Northumberland nursing home boss angered by Boris Johnson's 'blaming' comments as she reveals the impact of Covid-19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comment that ‘too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures’ has been described as ‘a stab through the heart’.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 4:45 pm

Five residents of The Grange Nursing Home in Warkworth tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 despite the best efforts of staff.

Manager Liz Atkinson has now revealed the anger caused by the Prime Minister’s remark and launched a strong defence of the way it responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “It was very upsetting and disheartening to hear what he said.

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The Grange Nursing Home.

“Everyone here – as they have in other care homes around the country – has been through a heart-breaking time and I thought what he said was absolutely atrocious, a real stab through the heart.”

The Grange had its first cases of coronavirus confirmed on April 26, but it quickly spread.

“We had a massive outbreak within the home,” said Liz. “Within a week 95 per cent of the home tested positive so we took every measure possible for infection control.

“We had closed the home with total lockdown from March 17 and our staff had full PPE from the very beginning, even though that was not in the guidelines at that stage.

Margaret Douglas, a resident at The Grange Nursing Home in Warkworth, with staff Selina McNamara and Leigh Hearons.

“Our staff made huge sacrifices,” she added. “Some moved away from their families and children for six weeks.

“Every nurse was off with Covid symptoms or was Covid-positive at some point,” added Liz.

Mr Johnson made his comment in response to NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens calling for plans to adequately fund the social care sector to be in place within a year.

He said the crisis had shown the need to think about how to organise social care better.

Residents and staff at The Grange Nursing Home during lockdown.

"We discovered too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures in the way that they could have but we're learning lessons the whole time,” said Mr Johnson.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson had been pointing out that not enough was known about the virus in the early stages of the outbreak.

But Liz said: “It seems to me that he was blaming care homes. It’s simply not correct for Boris to say we weren’t following procedure.”

The Grange has been Covid-recovered since June 9.

Liz Atkinson, manager of The Grange Nursing Home.

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PPE being worn at The Grange Nursing Home.

Thank you.

Staff at The Grange putting on PPE.