UK health minister rejects allegations over COVID-19 failures made by former PM aide

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied allegations made by a former top advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying there has never been a national protective equipment shortage and the government follows clinical guidelines for nursing homes.

Johnson’s former advisor Dominic Cummings said last month that Hancock lied repeatedly at government meetings on COVID-19 and called for his dismissal. Hancock denies Cummings’ allegations. Continue reading

“It is significant that no evidence has been presented,” Hancock said Thursday at a parliamentary special committee hearing, adding that he never said anything to Johnson that he knew was untrue.

Cummings said Hancock said people would be tested before they were released to nursing homes, which then didn’t. Continue reading

On Thursday, Hancock said the policy is that people be tested when tests are available.

“We followed clinical advice on nursing home policy,” he said.

He also defended his personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement record.

“Despite local challenges, and I do not deny that there have been challenges in individual areas, there has never been a national shortage of PPE,” he said.

Cummings said Hancock said that during the first peak of the pandemic, all patients received the treatment they needed, contrary to briefings from government health professionals.

Hancock said he checked with the officials concerned and confessed to what he said.

“I have absolutely said, both privately and publicly, that everyone is getting the COVID treatment they need,” Hancock said.

“I went out of the way to ask the chief medical officer and chief scientific advisor. There was no point where I was told that people weren’t getting the treatment they needed.”

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