Dozens of care homes are facing financial collapse in Leeds and Sheffield it has been revealed.
A health scrutiny council meeting in Leeds last week warned falling occupancy meant around a fifth of care homes were not making enough money to be sustainable, while a Sheffield care group said a third of the city’s care homes faced closure.
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the number of people choosing to go into a care home – instead, more people have been opting to have care and support delivered in their own home.
“As a result, care homes are reporting an increase in the numbers of vacancies (voids) – and, subsequently, reduced income. The council has provided care homes with some financial support to help them with their finances during the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic, including making payments for voids.
“We continue to work with the care sector as a whole to ensure that providers are able to continue to deliver good quality care services to meet local demand and need.”
In Sheffield, meanwhile, the Sheffield Care Association (SCA), said a third of care homes faced closure within a matter of weeks.
Nicola Richards, Chair of the SCA, said: “The long-term funding of Sheffield’s care sector must be guaranteed.
“We are aware that there are some estimations that Sheffield has too many beds in care homes, but we need a structured approach to managing this reduction, not forcing care homes to the wall at a time of crisis which may happen if homes do not receive adequate financial support from Sheffield City Council.
“If they do not get support when they need it more than ever, residents will be fearful of their future, families anxious and the hard-working staff who have sacrificed so much in recent months will be betrayed.”
Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council, responded: “We’ve provided significant extra funding to care homes to compensate for an increase in the number of empty beds and for other costs associated with COVID-19.
“We are working with the sector to establish what further support may be required beyond this point and in two months’ time our annual consultation review process will start, which will cover fees. At this point, our fees are broadly in line with other neighbouring authorities.
“We know that care homes are under extreme pressure and we thank them for everything they are doing to continue to provide services for our older residents who need care. I am working with officers closely and we are in regular contact with all of our care homes to offer what support we can to all of them.”