A CARE home became a “breeding ground” for Covid-19 after patients were discharged from hospital without being tested, a Bradford care provider has claimed.

David Crabtree, who runs Sunningdale in Heaton and The Raikes in Silsden, has spoken out amid increasing concern over the Government’s handling of the crisis.

Today, Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee that pandemic planning had been completely inadequate and the Government had focused on the NHS while discharging infected patients into care homes.

Mr Crabtree said he took the decision to stop all visitors in the last week of February after watching the spread of Covid-19 across the continent and bought extra personal protective equipment, managing to remain Covid-free for “many weeks as the pandemic came ashore in the UK and tsunami wave of Covid-19 spread through our UK care homes”.

But that changed when two patients went into hospital.

Mr Crabtree said that one resident was admitted to the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) on March 16 for a medical condition and treatment. He was tested for Covid-19 when he went into hospital and it came back negative. Another resident was then admitted to a different ward at the BRI a few days later and towards the end of March, staff at the hospital rang to arrange their transfer back to Sunningdale.

Mr Crabtree said they asked for both patients to be tested prior to coming back, but claimed they were told ‘no’ as the first patient tested negative 12 days earlier so there was no need and the second patient was not showing any signs or symptoms.

They returned home and Mr Crabtree said: “Within three days of return, both had high temperatures and very sadly, both died within 11 days of returning from Covid-19. How Covid-19 spreads is still not clear as it was killing medical staff in hospitals who had far superior PPE equipment than social care workers had.”

He said a four further residents were then admitted to the BRI with “severe” Covid-19, though they recovered and a total of seven residents died at Sunningdale and a member of staff was also admitted with life-threatening symptoms.

“Our social care staff and 32 residents, who have dementia, had their home become a breeding ground for Covid-19 despite massive stringent protocols in infection control, isolation and barrier nursing techniques.”

A total of thirteen residents across the two homes have died. Despite the “terrible dark crisis”, he praised the work of the Council throughout the pandemic but now has one question - who is responsible for what happened?

Sandra Shannon, Chief Operating Officer at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sandra Shannon, said: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have tried to support care homes, as we always do, and have followed national guidance on discharges issued to all NHS trusts in England. On April 15, the Government published its Coronavirus: adult social care action plan which announced that trusts would need to test every single patient prior to discharge back to their care home or new admission to a care home – whether they had symptoms or not, on discharge from hospital. We immediately implemented this new policy and will do so with any subsequent national guidance.”