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Care England calls for lessons to be learned from COVID care hotels initiative

by Lisa Carr

Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has called for lessons to be learned from the care hotel initiative deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:

“Care England appreciates that the pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented set of challenges for our health and care services. The pressures of COVID-19 brought the NHS to breaking point, and with hospitals nearing full capacity local systems were forced to resort to alternative locations to meet demand for care. However, the ‘care hotel’ initiative represented mismanagement of public funds on a scale that is wholly unacceptable. News that a Norfolk ‘care hotel’ cost £500k to treat just 36 people represents an incredible mismanagement of funds. It also emphasises the lack of capacity planning across the NHS and social care sectors, local health and social care economies should be ensuring that there is enough community provision to meet demand.”

Norfolk and Waveney CCG pursued a 3-month pilot scheme in early 2022, to alleviate pressure on the NHS. The solution was to send 36 care recipients for an average of 16 weeks, to a hotel and to transform it into a ‘Care Hotel’. Vast sums were inappropriately spent, costing taxpayers £15,555 per care recipient.

Martin Green continues:

Local independent adult social care services have consistently demonstrated that they are able to offer taxpayers value for money. These providers empower those in need of care, and their families, to make meaningful choices so that they receive the right care across a variety of services including care homes, home care and supported living services. They had the capabilities and capacity to care for these individuals, and had they been utilised it would have saved the public from these significant costs. As a means of learning lessons, Care England would ask for assurances from the Government that the care sector will be considered and involved in future ICS planning as to avoid expensive and inefficient initiatives.”

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