Care home chiefs fear deadly mistakes made at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic risk being repeated as councils offer them extra cash to take Covid-positive hospital patients.
More than 15,000 people died of the virus in care homes earlier this year, according to official figures, after it was reported that many elderly residential facilities were flooded with Covid-19 patients returning from hospital.
Now, despite a Government pledge to place a ‘protective ring’ around vulnerable residents, care homes in Cumbria are being offered £1,500 – double the local weekly fee – to take Covid-positive patients from hospital.
Birmingham city council has been offering £1,000 incentives for months while Morecambe Bay clinical commissioning group wrote to care homes offering them extra cash only last month.
Trafford council in Greater Manchester has also warned care homes to ready themselves for a fresh wave of hospital discharges, telling them to expect Covid-positive patients within just two hours of their discharge from hospital.
Eileen Chubb, from the whistleblowing charity Compassion in Care, said: ‘It’s the same attitude to elderly people all over again – rushing them into care homes. They’re sacrificing people needlessly.’
Roger Waluube, manager of Pelham House care home in Folkestone, Kent, said: ‘It is completely unacceptable to transfer people from the hospital into the community when you think they could pose a risk to others.’
In April, hospitals were told to stop sending untested patients to care homes following a