Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Update

Care home coronavirus outbreaks show need for PPE and testing for frontline staff

Responding to the daily press conference in which it was reported that 13.5% of care homes have had an outbreak of coronavirus, with 92 care homes declaring an outbreak in the past 24 hours alone, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

"Care homes provide a home for some of the most elderly and vulnerable people right across our country. Statistics showing that 13.5% of care homes have faced an outbreak of coronavirus are therefore incredibly worrying.

The Liberal Democrats have long been calling for the staff at care homes, along with NHS staff and social care workers, to be provided with adequate personal protective equipment as well as tests to diagnose if they have the virus.

These frontline workers are caring for the most vulnerable in our society. It's vital the government acts quickly before we see even more care homes fall into crisis.

With so many healthcare workers on the front line working without proper PPE or testing, these outbreaks may appear inevitable. The government needs to act and fast - to protect frontline staff as well as the most vulnerable in our society who they care for.

Parliament must be able to scrutinise plans for NHS app

Responding to the Health Secretary's statement at today's coronavirus press conference, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: 

"With more than 10,000 families now grieving for loved ones who have lost their lives due to Covid 19, we must continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus and protect those working on the frontline. 

Proposals laid out today to allow people to voluntarily provide data through an NHS app to improve contact tracing are likely to be crucial in enabling the UK to move out of the lockdown at some point in the future. This is therefore a welcome step to protect public health."

However, there must be complete transparency around how the data will be stored and used, coupled with watertight guarantees that data will be anonymised, kept for the shortest possible time, and won't be shared between government departments."

Any proposal on the use of mobile phone data or other technology to track people must also be scrutinised properly by MPs before a final decision is made, further strengthening our argument that Parliament should be recalled urgently."

Government must convene Emergency Vulnerable Children Taskforce 

Responding to reports that the lockdown is putting vulnerable children at risk, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"It’s deeply worrying that vulnerable children may not have the support they need whilst they are unable to attend school due to the lockdown.

Liberal Democrats have already successfully campaigned for school meals to continue over Easter, but this is just one of the many problems vulnerable children face. The Government must ensure the well-being of these children and their families during the lockdown."

Gavin Williamson must convene an Emergency Vulnerable Children Taskforce, including headteachers, police, NHS and social services to ensure best practice is being spread, we have absolute assurance that in these trying circumstances safeguarding our most vulnerable children is a top priority.

Government must expand emergency accommodation for people suffering domestic violence 

Responding to Priti Patel's announcement that the Home Office is working with charities to provide an extra £2m for domestic abuse support, Liberal Democrat's Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

"This announcement is of course welcome, I am relieved the that the Home Secretary is taking steps to tackle the terrifying rise in domestic violence. 

"However, the Home Secretary can still go much further. For far too many people, their home is not a place of safety. Many thousands of people are in the horrific position of being isolated in the same place as their abuser."

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Home Office to work closely with hoteliers so that their hotels can be used as emergency accommodation, with the Government covering the costs.

The Government must act now to ensure that anyone who feels threatened has a guarantee of shelter.

Government not doing enough to provide PPE to frontline staff

Responding to the Home Secretary's comments about failures to roll out the correct equipment to protect frontline workers in the NHS and social care, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“Throughout the crisis, Liberal Democrats have been supportive of all the efforts to beat coronavirus. We continue to agree with the experts that people must stay at home to save lives. 

Yet over the last few days, it has become clear that the Government is failing to deliver on key promises to NHS and social care workers, especially over supplies of protective equipment. Ministers look in danger of losing control.

We simply cannot send tens of thousands of frontline workers to care for people as they fight this virus without adequate protection."

The lack of sufficient protective equipment is becoming a national scandal; many health and care staff clearly feel they’ve been sold down the river. 

We are repeating therefore our call for Parliament to be recalled immediately, using online technology, so MPs can ask the questions people need answers to. We hope other opposition party leaders will now join us in this call. 

For the Government to maintain the support of the opposition, we must have complete transparency. That is the only way we can all play our part to protect our frontline workers and beat the coronavirus.


Follow this link for more info: http://www.libdems.org.uk/coronavirus-update-11