The Health Secretary was keen to push back on claims that the government had neglected care homes during the coronavirus pandemic. A “protective ring” had been thrown around the sector “from the very start”, Matt Hancock claimed back in mid-May.

Even at the time, few acquainted with the care home sector took the assertion seriously. Professor Martin Vernon, the NHS’s former National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care, even confessed he was shocked to see Hancock make a claim so far from reality. Some care home owners were incredulous at Hancock’s claim. Robert Kilgour, CEO of Renaissance Care Homes, says: “The claim would be laughable, were things not so deadly serious.”