Couldn’t Care Less About Care Homes

Within chapter 15 on Covid-19, the state of care homes withing the UK makes disturbing reading. It states: –

Having had to use the services of care homes to house my wife’s relatives I can tell you that care homes in the UK have been struggling for the past twenty years or more and the government has turned a blind eye on this valuable sector who IMO do a great service to our country. On the 13th of May 2020, the Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer stated in Prime Minster Question time (PMQ’s) that the government had said that the Covid-19 infection of care home residents was “unlikely”, in advice that was issued up until mid-March. The Prime Minister was left squirming when confronted with the evidence and Matt Hancock the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care who was sitting next to the PM in parliament was wishing that the PM stopped digging as he was making matters worse. The only good thing to come out of this huge cock-up was that the government would now make a £600 million for infection control in coronavirus hit care homes. Two days later Matt Hancock the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stated at the daily briefing from Downing street that he had instructed local authorities provide a daily report from them stating greater details from care homes in their area. Pity he didn’t do this from the start.

Another U-turn by Boris happened on the 20th of May 2020 again after the Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer stated in Prime Minster Question time (PMQ’s) why the government were charging workers in the NHS and care homes from overseas £620 for medical cover. These low-skilled and low-paid workers such as cleaners, porters and others were discriminated against yet the doctors and nurses couldn’t work their miracles in an unclean environment.

If to prove that the government got it totally wrong the i newspaper reported on the 9th May 2020 that “the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it is investigating a “very small” number of incidents where hospitals who treated individuals for Covid-19 were not tested before the patients were discharged back to their care homes. The incidents led to the virus being transmitted to others, the CQC said.

Care homes that cater for the aged population as well as homes that cater for many disabilities must supply their own PPE’s but this was exceedingly difficult for them to do as other organisations such as the NHS were also struggling to find suppliers. Test was another stumbling block at the pandemic as care home residents and staff were also being pushed to the back of the queue. With an ever-growing aged population the government must sort this mess out or more care homes will be forced to close. The problem will be if hospitals can’t release patients to care homes, then the elderly will continue to tie up much needed hospital beds.

Another big problem for the future of care homes in the UK is the governments new policy on immigration. On the 18th of May 2020, the controversial immigration bill was voted through the House of Commons. The new bill that will come into effect from January 2021 will work on a points system. One of the major point scores gained by the applicant will be if the applicant is applying for a job that will pay a salary of £25,000 per year or more. Most care workers today earn a maximum of £19,000 so they will not be given a visa. This will cause a major problem for everyone as the NHS and care homes can’t run without these valuable care workers, so they will have to pay workers a minimum of £25K. This will mean that the rates charged to residents will have to rise and the government will via the NHS have to pick up the bill.

Another worrying titbit (or tidbit to American readers) that I heard about some of the current care workers was that they were working two different 8-hour shifts at two separate care homes. This alone could spread the virus from one care home to another. Some care workers from overseas were also living in overcrowded accommodation where several immigrant families share the same facilities. This must have added to the number of deaths in care homes.

What the government must do is to introduce a new law covering the employment of all staff in both our NHS hospitals and care homes. Anyone working in this sector must be registered with the NHS and would be paid via the various hospitals or care home but the new NHS human resources division must be copied in on who was being paid and the hours they worked. If this were done then a simple check could be made to see if there were any duplications. Currently, the NHS and care sector rely on agency staff and end up paying the agency a lot extra for the pleasure. These agencies should be put out of business as anyone wishing to work for the NHS or care home must be employed via the NHS Human Resources division. This could not be done straight away but it could be introduced to start next April. I can assure you that this would save the country millions of pounds every year and at least it would stop the double working that currently is going on.

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