Pelham House covered by BBC’s Panorama Programme
An article published by the BBC today covers Pelham House following the devastating impact of Covid-19 on our residents, care home and staff. We welcomed the opportunity to discuss these experiences with the BBC, whose Panorama programme this evening will also cover our home.
Roger Waluube, owner and general manager of Pelham House, says:
“The BBC’s comprehensive and sensitive coverage of social care as the ‘forgotten frontline’ demonstrates how care homes were abandoned to fight the virus alone with tragic results.
“Panorama’s team covered the deaths of Pelham House residents after a patient was sent back from hospital to our home before a Covid-19 test result was available. Our residents become dear friends, often living in our community for years, and we are devastated and deeply sorry for their families’ losses. We are determined that the healthcare sector and Government learns from this tragedy.
“The BBC coverage highlights the potential long-term impact on the sustainability and viability of care homes, including Pelham House. It reports that 38% of care home providers who responded to a survey face closure or severe financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19. Other analysis this year suggests 6500 homes are at risk of closure. Left to address the Covid-19 pandemic alone, with inadequate crisis funding, many homes, including Pelham House, are now close to a precipice. To pretend otherwise would be akin to denying the tide coming in.
“Our residents and their families may be concerned about our future. We are committed to continuing to provide the highest quality of personalised care with dignity and compassion. We are pursuing every opportunity to secure the long-term future for our residents and staff. We will welcome any and all offers of support. We are especially thankful to our staff, neighbours and local community, who have already done so much to help.
But we will not be silent about the desperate need for a better organised, better funded and more supportive environment for social care. Yesterday, MPs on the Public Accounts Committee described the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the social care sector as ‘slow, inconsistent and at times negligent.’ Our elderly and vulnerable people and their carers deserve better. Social care must be valued, not ignored.
“I am grateful to the BBC for investigating the tragedy, highlighting the dedication of our staff, and warning of the potential impact on care homes and social care. But this is not the first time Panorama has covered the impact of underfunding and the lack of a coherent national strategy to support care homes and their residents. After last year’s Panorama investigation into social care, the Government failed to act. The consequences were tragic. Now we demand change.”
Roger Waluube is calling for:
- The Government to commit to a timescale for the independent enquiry it has promised into how Covid-19 affected social care. The enquiry must address pandemic planning; discharging patients to care homes; and the supply of PPE and tests.
- A reform of financial support for the care system at national, regional and local level. Social care is disconnected from other parts of the health care system, and providers are too dependent on local authorities, themselves under severe financial pressure.
- Coherent guidance on staffing and procedures in the event of a potential second wave.
- A guarantee that PPE and testing will be available to social care providers without the lengthy waits we and other homes faced during this outbreak.
- Public support for a crowdfunding campaign to save Pelham House: details at www.pelhamcarehome.co.uk.
Roger Waluube of Pelham House Care Home is available to speak with the media. Please contact Jamie Veitch – 07904 272200 – firstname.lastname@example.org