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Care homes veteran Kilgour warns sector close to collapse

Robert Kilgour

Robert Kilgour: ‘desperate times’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Veteran care home entrepreneur Robert Kilgour has warned that the sector faces collapse unless it has more resources to tackle Covid-19.

Robert Kilgour, who founded Four Seasons Health Care and who is now chairman of Renaissance Care, said that without help the sector’s woes will pile more pressure on the hard-pressed NHS.

His comments follow the death of 16 residents in a single week at one Glasgow care home and confirmation that a home care worker in the West of Scotland had also died with Covid-19 symptoms.

He said there was a growing shortage of PPE protection equipment and hospitals are “not keen on accepting, and in some cases rejecting”, care home residents with Covid-19 symptoms. Admissions, he said, now seem to be based on a maximum age 75 in some areas.

Mr Kilgour said: “The question the Government should be asking is ‘what would happen to the NHS if the social care sector with its 500,000 beds throughout the UK collapsed?’

“The simple answer is that it wouldn’t be able to cope with the increased demand.

The tragic news from Burlington Care Home in Glasgow is likely to be just the start of a tsunami of deaths

– Robert Kilgour

“These are desperate times, and we in the social care sector are very much prepared to do our bit and play a vital role in the current crisis.

“But we simply can’t have the situation now arising where GPs are instructing care homes not to seek to admit residents very ill with Covid-19 symptoms into hospital but to keep and care for them in the care homes.”

Reflecting on the shocking number of deaths recently reported, he said: “The tragic news from Burlington Care Home in Glasgow is likely to be just the start of a tsunami of such deaths, which will not be included in the official coronavirus death figures as only those occurring in hospitals are registered as such.

“The growing number of care home residents with Covid-19 symptoms are simply not being tested, and if and when they sadly die, their deaths will probably be classified as chest infection or pneumonia.”

Mr Kilgour said there is a growing feeling in the social care sector that it is under-appreciated by all governments – local, regional and national.

He continued: “There has been a huge increase in the cost of PPE and increasingly long delays in their delivery, especially face masks. There have also been instances of equipment ordered by care homes being diverted to the NHS.

“The impact on the morale of care staff of PPE shortages and the increasing number of residents with Covid-19 symptoms in care homes has been massive. Our brave and hard working care staff deserve and need our full support and appreciation.

“The social care sector is being asked to do too much with too little. The Government must do whatever it takes to save the social care sector as the survival of our NHS during this crisis depends on it.”



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