Two-thirds of small and medium-sized (SME) care providers fear for their financial sustainability as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, a survey has found.
The National Care Association survey, which had over 150 respondents, was carried out between 21 May and 1 June.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chair of National Care Association, (pictured) said: “We call on national government to wake up and smell the coffee. SMEs are the heart of communities across the country providing care and support to vulnerable citizens. Our role has always been to support local NHS services and local authorities to provide solutions for those who need care and support – it is time for government at all levels to support us.
“We are ready and willing to find and create solutions to ensure our social care services are the best in the world. What we need now is for politicians to understand the importance of all that we do.”
The survey found that two-thirds of services were worried about their financial sustainability as a result of increases in staffing costs, low occupancy and rising costs to combat COVID-19. Providers said they had spent on average 907% more on PPE since the start of the crisis, up from 323% in April, with some reporting 6,000% more in additional costs. One provider reported their average monthly spend had increased from £50 to £4,000 in the last three months.
On the positive side, 83% of respondents reported no current cases of COVID-19 infections, down 3% since April. On average, one in five residents (21%) of residents tested positive in April, with the NCA citing better PPE access and the ending of new admissions by many providers as the reasons for the decline in infection.
Two-thirds of respondents said they had received no notification of additional support from the LA, with only 6% having actual notification of what they would receive.
One provider commented: “We received a one off payment of £800. Felt this was an insult as it would not have covered a weekly expense for an agency carer. We’ve spent thousands of pounds buying our own PPE. Not sure how this was calculated. Currently no communication from the local authority of any more funding/fee uplift.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise this pandemic is creating significant challenges for the social care sector and extra support is needed for those receiving care.
“We have made £3.2bn available to local authorities to address pressures on local services, including in adult social care and a further £600 million to help reduce the infection rate in care homes in England. This funding is ringfenced to help adult social care providers reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes, and to support workforce resilience.
“We are working closely with local authorities to ensure funding is distributed fairly and reaches the frontline where it is needed most.”