Politics

Coronavirus cases could be in half of its care homes, leading charity warns


A LEADING charity has warned coronavirus cases could be in half of its care homes.

MHA revealed they have confirmed or suspected cases in more than half of its 220 facilities.

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 Care Home staff have warned they face mass shortages of equipment

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Care Home staff have warned they face mass shortages of equipment

MHA say 750 of its staff are now unable to work, and that confirmed deaths from the disease are continuing to rise.

They have 4,400 older people living in their care homes, with 3,000 older people living independently in retirement living communities.

The group have now warned homes are using up weekly face mask supplies in just one day, and nine of its centres now have “dangerously low” amounts of kits.

Chief executive Sam Monaghan said: “The adult social care sector must not be treated as the poor relation of the NHS.

“Our people are also working day and night with those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus and we are yet to be included in the testing that is being rolled out for the NHS.

“This and personal protective equipment needs addressing urgently so we can keep our staff and those we care for safe.

“We are anxious that we may see an increase in staff expressing concern about coming into work without being supplied with adequate equipment.”

Workers told the Guardian staff and residents mixing with people confirmed to have the virus feel as if they were being treated like “cannon fodder”.

A care assistant in a home not operated by MHA said staff had been left terrified after residents said they would prefer to stay in the home if they got sick.

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They said: “How do we contain it in a home? We have people with dementia and we can’t keep them in their rooms.

“All we have for PPE is the generic paper mask, gloves and plastic aprons. We are risking our lives. It makes us feel like we are cannon fodder.”

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Another carer at a home in Edinburgh explained he burst out crying last week after realising staff looking after an infected resident were also looking after others.

Now Labour MP Margaret Hodge has written to Matt Hancock demanding more supplies and increased testing for care workers.

She said: “The government must act faster to protect both the most vulnerable people in our communities and care home staff.

“The pronouncements they are making in parliament and the situation on the ground simply doesn’t add up.”

The Unison union, which represents care workers, has also demanded drastic action.

Unison leader Dave Prentis has written to the Prime Minister claiming care workers “feel like they’ve been forgotten – their safety a mere afterthought, despite the critical work they do”.

It comes as a care home in Liverpool today declared itself “desperate for help”, with 48 of its elderly residents showing symptoms of coronavirus after two deaths.

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Oak Springs care home currently has 50 staff self-isolating after displaying symptoms.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.

“We have provided PPE equipment to over 26,000 care homes including home care and hospices across the country.

“The full weight of the Government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry and social care providers to make sure care staff have the protection they need to continue to deliver care safely.”

A No10 spokesperson this morning said: “We have provided face masks to over 25000 care homes, including home care and hospices across the country so far.

“We have prioritised face masks as gloves and aprons are already in use in these settings.”

There are now 25,150 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 1,829 deaths in the UK.

It comes as Piers Morgan ripped into ministers for failing to explain WHY Britain can’t test as many people for coronavirus as Germany.

The Good Morning Britain host lost his temper with Robert Jenrick, who couldn’t explain why the UK wasn’t able to get 500,000 tests done like seen in other countries.

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