities. So much has been asked of the public over the last 2½ months as a result of this pandemic, however they also need to have a clear insight as to what it is going on.

“I have been contacted by residents’ families who have reported that COVID-19 was present at the home of their relatives, normally a parent, and wanted confirmation. In one case, a parent subsequently died of COVID-19; they wanted to protect their parent, now it is too late.  

“I call on City of York Council and the Government to be far more transparent about what is happening in our care homes. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19, then we need to know. It is important that we understand why this has been and how better protection is put in place. I will continue to ask the difficult questions until I get answers.”

Cllr Anna Perrett added:
“It is clear that care staff have been on the front line during this crisis, and worked round the clock to care for some of our most vulnerable residents despite experiencing the most challenging conditions of their career. The government did not prioritise the care sector at the outbreak and we want to establish what steps were taken by the council to protect both the residents and the staff within our local care homes.”

To read the article on the York Press website, click on the link below:

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