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UK Dementia Congress 2020

10 Nov 2020

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No desk space at Number 10?

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I think most of us recognise that it is the nature of government never to admit to having made a mistake. Of course it is wonderful when some statesman or stateswoman puts up their hand and says “sorry I got it wrong” but this is so rare that we have come to take government’s refusal to accept responsibility when things go wrong as par for the course; we make our own judgment, however, and if we are still feeling cross enough when election time comes, we kick the responsibility-dodgers out of office.

The present incumbent at Number 10 is never going to admit that his team cocked-up badly over Covid-19 and it is perfectly understandable that he should be looking around to see where he might displace some of the culpability. The statutory bodies are some of the obvious scapegoats – deflecting acrimony onto the acronyms has always been a standard tactic – so SAGE and Public Health England have already come in for some stick.

But seeking to lay the blame for the avoidably high mortality in care homes at the feet of care providers is hitting way below the belt; having caused untold damage to social care though its inept and inappropriate responses to the pandemic, this government’s front man has now further undermined confidence in those who have overwhelmingly kept their heads while public servants at all levels have been losing theirs. This has gone far beyond the usual official repudiation of responsibility we have come to accept.

It was American president Harry S. Truman who placed a sign on his desk in the Oval Office saying “The buck stops here”. The current holder of the latchkey for Number 10 can duck and weave, and seek to blame others as much as he likes: I think the general response is going to be hard looks and stony stares.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

3 Replies to “No desk space at Number 10?”

  1. Hindsight shouldn’t overlook the fact that Covi-19 risked deaths as high as 500,000 and the unfettered priority was to protect/preserve NHS coping ability.

  2. A rush to judgement, whatever the source, is not only unseemly, it is also unhelpful. At this stage of proceedings, can anyone be absolutely sure that some care homes were not in any way culpable in relation to deaths from the coronavirus within their walls? Might there be evidence to support the PM’s allegation? And don’t sector leaders carry some weight of responsibility for their years-long campaign to persuade government that care homes are perfectly able to care for all manner of hospital patients? Could they have been over-egging the pudding? In any case, taking the binary position – if you’re not with us, you’re against us – is anything but illuminating. Probably best to wait and see.

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