Care providers were today dismayed over reports that restrictions were being considered on the number of visitors nursing and care home residents can receive.
The Government is said to be considering restricting visitors to just three as part of Plan C measures to tackle rising cases of Covid-19.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) said such a move would be disappointing but that it felt “inevitable.”
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “A restriction on visitor numbers as we approach Christmas or just after, would be a body blow to those in nursing and care homes and to their families and friends who will be looking forward to spending more not less time together over the festive period.
“But as restrictions across the country become tighter and tighter, such a move does seem inevitable whilst we, as a country, fight to keep everyone as safe and well as we can.
“To an extent, we are fortunate in that we are currently able to facilitate unlimited visiting, albeit with full appointment, testing and PPE measures in place.
“It will be sad if we have to bring tighter restrictions in, but we have to put the safety of our vulnerable residents first.”
He said the rising number of cases of Covid-19 – in particular, the spread of the new Omicron variant – was piling increased pressure on care settings.
“The care sector has remained on high alert, on the front line against Covid-19, throughout and these latest developments are merely ramping up the pressure on a sector that is already on its knees,” he said.
“We desperately need the Government to recognise how fragile the sector is at the moment and give us at least some short-term help, in particular to tackle the staffing crisis which is causing many care providers to struggle to fill their shifts to offer care in nursing and care homes and in people’s own homes.”