Less than one in four care providers (24%) are receiving COVID test results within 48 hours, according to the National Care Forum (NCF).
In its October survey of members, the NCF found “very high levels” of whole home testing compliance (99%) with only 2% of tests returned to retest and 1.2% not returned.
During a press briefing this morning, NCF executive director Vic Rayner said testing was “hugely better” and the sector was “in a different place” to a month ago but the speed of obtaining test results remained an issue.
On care home visiting, the survey found 94% of care homes were actively taking steps to facilitate visits. However, the survey also revealed that care homes were spending an average of £4,000 on visits as an additional cost as the Infection Control Fund was not meeting current needs.
Vic said additional funding was needed “rapidly” to enable care homes to be able to meet the government’s target of offering visits by Christmas.
On PPE, the survey found that while all members were able to access the government’s Portal, it was only meeting an average of 48% of providers’ needs and almost all operators were having to purchase additional stocks.
Despite this, Anchor CEO Jane Ashcroft said better access to PPE and testing and “excellent staff training” was helping to contain outbreak levels during the second wave.
“We are in a completely different place to what we were earlier in the year,” Jane noted.
On staffing, members reported average vacancies of 10% and absences at 7%. Additionally, 9% of members said their staff worked in other care settings. Given this, the NCF said proposals to regulate staff movement were “very ill-timed”.
On occupancy, care home providers reported a drop in levels to an average of 85% from an average of 89-90% last year, with 95% forecasting an impact on financial performance in the next financial year, 80% predicting a decline in revenue and almost 95% expecting an increase in costs.