Social care leaders have urged the government to provide greater support to the sector as it faces the potentially devastating impact of the coronavirus.
With reported cases of coronavirus on the rise at care homes around the country, leaders have warned the sector needs urgent support in terms of staffing, PPE and testing to withstand the crisis.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, chair of the NCA, told the FT that rising sickness levels at care homes were making running care homes “extremely difficult”, potentially leaving some services “unable to function”.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said the sector needed “significantly bigger quantities” of PPE and hand sanitisers.
Leaders have highlighted how the sector continues to be neglected while the bulk of government support and public focus remains on the NHS.
Nadra said care homes were struggling to buy food and were being prevented from purchasing in bulk from supermarkets as they were not considered key workers.
Dr Claire Mould, of Earlfield Lodge in Weston-Super-Mare, revealed last week her residents were in danger of malnutrition due to difficulty in accessing food supplies.
Meanwhile, further positive coronavirus cases have been recorded at care homes around the country, including Barchester Healthcare’s Ritson Lodge in Hopton, East Anglia and Scarborough Hall in Scarborough and Avery Healthcare’s Milton Court care home in Milton Keynes. In Scotland, staff at Four Seasons’ Cumbrae Lodge care home in Irvine Lodge have expressed their fears of contracting COVID-19 after a resident died from the virus.
A Four Seasons spokesperson said: “We share our colleagues’ frustration at the lack of available equipment and we have been working hard to secure supplies of PPE for all of our homes. Our team has been sending daily updates to the homes on our efforts to secure masks and other equipment while ensuring all colleagues are implementing our strict procedures for health and safety. The vast majority of our homes have received PPE and we are in contact with the NHS to access further supplies. We appreciate the dedication of our colleagues across our homes and we thank them for their commitment and hard work.”
Responding to calls for additional PPE, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “On Wednesday alone, 22m facemasks, 15m aprons, 13.5m gloves and more than 1m eye protectors were delivered to front-line workers.
“The full weight of the government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry, social care providers, the NHS, and the army so all our NHS and care staff have the protection they deserve.”