A CARE association boss has spoken of the challenges faced by the sector during the coronavirus crisis.

Bradford Care Association chairman Konrad Czajka said issues included personal protective equipment (PPE) – particularly in relation to inflated prices and unscrupulous people trying to sell substandard products.

Mr Czajka is managing director of Czajka Care Group, whose homes include Currergate at Steeton and Beanlands, Cross Hills.

“We need to know when and where the next tranche of PPE will come from,” he said, adding that testing had also been a “big challenge”– although the system was now starting to work well.

“The national picture that is emerging is that although the Government gave local authorities a total of £3.2bn additional funding – and a further £600m specifically targeted at helping social care to fight Covid-19 – very little has filtered through to the care sector, which has become the frontline of this fight.

“The money that has been passed on to care providers by the local authorities barely covers a fraction of the cost of the additional PPE and extra staffing costs, and whilst there is a perception that care homes are a cash-rich businesses, the last ten years of underfunding had already pushed this sector to the edge.

“Outsiders often presume that care homes charge high fees so must be very profitable, but the costs of providing quality care have greatly escalated due to Covid-19.

“Local authorities and the NHS have asked lots of care homes to look after people infected with Covid-19, so many care homes are now seeing falling revenues due to Covid-19, non Covid-19 deaths and people being afraid to enter a care home setting because of the perceived risks.”

He said the Government should have ringfenced funding and given it directly to care homes.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the Government is working “around the clock” to make sure the frontline social care workforce is getting the support and resources needed – including infection and control training and supplies of PPE.

The spokesman said two thirds of England’s care homes have had no outbreaks at all, adding: “We are working closely with local authorities to ensure funding is distributed fairly and reaches the frontline where it is needed most.”