Dorset-based care home group Agincare has defended its decision to increase its daily fees by £6.47 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Janette Urquijo, whose mother lives at the group’s home in Bournemouth (pictured), told the BBC the extra charge was “outrageous” telling the BBC she had received a bill £194.10 for April in addition to a monthly fee of £4,158, which had been increased by 5% on 1 April.
Janette claimed that staff at the home had not received PPE before 15 April but that her mother had been issued with the extra charge for the whole month.
Agincare chairman Derek Lockhurst said the daily fee rise had been introduced because of additional staffing and COVID-19 related costs.
“Our priority is protecting our care teams and clients,” Derek told CHP. “We’ve been providing care for more than 30 years and we want to be able to continue to employ our incredible team and deliver essential care, during coronavirus and beyond.
“Like other care providers, since mid-March we’ve been dealing with the unforeseen impact of various additional COVID-19 related costs. These include extraordinary staff costs due to self-isolation, shielding and sickness absence, as well as the dramatic increase in the cost and use of PPE.
“We have therefore reluctantly taken the difficult decision to share the extra COVID-19 related costs across our local authority partners and private pay residents, as well as us as provider. This temporary – possibly one-off – contribution is not about increasing or even maintaining profits, but rather the long-term sustainability of Agincare and the protection of our care home workforce and residents.”
The Agincare chairman added that the annual fee uplift in April was unrelated to the coronavirus and had been introduced to contribute towards the 6.25% uplift in NLW and other inflationary increases.