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Care home operators face collapse without more government support, campaigners warn

Consumers Feel The Pinch With Christmas Around The Corner

Many care home operators could go out of business unless more financial aid is provided by the government, campaigners have warned.

While welcoming the government’s commitment of £3.2bn for local authorities to support social care, the Independent Care Group (ICG) has warned more support is needed to prevent businesses going to the wall.

ICG chair, Mike Padgham, said: “There is a very real danger that there will be social care business failures in the coming weeks. Care providers have been suffering financial hardship for many years due to chronic under-funding.  Now they are facing huge increases in costs, for instance the costs of bringing in agency staff to cover for staff who are unwell, sick pay costs and the increasing cost of protective equipment.  Due to stopping admissions, some care homes are also seeing a dramatic reduction in income and homecare providers are suffering a reduction in contracts.”

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Leading care home operator, Barchester Healthcare, meanwhile, warned this weekend that it was bracing for a drop in occupancy levels as a result of the coronavirus.

The care home operator, which runs around 200 services, told the Evening Standard it was well-placed to withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “Occupancy is likely to drop as we see, very sadly greater numbers of deaths and a drop in admissions during this time. We are currently balancing our cost base with our investment plans and making efficiencies where we can.

“We are better placed than some care home operators as we have minimal levels of indebtedness which we predominantly use to invest in purchasing care homes, and we do not have any bonds.”

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The author Lee Peart

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