The true scale of the coronavirus crisis “crossing” nursing homes may never be known, according to one of the most important figures in the industry.
Professor Martin Green, director of Care England, condemned the government’s pandemic strategy and said the sector could still be months away from a peak.
In a scathing attack, he said, “There is no form of tracking mechanism and unless we have tests it will not be clear who died from Covid-19 and who did not . “
Professor Martin Green says full impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes may never be known
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday stressed that nursing homes are a “special priority”, with half of the deaths in Europe in these places.
And as deaths in nursing homes are soon to exceed hospital deaths, a charity boss compared the battle for the virus to a war zone and raged, “They are lions led by donkeys.”
While exhausted healthcare workers are forced to beg for funding, personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing, The Mail on Sunday may reveal:
- Some doctors refuse to enter nursing homes to certify deaths
- There are persistent shortages of PPE and testing
- Hundreds of households face financial crisis, but profiteers push up PPE prices up to 500%
- Government’s £ 1.6 billion extra for social welfare boards falls short of the line
Professor Green, whose organization represents hundreds of independent health care providers, has alarmingly warned that the peak in the community could be weeks, if not months.
While many NHS staff go to nursing homes to care for patients, (above), some doctors refuse to go to nursing homes and certify deaths from coronavirus
“We are far behind because despite what the secretary of health says we are considered a priority, we clearly have not been,” he said.
“At the start of this pandemic, the only narrative was” protect the NHS “and what resulted in the disruption of PPE supplies – primary care has completely withdrawn from nursing homes. “
He added that the ministers’ genuine desire to help had been hampered by many agencies and quangos “unable to make quick decisions”. Local councils, which finance adult social care, received an additional £ 1.6 billion, bringing the total to £ 3.2 billion.
But some local authorities are willing to spend it only on poor, subsidized residents rather than private individuals.
Care England chief criticized government tracking mechanism
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick Said Nursing Homes Are “Special” Priority For Government On Saturday
“For years, local authorities have unleashed private payers, who pay the real cost of care,” said Professor Green. “When the time comes for the crisis, they abandon them and say,” It has nothing to do with us. “”
Dr. Jennifer Dixon, of the Health Foundation’s charity, said that deaths in nursing homes are increasing at a faster rate than in hospitals and “if this trend continues, it is possible that the number deaths per week in nursing homes go beyond hospitals. ”
Eileen Chubb, founder of the charity Compassion in Care, described how staff faced a shortage of PPE. “It’s like working in a war zone, but having the most terrible general on the planet in charge,” she said. “They are lions led by donkeys. Mike Smith, director of Trinity Homecare in Surrey, said that trying to get emergency protective gear was “like a treasure hunt to the end and there is no treasure.”
Mike Padgham of the Independent Care Group (ICG), which represents 150 providers across North Yorkshire, said the price of face masks had jumped 17.5p each to £ 1. He said, “I am waging a war on two fronts. There is the Covid War and then there will be the battle for financial survival. “
A third of British nursing homes have been affected by coronavirus with more than 4,000 deaths registered, leaving loved ones worried about the lives of elderly family members
About 45% of ICG households say they are at risk of bankruptcy. Professor Green said this was representative of the national figure, which means that around 60,000 vulnerable residents in 1,500 homes are at risk.
A third of UK nursing homes have been affected by Covid-19. Officially, 4,343 residents have died, but person-centered software, which provides clinical systems, estimates the actual number at more than 17,500.
Steve Gibson of the Stainton Lodge Care Center in Middlesbrough saw 17 residents die, but only two were tested for coronavirus. He said: “Some GPs put pneumonia on death certificates, some GPs put on Covid-like symptoms. “
Vivek Kotecha of the Center for Health and Public Interest said: “It will continue to burn in nursing homes. The only way to reverse it would be to test and isolate quickly, but none of that is in place. “
The health ministry said last night that it was “working around the clock to provide PPE” and that testing was underway.