A NORTH East care organisation, frustrated by a lack of support, has revealed it warned its local authority a month ago about the potential disaster looming in the face of Covid-19.

Redcar and Cleveland Independent Providers Association wrote to Redcar and Cleveland Council in early March to highlight the pressure homes would be under with the spread of coronavirus.

But the Association claims that it has had no response to it letter – and is still waiting for a reply.

Justin Russi of Hawthorns Lodge Care Group – which runs homes in County Durham, Loftus and Guisborough – and is chair of the Association said many of the questions raised with the local authority weeks ago remain unanswered.

A letter sent at the time asks when PPE will be available for care home staff and highlights the importance of Covid-19 testing for carers, along with highlighting the financial restraints that would be put upon the homes.

But to date no response has been received, despite the now urgent situation within care facilities.

“Care homes are exactly that, a loving caring place first and foremost for people who need it the most and are above all safe,” said Mr Russi.

“The staff working in residential care and nursing homes are being torn apart because they are being placed in a position where they cannot respond and care for each of their patients/residents as they know they have a right to and deserve.

“We pointed out the potential outcome of this situation weeks ago but the local authority have never once responded.

“Help is desperately needed, not just in our Association’s homes but in homes up and down the country.”

According to Mr Russi, whose experience is echoed by the 250 homes represented by Care North East, local authorities have been imposing unnecessary conditions on the Government’s emergency pay out to care homes.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.

“The shortage of PPE in care and nursing homes is a terrible indictment on our local authorities and government.  We must be careful to ensure that we are not living in a throwaway society which decides who is worth saving and who is not.”

Mr Russi said that the local authorities have failed in not creating “a clearly defined long term plan to support care homes who are getting into financial crisis as result of COVID-19.”

He added, “ when everyone goes out on Thursday and claps for the NHS and care givers, remember, saving lives is to just about showing support ,washing hands and staying indoors. It is also getting the right help where it is needed and fast.   As a great nation we can do better.”