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COVID-19: Staff saved care homes without extra pay, report says

In a new report published by Warwick Business School experts claim government support for UK care homes during the pandemic was withdrawn too soon leaving staff to pick up the pieces.  

Titled ‘Bailed Out and Burned Out’ the report, which was published yesterday, said care staff worked extra hours to ensure the care system could still run efficiently, but received no additional pay.

woman in black shirt holding white mask

The results of the research, which examined the accounts of more than 4,000 care home companies from just before the pandemic, have been published as the government is discussing reforms to adult social care.

Co-written with University College London and the Centre for Health and Public Interest, the report said the government failed to plan for the ‘highly predictable’ damaged caused to the sector by COVID-19.

While £2.1bn of public money helped to prevent widespread financial collapse during the lockdowns, most payments ended in 2022 and the report said not all of the money reached the frontlines. Care homes are still recovering from the pandemic but, are now facing additional pressures and they are under-staffed yet full to capacity with patients.

The report concluded: ‘Despite clear warning that the financial impact of a pandemic…would prevent care home services from functioning effectively, there is no evidence that the government had any contingency plans in place to address this challenge.

‘The decision by the government to end financial support for care home companies after the peak of the pandemic had passed has likely contributed to the current financial and operational difficulties experienced by the sector.’

Additionally, the report has been published just after the government have announced rules to majorly reduce COVID-19 testing in England as a way of learning to live with the virus.

Image: Önder Örtel

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