Action needed over visits and indemnity
Care providers have accused the Government of endless delays over allowing visits to care homes and protecting social care against legal action on Covid-19 deaths.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the time for talking, planning, and promising was now over and care providers needed action as the second wave of coronavirus bites.
The ICG is calling on the Government to find a way to enable care and nursing home residents to see their loved ones.
Figures out today showed that 153 people died in care and nursing homes in England and Wales in the week ending 23rd October, an increase on the previous week’s total of 106.
The ICG also wants the Government to indemnify care providers against legal action if a resident dies from Covid-19 after catching it in a care setting. NHS care is already indemnified in this way.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that the Government was “wanting” to enable testing in homes to facilitate visiting and “looking at” and “working on” the issue of indemnifying care providers against #Colvid-19 deaths. I’m sorry, but the time for looking at things is over, it is time to start doing and delivering.
“Today’s figures are worrying and demonstrate how important it is that the Government puts its focus on to the situation in care settings, which are, as last time, part of the front line against Covid-19.
“The way things are progressing, and the way infection rates are increasing, I fear this will be a lengthy battle and lockdown may well go on beyond the current deadline.
“That makes it even more vital that we press on with finding a way to enable relatives and friends to visit residents in care and nursing homes as soon as possible.”
The Government announced a pilot scheme to enable people to resume visiting homes, provided they had been tested for Covid-19. The ICG volunteered to provide care and nursing homes to take part in a pilot for the scheme.
But Mr Padgham says the time for the pilot has passed and the Government should skip straight to introducing the scheme.
“The new national lockdown has changed everything. We know what needs to be done: enable designated relatives to be regarded as keyworkers and have regular tests so that they can visit.
“Our residents and their relatives have waited long enough and cannot wait until the end of the new lockdown – whenever that might be. The mental health and happiness of residents is suffering – particularly those with dementia. We have a solution; we need to get on with it this week.
“At the same time, we also need the Government to give care providers parity with their NHS counterparts and indemnify them against legal action over Covid-19 deaths in care settings.”
Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show 153 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes across England and Wales in the week ending 23rd October, up from 106 the previous week and 63 the week before.
Deaths have been rising over the weeks before that, at 48, 38, 31, 27, 17 and 23, respectively. Some 15,972 people died from Covid-19 in these homes from 28th December to 23rd October.