Homes could close without the staff to work there
Banning care workers from moving between settings will severely hamper care and nursing homes in the fight against Covid-19, providers warned today.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says there simply aren’t enough staff to fight coronavirus as it is, and this latest move could force some homes to close.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Covid-19 has stretched care and nursing homes to their absolute limit and this proposed ban on workers moving between settings might push some over the edge, at a time when we need every bed available.
“There are already 100,000 care vacancies on any one day and if homes cannot use staff who move between homes, then where are the staff to cope with this crisis going to come from?”
The ICG was reacting after it was revealed that the Government is planning to make it illegal for care providers to employ a worker who works in other settings – for example, those whose organisation has multiple sites or agency staff who work in different homes.
Mr Padgham added: “We know that hospitals are already discharging Covid-19 patients into care homes as part of the fight against the pandemic, just as they did during the first wave. If those homes cannot maintain the legal staffing levels, they are going to have to close their doors to those patients and any other admissions.
“We have to conquer Covid-19 and we know we have to work together to do so, but this is not the answer.
”Care and nursing homes have been trying not to use agency staff and not have staff move between sites. But there are times when there is simply no choice and homes must use agency staff to avoid going below the minimum safe staffing level.
“And what about the agency staff themselves who are going to lose work and lose their income?
“If the Government is set upon introducing this ban it will have to provide much greater support and some solutions to the staffing crisis to enable homes to keep playing their part on the front line in the fight against Covid-19.”
The ICG has also questioned whether the ban will apply to the sector’s watchdog organisation, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) whose inspectors regularly travel between care settings to carry out inspections.
“If this rule is to apply to care providers it has to apply to those who inspect and monitor the sector, and what about the health service, will it apply there too?” Mr Padgham added.
Earlier this week he called for a total lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Tuesday’s figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 63 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes across England and Wales in the week ending 9th October, up from 46 the previous week and the highest total since July.
Deaths have been rising in recent weeks, at 38, 31, 27, 17 and 23, respectively. It means 15,712 people died from Covid-19 in these homes from 28th December to 9th October.