The chief executive of one of the UK’s more prominent social care providers, which has not suffered a single death in its 130 homes due to Covid-19, has hit back at claims that the sector is no longer safe for vulnerable people.

John Godden is the CEO of Salutem, which runs nine specialist care services for adults and children with complex needs across the North East*. He has challenged the negative portrayal of the care sector amid reports of exponential deaths in facilities nationwide.

Salutem operates 130 specialist services nationwide and has only reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths (as at 8 June 2020).

Commenting, John Godden, CEO of Salutem, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has focused the spotlight on care homes in a very negative way, highlighting the vulnerability of the people we support.

“Across all our services in Durham, we have worked unceasingly to ensure they remain safe, happy spaces for the people we support. The homes we operate for Adults and Children with Learning, Mental Health or Physical Disabilities are generally very small with four to six residents and are very safe places with strong infection control processes and much fewer chances to be exposed to infection such as hospital visits.

“It’s a tragic fact that many vulnerable people with challenging physical and mental disabilities have lost their lives to COVID-19. But, for example, 98 per cent of care homes for people with learning difficulties have had no cases of the virus at all.

“The perception that care homes are no longer safe, poses a far greater, long term threat to vulnerable people. Deprived of the specialist physical and mental support they need to lead happy, healthy lives as independently as possible, the global crisis could yet deliver an even more crushing blow to society’s most at risk.”

Since the disease began to take hold in the UK, Salutem has introduced rigorous procedures to protect the vulnerable people it supports. The measures have included:

  • Rigorous hand-washing protocols
  • Frequent cleaning of all surfaces and touchpoints
  • Temperature checks for staff and visitors on arrival
  • Staff changing clothes on the premises
  • Comprehensive PPE training and provision.