Scarborough care home boss says Boris Johnson comments are a 'slap in the face'

A Scarborough care home boss has described recent comments by Boris Johnson as “a slap in the face” to providers like him.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 12:40 pm
Mike Padgham

Mike Padgham, owner of Saint Cecilia’s Care Group which runs four care homes in Scarborough and is Chair of the Independent Care Group, said the Prime Minister’s recent comments that some care and nursing homes failed to follow coronavirus procedures have caused huge upset.

Responding to the head of NHS England's call for reform in social care within a year, Mr Johnson said "too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures" and it was "important to fund" the sector, but it needed to be "properly organised and supported".

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 181 people in England and Wales died in care and nursing homes from Covid-19 in the week up to June 26 - down from 249 the week before and the lowest numbers so far.

Mr Padgham said: “We warmly welcome today’s continued fall in the death rate in care and nursing homes and feel it is a testament to the amazing, selfless and brave efforts by care workers during this horrific pandemic.

“Which makes it all the more upsetting for the sector when the Prime Minister makes the comments he did, a real slap in the face for those workers after they have given and sacrificed so much.

“We hope he will reflect on those comments and see the incredible work the care sector has done in the recent months to care for older and vulnerable people, with late and conflicting advice and poor support in terms of PPE and testing during this awful pandemic.

“And we hope it will spur him into long-promised action to reform the sector and end the crisis in social care which left us so vulnerable to a virus like Covid-19.”

He said the continuing deaths proved that coronavirus hadn’t yet gone away and care providers were still very wary.

“Every death is one too many, and is a loved one – a father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or friend.

"We are still very scared of a second wave, still in need of further support and not becoming complacent,” he added.

“Care providers are very nervous that the relaxation of lockdown restrictions will itself spark a second spike in coronavirus, which has already had a devastating impact upon care and nursing homes.”

The Independent Care Group says almost £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010, leaving the sector in crisis before coronavirus struck.

Even before Covid-19, it says some 1.5m people were already living without the care they need, and much of the £3.2bn additional funding the government pledged has not reached the front-line.

Rocketing costs from buying PPE and extra staffing costs have hit care and nursing homes hard at a time when admissions are falling, they say.

“The pandemic has left many providers in financial crisis and we have already seen some fail and close,” Mr Padgham added.

“We need to see action and we need to see it now, before the loss of care providers means we can no longer meet demand.”

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