Local councils hoarding coronavirus funding could push care homes over the edge

Linda J. Dodson

Care home associations have accused “appalling” councils of withholding millions of pounds in emergency funding which could have been used to save lives. 

Professor Martin Green of the charity Care England said that councils were refusing to give money to cover vital costs such as personal protective equipment (PPE), extra staffing and cleaning supplies. Yesterday health secretary Matt Hancock said councils must cough up and pass funding on to care providers. 

The Government has pledged £1.6bn to local authorities to help them respond to coronavirus. The bulk of the money was intended to help social care services – who look after some of Britain’s most vulnerable people and are having to give up beds to coronavirus patients being discharged from hospitals.

However Prof Green said very little of this money is currently trickling down to care homes. “Instead councils are using it to pay their own staff. They’re telling us to wait and that we might get the money at some point, but we need it now,” he said. 

Prof Green described the behaviour of local authorities as “appalling”. 

Mr Hancock said councils had received funding in order for that to reach the frontlines, including social care providers, and that he would be watching the situation closely. 

He also announced a number of measures to protect staff and residents of care homes. These included a promise to test all patients being discharged from hospitals into care homes and a new online delivery system so social care workers can access PPE. 

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