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Coronavirus: St Elizabeth's boss hits out at Boris Johnson's care home criticism

The chief executive of St Elizabeth's has added his voice to a chorus of disapproval after Boris Johnson criticised care homes.

The Prime Minister's comments drew a scathing response from Adam Sampson, who has been in charge at the Perry Green centre, a national charity supporting children and adults with epilepsy and other complex medical conditions, since 2018. His previous roles include seven years as chief executive of housing charity Shelter and the country's chief legal ombudsman.

After Mr Johnson said that "too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures" during the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Sampson took to Twitter to defend his staff.

St Elizabeth's chief executive Adam Sampson (37989855)
St Elizabeth's chief executive Adam Sampson (37989855)

He said: "St Elizabeth's managers have been scrupulous in following the guidance and our staff have thrown themselves bravely into the fight every day. I cannot stand by and watch them get blamed for political gain.

"Given the UK death toll, is Boris really the man to comment on effective pandemic management? And I'm not about to take lectures on adherence to the guidelines from Dominic Cummings' boss..."

His comments won endorsement from Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hussein-Ece, who replied: "You've done a fantastic job of protecting your young residents. It's an outrage the PM seeks to deflect responsibility for his incompetence on committed, hard-working care staff."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (37989888)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (37989888)

Mr Johnson made his controversial comments in response to NHS England's call for rapid reform of social care. He said it was "important to fund" the sector, but it needed to be "properly organised and supported".

Mark Adams, chief executive of the Community Integrated Care charity, told the BBC: "I think at best this was clumsy and cowardly.

"But to be honest with you, if this is genuinely his view, I think we're almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the Government sets the rules, we follow them, they don't like the results, they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best."

Almost 30,000 excess deaths were recorded in care homes in England and Wales in three months of lockdown. Two-thirds of them have been attributed to Covid-19, despite the Government's claim it threw a "protective ring" around residents.

Critics believe the Government focused on the NHS and that allowing hospital patients to be discharged to care homes without coronavirus testing and a shortage of personal protective equipment were major factors in the difficulties the care sector has faced.

Founded in 1905 and set in 68 acres near Much Hadham, St Elizabeth's comprises a special school, a specialist further education college and residential care with nursing for 102 adults, as well as an opportunities programme for residents and day clients, and round-the-clock health care provided by specialist nurses and therapists. It employs more than 600 people.

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