Hospital bosses have accused Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer of making the NHS a scapegoat for the Covid-19 crisis in the country’s care homes.
NHS Providers has written to both the prime minister and the new Labour leader to urge them to end the “political blame game” over the issue.
The Government is facing questions why patients were discharged from hospitals to care homes at the height of the outbreak, without being tested for the disease.
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On Wednesday the prime minister said no patient had left hospital without the consent of their doctor.
The row has been prompted by the high numbers of deaths in care homes, a problem which has been compounded by a lack of tests and personal protective equipment (PPE).
NHS providers, which represents every hospital, community, mental health and ambulance trust in England said there should be an open debate about the impact of coronavirus on care homes.
But it said that for politicians to suggest that NHS staff knowingly and systematically discharged confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients into such homes was “damaging and simply not true”.
The letter also warns the move could be seen as an attempt to deflect attention away from important questions about the level of support offered to care homes.