A CARE home owner has branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson "despicable" for his criticism of the sector’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

David Crabtree – who owns Crabtree Care Homes, which includes the Raikes at Silsden – criticised Mr Johnson and the Government during a debate on Good Morning Britain.

The Prime Minister said that “too many” care homes had not followed the correct procedures during the pandemic.

Crabtree Care Homes has residential sites across the district and has reported 13 residents who have died with coronavirus during the crisis.

Mr Crabtree said: “We followed the procedures.

“He (Mr Johnson) has picked the wrong fight with the wrong people. This is huge.

“Care home staff have dedicated every day to this. We did not cross-infect, or move people who we thought had Covid. These care staff were PPE’d up since February.

“Mr Johnson, you are responsible. You are despicable for saying such things against care home staff who were fighting to save these people’s lives.

“Mr Johnson, you said you wanted to look after them, but you did nothing. You are demeaning them.

“This is an appalling situation.”

Meanwhile, Selina Firth, manager of the Raikes, who took part in the same televised debate, spoke of the impact of the pandemic on her staff.

She said: “It’s been surreal. We are mentally and physically tired.

“We have always done our best. We have always had PPE. This is wrong what has been said.

“These people to us are not National Insurance numbers, they are not an NHS number, they are people, they are personalities. We have lost people. We have been with them while they have died painful deaths. It’s like the unknown. Maybe if Boris would visit our home, he would see.

“For 29 residents, we got six tests.

“We are continually fighting.”

The Prime Minister’s comments were branded a “real slap in the face” for care workers by the Independent Care Group, while another sector leader said they were “clumsy and cowardly”.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman was asked during a Westminster briefing what the PM had meant by the remarks.

He said: “Throughout the pandemic, care homes have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances.

“The Prime Minister was pointing out that nobody knew what the correct procedures were because the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known at the time.”

Asked if Mr Johnson would like to apologise or retract the comments, the spokesman said: “As I’ve just set out, the PM thinks that throughout the pandemic care homes have done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances.”