Whatsapp messages exchanged by former health secretary Matt Hancock show that he appeared to reject expert advice when it came to testing care home residents for Covid-19. The leaked messages have been seen and revealed by The Telegraph.
Around 100,000 messages have been obtained as part of the publication’s wider investigation. The messages include exchanges between then health secretary Matt Hancock and other ministers during the height of the pandemic.
On April 24 2020, just over a month after the UK was placed into lockdown, Mr Hancock received messages from his office with scientific advice on testing. The advice was to “prioritise testing of asymptomatic staff and residents” in care homes which had experienced an outbreak of the virus.
The messages also depict the response Mr Hancock gave. He said: “This is ok so long as it does not get in the way of actually fulfilling the capacity in testing.”
The exchange has led to accusations of the health secretary being more concerned about testing targets rather than protecting people in care homes. Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted to say: “If details about how Hancock was more bothered about hitting his target on testing by possibly wasting tests that led to less capacity in care homes is true then imagine how those who lost loved ones in that week will feel. This lot it’s always headlines before front lines.”