Three out of four care providers fear going out of business due to the impact of the coronavirus, a study has found.
The survey of more than 200 care providers was carried out by the National Care Association (NCA).
The survey found providers were increasingly concerned by the increase in staffing costs, PPE and the significant stress and anxiety suffered by staff and service users.
Providers reported an average 323% increase in PPE spending during the crisis with some saying costs had soared by 3,000%.
While only one in five reported COVID-19 in their services, many providers said they were limiting admissions due to fear of the virus but added this was unsustainable in the long term.
One of the main concerns raised is a failure of local authorities to offer any annual uplift in funding for 2020/21 and how they will be supporting providers in relation to the monies they have received from central government to support the sector.
Two thirds of responders said they had not received notification of additional funding from their council to meet the extra ordinary costs of COVID-19.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman of the NCA, (pictured) said: “The comments included in the survey tell a story of utter despair as providers have had to fight their way through this pandemic with little information support from government. When funds were eventually released they did not materialise on the frontline and still haven’t – where have all those billions gone?
“Why on earth did it take so long to recognise the importance of testing? This is the unfolding tragedy of the decisions taken not to support vulnerable people in social care settings: it is unforgivable and government must act immediately to remedy the situation and create a robust, sustainable sector which can fully meet the needs of our citizens.”
Responding to the survey, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils across the country are leading efforts to support communities through this unprecedented coronavirus crisis, including for our elderly and most vulnerable.
“The pressures they face are significant, wide-ranging and vary from place to place.
“Cost pressures caused by the impact of COVID-19, combined with lost income and savings opportunities, mean that councils will need up to four times what they have received from government to help deal with the crisis so far. We recognise the financial pressures on providers, and believe that the vast majority of councils are acting to address them, but this has proved difficult in the light of the funding shortfall to councils.
“Nearly half of the first allocation of £1.6 billion given to councils in March, to deal with the immediate impact of the pandemic across all council services, has been allocated to adult social care.
“There are many and growing calls on the COVID-19 funding made available to councils so far, across the full range of council services. Additional resources will be needed to allow councils to continue to support social care and other services.”