Care home residents are being asked to pay an additional £100 per week to pay for additional costs caused by the coronavirus, Age UK has said.
The charity for the elderly said residents were being asked to pay more than £100 on top of their usual fees as the cost of PPE and covering staff vacancies pushed operators to the financial brink.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity director at Age UK, (pictured) said: “Older people living in care homes and their families have been through the mill these last few months as the virus has ripped through one in three of these settings, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. It is adding insult to injury that after going through so much, some residents who pay for their own care are now facing a big extra bill – on top of already expensive fees.
“Where care homes face extra costs on account of the pandemic it’s only fair that central government ensures they are met – otherwise there’s a risk that some homes could fold, leaving their residents homeless. This would be bad enough at the best of times, let alone now when the virus continues to pose a threat, making it safest for everyone to stay put.
“The fact that older people who pay for their own care home place routinely have to stump up more than 40% on top of what the state has to find is a long-running scandal, but these ‘coronavirus bills’ make the injustice even worse. They should be outlawed and care homes under acute financial pressure given the emergency government funding they need.”
Age UK said more than 6,000 care homes in England (39%) had been infected with coronavirus with reports suggesting their costs had grown by more than 30% with up to 20,000 facing possible bankruptcy without further support.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise that this pandemic is creating significant challenges for care homes and that extra support is needed to care for residents.
“We have now made £3.2bn available to local authorities to address pressures on local services, including in adult social care. We have also provided a further £600 million to help reduce the infection rate in care homes. This funding is specifically ringfenced for adult social care and we are writing to local authorities to confirm it is being spent in helping further protect those most in need.
“We are working closely with local authorities to ensure funding is distributed fairly and that it reaches the frontline where it is needed most.”