CQC report finds Covid-19 outbreaks in 36 per cent of England care homes

More than a third of care homes in England have suffered an outbreak of Covid-19, according to a report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC’s ‘Covid-19 Insight’ analysis cited

Public Health England data on outbreaks and clusters that suggested around 36 per cent of care homes had been affected by the coronavirus as of 10 May. North-east England was the worst-hit region

with outbreaks in 47 per cent of 748 care homes. London was the next worst at 42 per cent of

1,394 homes with north-west England recording Covid-19 in 41 per cent of 1,921 homes. The region with the largest number of care

homes, south-east England, recorded a 35 per cent outbreak rate from 3,002 locations. South-west England reported the fewest

number of outbreaks, with 74 per cent of 2,046 homes unaffected by the virus. The CQC report found morale is low in

social care and staff have felt undervalued compared to healthcare counterparts. Some registered managers of adult social

care services are suffering from burn out and extreme anxiety, it added. In addition, the CQC found the pandemic is

having a significant impact on the financial viability of adult social care services. The CQC said some providers may face a

shortfall in people using their services due to increased deaths and not being able to admit new admissions. Some providers were said to be struggling

financially with the cost of PPE, including having to pay inflated costs to source much-needed items, it added. The report also highlighted concerns about

insurance companies informing providers that, if they knowingly take Covid-19 positive patients, they are in breach of their policy. The CQC said some providers that need to

renew their insurance have been unable to do this anywhere, leading to a risk that they may have to move residents elsewhere. CQC chief inspector of adult social care

Kate Terroni (pictured) said the challenge for the sector moving forward is to ensure collaborative working practices between health and social care professionals during the crisis continues. “We’ve heard many examples of care

homes being aligned to GP practices to support better care planning, and to ensure that care homes are visited regularly, have a good supply of basic diagnostic equipment and are confident to use it,” she added. “In some cases, plans for more integrated

working that providers have long wanted to implement have been put into action in a matter of days. After the immediate crisis abates, it will be important to maintain this appetite to act fast and collaboratively in realising ideas to improve care for people.”

ICG manifesto maps overhaul of social care

Representative body Independent Care Group (ICG) has called for an industry task force to lead an overhaul of the British care system in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ICG said the task force should include

experts including Care England chief executive Martin Green, UK Homecare Association chief executive Jane Townson, National Care Forum executive director Vic Rayner, National Care Association executive chair Nadra Ahmed, and King’s Fund senior fellow Richard Humphries. “A time-limited expert-led task force should

be set up now to begin rebuilding social care so that it is never again placed in the same perilous situation it is in now,” it added. A task force is one of a series of measures

the ICG has proposed to help rebuild a sector hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. The ICG also called for the Care Quality


Commission (CQC) to waive registration fees for the next 12 months, social care to be zero- rated for VAT, and direct financial support for care providers during the current pandemic paid through CQC. In addition, the ICG policy roadmap

proposes the “total integration” of NHS healthcare and social care, with care free at the point of need and funded through taxation or National Insurance. The other proposals include a

commissioner for older people and those with learning disabilities in England, a national career pathway and salary framework for care staff, professional registration for care staff, a “properly-costed” national rate for care fees, needs-based continuing healthcare (CHC) payments, and a Covid-19 bonus for all front line care staff.• June 2020

Ageist language ‘on the rise’

during pandemic Ageist language has increased over the course of the Covid-19 crisis according to a new poll commissioned by the charity Independent Age. The poll of 483 people aged over 65,

conducted by Opinium between May 15 and 18, showed that nearly one in five respondents (18 per cent) had heard or been on the receiving end of negative language about older people in relation to coronavirus. That was an increase from 12 per cent

from when the same poll was conducted eight weeks ago, as lockdown began in late March. Alongside being on the receiving end of

negative language about the older generation, the poll found over-65s have had reduced contact with friends and family during the crisis. The nationally representative poll found

that older people’s social contact had become increasingly limited over the course of the crisis, with the proportion of people having their social contact significantly reduced rising from 75 per cent in late March to 89 per cent now. Independent Age chief executive

Deborah Alsina MBE (pictured) said the survey showed the impact of coronavirus and the lockdown had profoundly changed the lives of older people across the UK. “It’s incredibly disappointing that one in

five people over 65 are hearing ageist language as the coronavirus pandemic continues – and particularly that this figure has increased,” she added.

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