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Council slammed for lack of ‘leadership’ over ‘strain’ on care homes

PUBLISHED: 14:24 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:47 08 October 2020

Norfolk County Council has been criticised for a lack of leadership over the immense strain placed on people living in care homes during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: John Stillwell/PA

Norfolk County Council has been criticised for a lack of leadership over the immense strain placed on people living in care homes during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: John Stillwell/PA

Norfolk County Council has been criticised for a lack of leadership over the “immense strain” placed on people living in care homes during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat county councillor, has criticised the county council. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat county councillor, has criticised the county council. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

The county council has been asked about the steps it is taking to ensure residents who have been “socially isolated” are able to see visitors - and that homes comply with the rules around testing.

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat county councillor, said: “People in care homes should be treated with the care and dignity they deserve.

“There is immense strain placed on them due to the Covid-19 crisis.

READ MORE: £1.2m training site to help all Norfolk care homes

Norfolk county councillor and cabinet member for adult social care Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.Norfolk county councillor and cabinet member for adult social care Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.

“The county council is not showing the leadership it should on this issue. Work done by care homes that are showing initiative should be rolled out across Norfolk. Yet the council is silent.

“It is going to be a harder and harsher winter than it needs to be for care home residents unless the council shows better leadership.”

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, said he had addressed Mr Roper’s concerns via a question submitted ahead of the council’s cabinet meeting.

He said: “I am disappointed to see his comments, as he seems not to have bothered to read my response to his question. So, just to reiterate, here is a quote from my answer.

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“We are of course working with homes to try and make sure that, within the guidance, they take steps to maximise the quality of life through innovative ways of contacting people, through the provision of essential health and support services, through staff interaction, and through permitted social activity.”

It came after Mr Roper asked ahout isolation and testing during a meeting of the council’s cabinet held on Monday, October 5.

READ MORE: What are the rules for visiting Norfolk care homes?

He asked: “What should be done to improve the quality of life for care home residents? There is concern that some of the private care homes are not regularly testing care workers for Covid-19.

“What is the council doing to ensure that the care homes are following government guidance?”

Mr Borrett said: “There is reliable evidence that restricting the movement of people into and between care settings reduces the spread of infection. Providers have been preserving important contact between residents, relatives and other social contacts.

“The majority of homes are striving hard to maintain social engagement.”

He added: “A national system was deployed for care home providers to register to obtain tests and test results.

“The council must rely upon the self-report and assurances of care providers in this regard. Positive relationships provide some reassurance that testing is conducted and care homes with known COVID-19 situations or outbreaks are monitored closely to ensure relevant testing is conducted by local NHS teams.”

READ MORE: Concerns over new rise in coronavirus cases in care homes


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