Care homes ‘bribed’ to take coronavirus patients

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Care home managers feel ‘pressured’ into accepting coronavirus patients into their facilities as they are offered increased payments

  • Care homes offered increased payments to take in people who have had Covid
  • This is despite the death toll from the virus in care homes topping 15,000 
  • Government changed rules to stop homes being forced to take in Covid patients
  • Matt Hancock promised ‘protective ring’ around care homes after the reports

Care homes are being offered increased payments to take in people who have had coronavirus.

This is despite the death toll from the virus in care homes topping 15,000 and after the government changed the rules to stop homes being forced to take in coronavirus patients back in April.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to throw a ‘protective ring’ around care homes following the reports.

The government has also made £1.3 billion available to help find alternative places for residents who test positive for the virus.

Jane Ward (left) and Rachael Peacock (sitting) talks to Alan Venn and Joan Woods, residents of Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington, on July 20

However the Daily Telegraph has reported that care home manages are being ‘pressured’ into accepting coronavirus patients into their facilities.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reportedly offering payment bumps of up to 50 per cent.

Cumbria County Council and Morecambe Bay CCG wrote to care home companies earlier this month asking them to take people who had the virus but no longer had symptoms.

An additional payment of £1,500 per bed per week was offered to help cover any additional costs.

Susan Mckinney, Operations director at Wellburn Care Homes, which runs more than a dozen homes in the north of England, said her company was asked to take coronavirus patients.

She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We have been approached with offers to [receive] more money if we would take Covid-positive patients into our homes’.

Care worker Cath Roe talks to residents William Buxton and Neil Fox on her rounds at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington, on July 20

Care worker Cath Roe talks to residents William Buxton and Neil Fox on her rounds at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington, on July 20

Wellburn chairman Rachel Beckett told the Telegraph: ‘I know there is still a lot of pressure there. Some who have different facilities to us could set up a Covid-19 ward and have nursing facilities but we don’t, and there are a lot of homes that don’t.

‘We had conversations with a couple of authorities in the North and they were trying to encourage us with a higher monetary value for residents, but we refused.’

The managing director of Saint Cecilia’s a family-run care home in Scarborough, Michael Padgham, said his home was offered a ten per cent fee boost to take in coronavirus patients, with the cash paying for more staff and PPE;

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘If someone is Covid-19 positive, you have to think ‘I’ll have to staff the home more or have more PPE, and I might have to zone them off ‘.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘All patients are required to be tested for Covid-19 prior to being discharged to a care home and no care home should be forced to admit an existing or new resident to the care home if they are unable to cope with the impact of the person’s Covid-19 illness.’

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