A Labour MP who was sacked for speaking out about PPE shortages in a retirement home she was working in, has hit back at UK government ministers for casting doubt on her first-hand experiences, amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Nadia Whittome –Britain’s youngest MP– revealed on Wednesday evening that ExtraCare, which runs the retirement home she was volunteering in, Lark Hill, had “asked her not to return” due to a BBC Newsnight appearance in which she claimed staff there were in short supply of vital personal protective equipment (PPE).
The 23-year-old politician, who represents Nottingham East, took to Twitter on Thursday morning to accuse Tory ministers of attempting to shut her down and of implying that she and other “care staff are lying” to deflect blame from the UK government.
In a somewhat veiled attack on UK cabinet members such as health minister Nadine Dorries and Middle East and North Africa minister James Cleverly, Whittome posted a screenshot of a tweet by ExtraCare making an urgent request for PPE donations.
The MP has condemned the company’s behavior in its apparent attempts to silence her, insisting: “I will continue to speak the truth about my frontline experiences and I condemn care companies who try to gag staff for speaking out and raising concerns.”
It comes after Compassion in Care –which operates a helpline for care workers– says it is seeing the process of whistleblowing move at “unprecedented speed,” with reports of “horrendous,” unsafe conditions, amid concerns over the lack of PPE.
Last week, five of the calls the organisation received were from care workers who said they had lost their jobs after raising issues about PPE.
The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported this week that deaths in care homes in England and Wales continue to rise while fatalities in hospitals fall.
The UK now has the worst death rate in Europe, with over 30,000 Covid-19 fatalities – surpassing the likes of Italy, Spain and France, with only the US having a higher death toll globally.