North east care home bosses urge councils to help as they ‘haemorrhage’ cash

Care home bosses have said they are “haemorrhaging money” in the coronavirus crisis and accused councils of not adequately supporting them with government cash.

They said the lack of support could have potentially deadly consequences for residents, and insisted they are not trying to profit from the situation.

The Care North East group, which represents 250 care homes in the region, said 12 local authorities in the North East have failed to fund them adequately during the crisis.

They said the Government has offered local authorities £1.6 billion and that the North East councils have offered them a 5% payment increase for council-funded placements.

But Care North East’s chairman, Keith Gray, said that would barely cover the costs incurred by homes for extra personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

And to qualify for the 5% increase, he said, homes would have to agree to take in Covid-19-positive residents – possibly discharged from hospital – putting others at risk.

The Local Government Association said a 10% increase would be warranted, Mr Gray said.

He added: “It is sickening that, at a time of national crisis, when everybody is pulling together, councils in the North East have banded together and refused to provide an adequate support package to help keep the most vulnerable of our society safe.

“The homes are only asking for the basics which would enable them to keep residents and staff safe – but it seems we have just been forgotten.

“No care home is looking to profit from this crisis – the reality is that many homes will be haemorrhaging money – but both the region’s local authorities and the clinical care groups don’t seem to have any interest in helping our frontline staff.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes (pictured) said the lack of PPE was a “national scandal”.

He tweeted on Tuesday: “I’m told we are getting a PPE delivery tomorrow for the city which is only half of what we we got last week.

“Last week we got 40% of what we needed. We are having to ration provisions to care providers. This is a national scandal.”

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