Linda Jones, Petersfield County Councillor and Labour lead member on the County Council Adults committee and Health committee, highlights the dangers facing care homes in Cambridgeshire during the coronavirus pandemic.
The care home market is at real risk of collapse, with costs rising and provision shrinking. Many care homes charge higher rates to self-funding residents than local authority residents and have increasingly relied on cross-subsidising. Others have switched to wholly self-funded clients.
The impact of COVID-19 on care homes in 2020 left staff shattered and providers struggling to operate. The House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee reported in October 2020 that the death rate of care workers during the pandemic has so far been double that of healthcare workers. Deaths among Cambridge care home residents in the first wave were higher than the county and national average.
The virus’s much higher transmissibility is now hitting staff again and making residents more vulnerable, although vaccination for residents and staff will mitigate these risks. This is on top of usual winter pressures, a renewed focus on moving patients out of hospital beds and into care, and the mental health impact when homes are closed to family visits.