There are 450 vacancies in care homes in the borough
It is “inevitable” that some care homes in Kirklees may be forced to close due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s the stark warning from a senior figure on Kirklees Council who says there are 450 vacancies within the care sector locally.
Labour’s Mus Khan, who heads the health and social care portfolio, said the council was talking with all those who could be affected by future closures.
In response to a question from the Lib Dems’ Clr Anthony Smith (Lindley) Clr Khan said: “We are working very closely with care homes to support them with various support packages but it’s inevitable, I think, that some care homes are going to close.
“There are currently around 450 vacancies, so there’s a huge amount of vacancies within the care sector.”
She said the “higher levels” of vacancies in some care homes would render then “unsustainable”.
Clr Khan (Dalton) has previously warned some care homes in Kirklees are teetering on the brink of financial collapse as they struggle to cope with the ongoing health emergency.
Speaking in May she said Government guidance to care homes had been “led by capacity issues rather than science” and “rapidly changed from week to week.”
At a meeting of the council’s decision-making Cabinet yesterday (June 16) she reiterated her concerns.
“It is a dire situation. We are trying to manage that the best we can. We are aware of which care homes are in trouble at the moment.”
Clr Smith asked for details on what plans the Cabinet had made in the event of closures, “particularly around managing the needs of the very vulnerable people that will be impacted.”
Clr Khan said the council was speaking with all the care homes that could possibly close.
She added: “There are plans in place – contingency planning started way before shutdown for every eventuality – and we’re very confident that everybody can be catered for.
“Conversations are happening with individuals that are immediately affected and their family members.”
The council has increased its capacity in the care sector by buying 100 residential care beds and has expanded its recruitment drive to reduce the use of costly agency workers.
It has also pumped an extra 10% into funding care homes.
Clr Khan said Kirklees was “one of the first and quickest” authorities to discharge money from the Government’s £600m adult social care infection control fund.
However in May she revealed that people who had tested positive for coronavirus were still being released back into the system – and discharged into care homes.