Care homes face huge rise in insurance costs due to pandemic

Care homes are struggling due to rising costs and a lack of demand for places.

Care homes are struggling due to rising costs and a lack of demand for places. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Care homes are facing spiralling costs and a lack of investment leaving many on the brink of closure – according to sector experts.

Care and nursing homes have been hit with a huge rise in insurance premiums due to the costs and risks associated with Covid-19 and years of underinvestment.

The owner of a Weston nursing home says his insurance premium has risen by 500 per cent – from £2,780 to £16,359 – and that is without cover for Covid-19.

Gordon Butcher, regional chairman of the Registered Nursing Home Association, warns the care sector is on the brink of collapse and needs urgent investment.

He said: “This unprecedented increase in our insurance premiums is just one of the many indicators showing the critical condition the nursing home sector is in; it’s something of a financial tsunami, with no obvious signs of stopping closures.

“The nursing home sector was struggling before the pandemic, but the impact coronavirus is having has accelerated and compounded these struggles.

“The writing is on the wall, fees that no longer meet even the basic cost of care, rising expenditure to provide that care, far more empty beds with a slowdown of admissions.

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“These care homes walk a financial tightrope with massive bank commitments.

“Their financial forecasts have been decimated with no short-term fix. With continual news coverage of a possible second coronaviris wave in October, the sector takes a continual shuffle forward to a national crash.”

More: Nursing homes ‘days from crisis’ due to coronavirus.

North Somerset Council provided extra funding to the sector throughout the pandemic, but stressed it is ‘vitally important’ ongoing funding is made available to care homes.

Cllr Mike Bell, the authority’s executive member for adult social care and health, said: “We are keen to support the care home sector to survive what we anticipate will be an interim downturn in demand and are monitoring occupancy figures on a daily basis and working with the our local NHS partners to support the sector.

“However, without more urgent funding from government and a long-term sustainable social care system, these challenges are not going to go away.”

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG is establishing a Care Provision Programme board in a bid to stabilise the care sector.

A spokesman also confirmed it has ‘significantly increased’ the number of intermediate care and step-down beds across the area.