Closure of Scarborough care home sparks fears of second Covid-19 crisis for care sector

Care and nursing homes closing in the wake of coronavirus could spark a second crisis in the care of older and vulnerable adults, a campaigner warned today.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 10:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 10:08 am
Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group.

Speaking as the number of deaths in care and nursing homes fell again, Mike Padgham, Chairman of the Independent Care Group (ICG) warned that a fresh danger of home closures was now on the horizon.

His warning came after a care home on the Yorkshire coast closed down.

Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 369 people in England and Wales died in care and nursing homes from Covid-19 in the week up to June 12, down from 564 the week before.

Previous weeks saw 705, 1,090, 1,660, 1,666, 2,423 and 2,800 deaths respectively.

The ONS says a total of 14,404 people died in care and nursing homes from Covid-19 between December 28 last year and June 12.

Mr Padgham said: “The downward trend in care and nursing home deaths is very welcome and we are all pleased and relieved that we seem to be passing the peak.

“But we also have to be mindful that for some, this crisis will have been the final straw and may well cause the closure of some care and nursing homes, causing a fresh issue in social care.

“The Government will have to step up its support for the sector to avoid a sudden loss of provision, or we will have a second crisis on our hands through a lack of places.

“Here in Scarborough we have seen the Grosvenor Hall Care Home, which looked after 23 people, close, which is dreadful for those residents, their relatives and the home’s staff.

“We do not know the reasons, it may have been down to coronavirus it may have been down to the stresses on care homes that have existed now for some years.”

Last week the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said increased costs due to Covid-19 had exacerbated an existing crisis in social care.

An ADASS report warns that increased spending due to coronavirus - for example, on personal protective equipment (PPE), staffing costs and sickness cover - means some private care providers may go out of business.

ADASS called for a two-year ring-fenced funding settlement for adult social care as well as reform of the sector, including better pay and conditions for care workers.

Mr Padgham added: “We have long been promised a Green Paper on social care but it has been repeatedly delayed.

“The sources of the current problems are well documented, but almost £8bn cut from social care budgets since 2010 has left a sector on its knees, and that is bound to lead to some homes closing.

“To ensure this doesn’t happen, we have to have greater financial support to the sector now, followed by root and branch reform of social care, matched by enough funding to bring it to parity with NHS healthcare, alongside which providers have been battling to defeat Covid-19.”