Coronavirus: Nursing homes could “go to the wall” as costs rise

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Carers in PPE

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More nursing homes have been tested for their staff, but one in three contacted by the BBC did not


Nursing homes “could go all the way to the wall” due to rising costs of the coronavirus pandemic, the bosses said.

Thirty of 102 healthcare providers contacted by the BBC also said that none of their staff had been tested, compared to 75 who said so in April.

Care leaders said the government’s response was “patchy and inconsistent”.

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said that all caregivers and residents can now be tested, regardless of symptoms.

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Nursing home costs have increased due to the purchase of protective equipment and the use of more agency workers


BBC England spoke to 102 nursing homes and care providers across the country, who care for over 6,500 residents and employ around 9,000 people.

In April, 75 of these providers said that none of their staff had been tested. By May 19, that number had dropped to 30.

In total, one in five of the 9,000 employees had to self-isolate because they or their family members showed symptoms of the virus.

Mike Padgham, who manages four homes in North Yorkshire and is president of the Independent Care Group, said he was concerned about the rising costs of the pandemic, from personal protective equipment (PPE) to additional staff for also cover those who self-isolate. as a loss of revenue from empty beds.

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Mike Padgham says his nursing homes are paying the cost of the pandemic.


His own homes have lost around £ 100,000, and it is difficult for providers of care homes to restrict the use of agency staff as they try to fill in the gaps left by those who have to self isolate.

He said rising costs for personal protective equipment and the loss of income for fewer new residents were moving both social service workers and the elderly they care for.

He said, “Unfortunately, I think some claimants will go to the wall.

“It will mean job loss and it’s a resident’s house, so where are they going to go?” “

The government is spending £ 600 million to fight infection in nursing homes, but Padgham said he was stuck in the bureaucracy and will not reach nursing homes until June.

“The NHS and social protection have been on the front line since day one, but social protection has just been recognized,” he said.

“Even if people have said things [in Parliament] and during briefing number 10 on having an arm around us, a ring around us, we don’t feel protected. “

Nadra Ahmed, president of the National Care Association, said the BBC results show that the answer is “uneven and inconsistent”.

“The availability of tests is improving, but two months later, when social protection was largely overlooked at the outset, we really need to be much more advanced to ensure the protection of residents and staff,” she said. .

BBC research also shows that 71 of 102 homes and claimants had some residents tested – an improvement in April when only 42 said residents had been tested.

Professor Martin Green, Managing Director of Care England, said the tests in progress were crucial.

“The tests are not punctual, they must be an ongoing program and used in conjunction with tracking and tracing,” he said, adding that nursing homes needed “immediate access” to the tests to ensure the safety of residents and staff.

As of May 8, nearly 10,000 people have died in English nursing homes with Covid-19, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Data from Public Health England shows that every English district, except the Isles of Scilly, has recorded at least one outbreak of coronavirus in a nursing home.

Last week, 5,876 homes were confirmed or suspected in nursing homes in England, equivalent to more than one for three nursing homes.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “Throughout this unprecedented global epidemic, we have worked tirelessly with the healthcare sector to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“We have based all our decisions on the best scientific and clinical advice. As a result, almost two-thirds of nursing homes have not experienced an epidemic.

“Our goal is to make it as simple, fast and simple as possible for anyone who needs to take a test to do it and by greatly increasing the testing capacity, we can now test all caregivers and residents, regardless of symptoms. “

More on this story

The research was conducted from Friday May 15 to Tuesday May 19 and the BBC interviewed 102 nursing homes and care companies.

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