A care home leader has contested the view that the discharge of thousands of untested people into care homes resulted in the high number of COVID-19 related deaths.
Tony Stein, CEO of Healthcare Management Solutions (pictured), said this had “absolutely” not been the case at his care homes, adding he had struggled to find any evidence to back up the claim.
The care home leader told CHP: “I believe that it is not right to attempt to place blame on the government or the NHS for ‘forcing untested people into homes and therefore contributing to the high death toll’.
“Operators had the choice and they, and only they, have to decide whether they can safely accept new residents into their services. If they block contracted beds in services that couldn’t safely isolate new admissions, then the fault surely lies in that decision.
“There were homes within our wider group that we knew had spare beds but in which we knew couldn’t, for a variety of reasons, safely isolate all new admissions for 14 days and we did not offer those beds.
“Those where we did offer beds, handled every new admission as though they might have COVID-19 and we isolated, and barrier nursed them until we knew they were not infected. We would have done this had they tested positive or not as the test would only have told them they were/weren’t infected at the time they were tested and that may have been days prior to discharge during which time they could have been infected.”
The care leader said operators who were arguing they had been forced to take in untested patients that they were unable to safely care for were in breach of their registration.
Tony said if LAs had threatened to withdraw their business from operators if they did not take in untested patients then that would have amounted to an “abuse of market position” and should be dealt with on a case by case basis. He added that none of the over 50 authorities he had dealt with had taken such an approach.
The care home chief’s comments follow major reports by ADASS and the NAO last week which revealed that 25,000 people were not tested on discharge to care homes from hospitals between 17 March and 15 April.
ADASS President, James Bullion, said the policy had been a “significant cause” of care home infection with “tragic consequences”.