Early on in the battle against the virus, the UK’s care homes were vulnerable to the virus, with many complaining that deaths in the homes were not reported in the government’s official toll. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) report on the number of care homes deaths notified, June 12 saw that the UK has total of 11,880 care home deaths involving COVID-19.
Now care homes face a financial crisis after the pandemic: Care Sourcer told Express.co.uk that 25 percent of care homes could go out of business in 2020.
According to data from the Care Quality Commission, 2019 saw 600 care homes open but 900 close, leaving a loss of 23,452 beds.
Business income from occupancy has been falling throughout the coronavirus pandemic fore a variety of reasons, including residents passing away and lower staff levels to handle newer intakes of clients.
Care Sourcer also holds that, accounting for natural loss of clients outside of any coronavirus deaths and without being able to take on new clients, average occupancy rate would already drop to around 75 percent by August, which is the point at which the average care home business becomes loss making.
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A quarter of care homes face closure after the coronavirus pandemic
According to data from the Care Quality Commission, 2019 saw 600 care homes open but 900 close
Andrew Parfery, Care Sourcer CEO and Co-Founder, suggested to Express.co.uk that the government’s decision to discharge COVID-19 patients back into care home environments , along with a lack of PPE, is the “widely accepted” reason for high deaths in care homes, and
A new report by the National Audit Office also states that 25,000 people went untested from hospitals into care homes between mid-March and mid-April 2020.
He said: “Everything that happens next in the care sector will be traced back to this moment when the need to protect the NHS was put first.
“It is the government’s future response that will determine whether they can mitigate some this damage this is likely to cause, including 25 percent of care businesses going out of business.”
He also references residents being rehomed as a result of closures, and local authorities having to take ownership of private care services, as crisis points for the care sector that can arise from a lack of government assistance.
The UK’s cases of coronavirus as of June 21
Andrew Parfery spoke to the Express about how the government can assist care homes
Andrew Parfery also spoke to the Express about three options that the government could implement to support care homes in these difficult times.
He said: “The first is a guaranteed loan scheme specifically for care providers that would cover 20% of the lost revenue over a 12-month period.
“This would provide crucial support to allow care providers to get their businesses back on their feet and give them the chance to increase their number of clients and build their occupancy back to pre-COVID levels.
“We owe care providers so much for their difficult work over this crisis – this is a way to repay that debt.”
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Mr Parfery continues: “Secondly, as with the statutory pension triple lock system, we would recommend a similar centrally controlled triple lock system is put in place for annual increases in care fees after the UKHCA minimum price for care has been reached.
“This would still allow Local Authorities to be in control of commissioning social care but only over and above a minimum increase set centrally by UK government.
“This would also eliminate the current postcode lottery for care, where there is a large disparity in care fees paid to providers between different areas of the country.
“Finally the government could enable a mandatory savings/insurance-backed scheme for later life (much like an employer pension contribution scheme).
“This would encourage people to save for future care costs and therefore give them choice and control when it comes to their care options in the future.”
June 12 saw that the UK has total of 11,880 care home deaths involving COVID-19.
The UK failed to report deaths in care homes initially, to much anger
Mr Parfery concludes by suggesting that a more “radical” may be needed post-coronavirus to truly assist the care sector in surviving and thriving.
He said: “I believe the UK needs a social care system that enables you to contribute to it throughout your entire life – with your time.
“The social care system can then repay you that time back in free care when you need it.
“For example, you could work unpaid in a care home over the summer holidays as a student, perhaps spending a gap year or time out between jobs working in a care setting, and more volunteering after retirement.
“This could build up several years that you could then claim back from the care system when you need care.
“This would give everyone a valuable insight into care, ease recruitment issues and keep the profile and value of this sector high in the public consciousness forever.