A one-off payment of £1,000 was offered to care homes who could admit hospital patients within 24 hours during the coronavirus crisis, it has been revealed.
Sixteen care homes took up the payment offer from Birmingham City Council, which was designed to cover additional costs.
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “The £1,000 funding was provided to allow the care provider to purchase additional PPE, pay additional staff and conduct additional cleansing to allow COVID positive residents to be isolated and discharged. The payment was to allow those additional costs to be funded, meaning COVID status should not be a barrier to discharge.
“The council has worked closely with our health partners to ensure testing upon discharge from hospital, as we very much recognise the importance of this in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We have worked to the national guidance at all times and wherever possible we have discharged citizens into short term NHS beds under the national Hospital Discharge Service Requirements to reduce the spread of COVID in care homes.”
Jane Farr, manager of COVID-free Digby Manor care home in Erdington, told the Birmingham Mail she had declined the offer as “too big a risk”.
“If one case had come in it would have been dreadful,” Jane said. “One case could have infected lots of people. My residents mostly have dementia, they move around a lot and interact together, so total isolation poses a real problem.
“I don’t think homes should have been encouraged to take that risk. We were being asked to do what we could to help but our residents were my priority. Nobody could be certain those people did not have COVID-19. I’m certain it was a reason we have not had any cases.”