Tyne & Wear

Coronavirus: Care home sector 'could collapse without support'

A woman in a care home - generic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Care homes say they face additional costs as a result of the pandemic

A care home provider has warned it could collapse within five days without additional funding to cover costs incurred by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter leaked to the BBC, Care North East told North Tyneside Council the company faces a "force majeure".

The company represents 21 homes in the area, and 250 across north-east England.

North Tyneside Council said it provided a 5% funding increase in April and a further 5% for other Covid-19 costs.

But Care North East said the council had not provided the extra funding for all residents, missing out those who have to pay for their care themselves "yet who equally require Covid-19 care and protection".

The story was first reported by Sky News.

The company also said it needed the shortfall addressing within five days with the council's "current aspiration" of providing extra payments by the end of June being "woefully slow".

It read: "This letter stands as our client's formal notice to the council that the care home market within North Tyneside is facing imminent collapse due to the council's conduct in the lead up to and during the current coronavirus pandemic.

"As vacancies increase due to deaths, with fewer and fewer (if any) new admissions, the running of homes within North Tyneside is becoming increasingly unsustainable."

Jacqui Old, director of children's and adult service at North Tyneside Council, said: "In April, in line with many other local authorities, we provided a 5% increase in funding along with an additional 5% to cover other Covid-19 costs.

"In addition to this we are discussing additional bespoke financial support to care homes

"As well as funding, we have provided support with recruitment, have redeployed council staff to work in care homes, have worked alongside NHS colleagues to provide specialist training, and the delivery of at least 20,000 items of PPE to top up providers' own supplies and help to protect both staff and residents."

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