Hancock to face more questions over Cummings’ allegations

Health Ministers meeting
Health Ministers meeting (PA Wire)
23:31pm, Wed 09 Jun 2021
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The Health Secretary is expected to face further questions about accusations made by Dominic Cummings as he appears in front of a select committee on Thursday.

Matt Hancock was accused by the Prime Minister’s former chief aide of lying to Boris Johnson over coronavirus plans and being “disastrously incompetent”.

Among the explosive claims from Mr Cummings last month was that Mr Johnson was furious to discover that untested hospital patients had been discharged to care homes, alleging that Mr Hancock had told them both that people being discharged would be tested.

It comes as the Guardian reports that several of the UK’s biggest care home operators say they repeatedly warned the Department of Health about the risks of not testing such people in March 2020.

According to the paper, Care England raised concerns over “lack of testing in hospitals and in the care sector” with the Department of Health and Social Care “several times”.

The Guardian also reported the Care Providers Alliance told the Government to “prioritise testing for care residents” in March 2020 and emailed Mr Hancock directly to warn anyone discharged from hospital to social care settings “MUST be tested before discharge”.

Mr Hancock has since denied promising hospital to care home testing and told the Commons last month that it was not possible to test everyone leaving hospital for social care at the start of the pandemic because the capacity was not available.

He added “his recollection” was committing to delivering testing for people going from hospital into care homes “when we could do it”.

Care homes are likely to be the main topic of questioning during Thursday’s session of the Commons Health and Social Care committee.

Meanwhile Mr Cummings has been told by senior MPs that his allegations about Mr Hancock would be considered “unsubstantiated” if he failed to provide proof.

The controversial former adviser has already missed a deadline set by the two select committees he appeared before to back up his claims, it emerged on Wednesday.

Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt, who chair the Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees, wrote to the controversial aide setting a deadline of June 4.

Regarding his claims on Mr Hancock, they said: “We are sure you understand that without further evidence we have to consider these allegations as unsubstantiated.”

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