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Covid 19 – Statement From The Board Of National Care Association

by danielbarker on 14 May, 2020

Covid 19 Statement From The Board Of National Care Association

National Care Association have been deeply disturbed by the tone and sentiment of government briefings over the past few days in relation to Covid-19 related deaths in care homes. It is disingenuous of those who provided all the advice and guidance to the sector, at the outset, to now blatantly attempt to apportion blame in order to deflect from their own shortcomings. It is therefore important to remind them of the facts:

  • There was no attempt at the outset of this pandemic to shield the sector caring for over 420,000 vulnerable people and mitigate any risk. Indeed, the decision taken was to requisition all PPE for the NHS thereby abandoning care homes completely and so adding to the risk factors for carers and residents alike. This inevitably resulted in a callous ‘supply and demand’ market with prices of PPE (when they could be found, increasing by over 400%) Access to PPE would have mitigated risk.

Why was no effort made to address this in March?

  • Despite consistent lobbying the decision was taken by government not to test staff or residents in care homes whilst actively discharging patients out of the NHS, untested, into social care settings. Further more, NHS professionals suspended visits to their patients in care homes, whilst DN accessed services across their areas unchecked moving from site to site. Despite the announcements testing remains a major source of concern amongst providers; with unacceptable delays; the fact is that this would mitigate risks in care homes.

Every life lost unnecessarily through this pandemic is a source of deep regret and our hearts stand as one with all their loved ones. We are a social care sector delivering care and support to standards akin to the NHS, without any additional resources, aknowledgement or value attached. LA’s have been funded to support the sector and yet over 60% of providers tell us they have received nothing to date. Many have told us that they have not even received any notification of an annual cost of living uplift for 2020/21. Where has the pandemic funding released by government gone? Without additional funding to fund the increased costs relating to PPE and staffing many providers face viability challenges today!

These are unprecedented times when there must be transparency and honest debate. The epidemiologist Richard Coker stated in The Guardian on Sunday that data will show that the care home market ‘has taken the full force, of the pandemic. In his article he talks about politicians promoting the ‘notion of harvesting’ which if not a ‘natural‘ consequence of events can be a ‘direct consequence of government policy’. With that in mind one must question why the government advisers are suddenly implying that it was a failing of the care sector which has led to the increase rate of deaths.

What they should be doing is apologising for being too slow to respond to the pleas of the sector for testing of staff and residents from the outset, for creating a shortage of PPE by diverting it all to the NHS, for not releasing funds to the front-line quickly and efficiently, for not providing accurate guidelines immediately. What they must do now is accept the mistakes they made, apologise for them, acknowledge the value of social care and address the issues immediately. The role of government and their advisers now should be to learn from their mistakes and prevent further loss of lives and prevent a new wave, they can do this by providing PPE to all front line workers, test across the board and support the providers to maintain viable businesses

The Board of National Care Association

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