Care providers ‘facing ruin’ if PPE financial backing ends

Without the funding, the sector warns homes and providers will be forced to close.

Care providers ‘facing ruin’ if PPE financial backing ends iStock

Care providers have warned they may be forced out of business when the Scottish Government’s PPE reimbursement scheme ends next month.

Negotiations between the care sector and the government are ongoing, but those running homes said they need to be able to plan for the long-term.

One charity has gone from spending £15,000 a year on coronavirus PPE (personal protective equipment) to £75,000.

“We still need to use that PPE to keep everybody safe,” said Andrea Wyllie CEO of Greenock Medical Aid Society.

“We’d really appreciate that fund to extend certainly well into the summer. It’d be nice to have it as a much longer-term plan so that we can budget.

“It’s a huge worry and it’s not just PPE. There’s extra Covid-related costs that come in and we still want to do other things.

“Planning for that is very, very difficult. As a charity, we have reserves, but we’re using our reserves.”

Smaller homes have said they are unable to afford the large volumes of PPE required to tackle the pandemic.

In 2020/21, the Scottish Government reimbursed social care providers with more than £17m for PPE and IPC (infection prevention amd control) measures.

Without this fund, industry group Scottish Care say many homes will be left penniless and be forced to close.

“What we’re seeing is that not all care homes or care-at-home providers have been paid the monies that they should have been paid by government,” said Karen Hedge, national director of Scottish Care.

“If a care home or a home care provider doesn’t know if they’re going to get paid for the service that they are contracted to deliver by the government, then they are no longer viable.”

Ms Hedge said that regulators could be called in and, ultimately, care providers could close.

“That leaves huge gaps in our communities, for those people who live in care homes, who get care at home, their loved ones, and also for the staff who work there as well,” she said.

Julie O’Donnell, CEO of social care charity LOVE Group, said it was a “crisis within a crisis”.

“Approximately now we are around about £50,000 a year in PPE and, prior to the Covid pandemic, we were somewhere in the region of £12,000 to £15,000 a year,” she told STV News.

“£50,000 is a lot of money for any business, but when you look at the increase in the costs, that’s costs that could be applied to hiring more frontline staff, putting more supports in place for public and our own staff as well.

“I think the long-term solution is the funding needs to stay in place.

“This is not funding that can be allocated just as and when it should be. This is funding that needs to be in place for all care delivery companies or all companies that need to access PPE.”

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.

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