Care homes need assurances on potential virus carriers

From: Andrew Lindsay, Chairman, Representation UK, Kirk Hammerton, York.

Social care continues to be neglected by politicians - despite the coronavirus crisis.

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I UNDERSTAND the need to free up hospital beds right now. However, care home residents are just about the most vulnerable members of society.

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If a single hospital patient with the virus is transferred to a care home, multiple infections will result and many unnecessary deaths will occur. Ironically, more elderly people will end up back in hospital – the reverse of what is intended.

Repeated promises by Ministers to reform social care have not fulfilled, despite Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, and his successor Matt Hancock both saying that it was a priority before coronavirus struck.

Infected care homes will not then be able to accept other ‘non-Covid’ residents. This would put more strain both on families and the system. Added to that, local authorities are currently having to pay operators for empty care home beds to help keep operators solvent. Void payments will have to increase if care homes become Covid-infected and therefore stand empty.

By giving all such patients a ‘coronavirus passport,’ it would become clear that they were safe to be accepted into care homes.

A large proportion of care home residents have dementia. Dementia-suffers don’t understand the concept of isolation, or why it’s important to wear masks or observe social distancing rules. There are already strict rules in place relating to ‘protection of liberty’ for the likes of dementia residents, which means they can’t be locked up in their rooms, even if it would keep them safe from infection. Consequently, infections like coronavirus can spread like wildfire in such a confined environment.

Care home operators therefore need assurances that the NHS is not inadvertently sending them Covid-infected patients and, potentially, the kiss of death to many of their residents.

From: John Hunt, Caridgan Road, Bridlington.

ANOTHER organisation that deserves a round of applause during these troubled times is Jet2. I was near ending a long stay in Tenerife when Covid-19 broke out and hotel guests were obviously very worried about getting back to UK.

The Jet2 rep came to the hotel every morning, gave a full explanation of the situation and answered all the many questions.

Reps from other airlines didn’t even turn ups. Jet2 put on an additional flight (three days early in my case), and along with ‘rescued’ passengers who had travelled with other travel companies, got us safely back to Leeds Bradford Airport. All the Jet2 staff on the ground, and in the air, were fantastic from start to finish. So on behalf of very many grateful people, thank you Jet2, you are brilliant!

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson