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Some Bucks carehomes may not survive

Care homes are struggling as the coronavirus pandemic affects capacity.

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Oliver Sirrell at 11:50am 20th July 2020. 3-minute read.

Some Bucks carehomes may not survive

Buckinghamshire Council are aware of the struggles care homes in the area face. 

A top council boss has warned some care home providers across the county “will not survive the impact of Covid-19”.

The stark warning came as councillor Patricia Birchley told colleagues she knew one care home could only currently fill 13 of 37 beds following the coronavirus peak.

Councillor Robin Stuchburry asked social care boss Angela Macpherson a written question about what discussions the council has had with care homes across Bucks about financial support for providers.

Elderly / old patient

Cllr Macpherson’s response, which was handed out to councillors at a full council meeting, read:

“We are worried that not all providers will survive the impact of Covid-19.

“Sadly we won’t be able to save all providers.

“Safeguarding vulnerable adults has to be our priority and we are undertaking a review to ensure we can meet need across the county and across different types of support e.g. people with learning difficulties, older people, dementia etc.

“In this work, we are also looking at trends to identify future demand to ensure sustainable services into 2021 and beyond. Once we look at the data and analysis, the next step is to discuss this with providers to ensure we align our priorities together.

“We have spoken to some providers already about this work, who are very much on board and excited about the opportunity to work with us to support vulnerable residents in the best way we can.”

Elderly / old couple

Writing about the measures the council has made to support care homes during the pandemic, she added:

“The council established a Covid Provider Cell as part of the adult social care response to the pandemic, which has been in constant communication with care providers during the crisis.

“As part of the support to care providers, a process has been established which enables care providers to claim for additional costs associated with Covid, and the infection control fund provided by the Government is being distributed as per the grant conditions.

“The council have developed close working arrangements with providers and an email has been set up so that there is a quick route into commissioners who lead on contract management.

“Through email and ongoing telephone calls, we are having daily conversations with providers.

“They are telling us about some of their difficulties and challenges. Where this is financial, commissioners work through questions with the providers to help understand the problem in more detail and explore where we can help if we can.

“Examples of where we have done this is enabling providers to claim for additional staffing costs to cover people being off sick, helping with costs linked to PPE and offering to pay differently to ensure the provider has better cash flow.”

The issue was discussed at a meeting of Buckinghamshire Council on Wednesday, July 15.

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