Outrage as Folkestone care home has been let down in Covid mess

The owner of a leading care home in Folkestone has hit out at being let down by the care system after one of its residents was treated in William Harvey Hospital – but returned to the Home with the Covid 19 virus.

“A 96-year old war veteran needed hospital treatment after being taken ill, only to return untested and with the virus,” explained the bitter owner of Pelham House Care Home, Roger Waluube. “We were severely let down by the Hospital which should have treated and cared for our resident preventing this contamination, which has not only put our other 20 residents at risk, but also our staff who are doing everything humanly possible to carry out the serious business of care.”

“Being at the forefront of care for the elderly, we felt vulnerable from an early stage of the Covid-19 crisis. Our longstanding food supplier, Tesco, stopped delivering weekly supplies and the lack of staff testing and personal protection equipment (PPE) could so easily have been addressed, but instead we found we were having to fend for ourselves.”

“The government has failed in its responsibility to look after the most vulnerable citizens in our community. Neglect and mismanagement have undoubtedly put my residents and social care at insurmountable risk,” said Roger. “I am infuriated that we were left to fend for ourselves when there was an obvious and imminent crisis looming.”

It has been well documented that the UK government refused to take advantage of the EU provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), in its bid to ‘take back control’ in an effort to defend its Brexit delivery credentials, but this has a practical cost in people’s lives.

“We knew challenging times were coming, but never expected our elderly residents would be treated in such a deplorable way and the lack of meaningful practical support has been non-existent. It is unbearable to watch people suffer,” says Roger.

Since the return of the 96-year old war veteran to Pelham House on Monday (18th), the outbreak of Covid-19 has now amplified with all but two of the Home’s residents proving positive for the virus, as well as the Home’s manager and only cook. To add to its woes, Kent County Council has pulled back its support for the 40-year-old family run care home by stopping new admissions. “We are dedicated and committed to caring for elderly people and will continue to do so for as long as we can” says Roger .

This news comes at a time when it the Government has faced fierce criticism from the care industry with the testing process being described as ‘chaotic’ by the National Care Forum. The organisation has called for an urgent need for 200,000 tests a day under the guidance from the World Health Organisation to ‘test, trace and track’ the virus

“There are currently 30,000 tests available to care homes, which equates to 300 care home per day receiving tests,” said Vic Rayner of the Forum. “This is in no way near enough of the amount of tests required for the care sector.

“We need to see at least 200,000 routine and regular tests each day in the care sector alone. The speed and quality of the testing process is currently a postcode lottery and doesn’t appear to be based on need.

“Some of our members are being told they won’t be tested until 6 June which is much too late,” said Mr Rayner.

“We fully appreciate the difficulties being experienced at present, but the care industry feels like it has been kicked into the long grass at the moment,” concluded Roger. “At the moment, our care work hangs in the balance and I lay the blame firmly at the door of Number Ten in Downing Street. Quite where this will end is impossible to see at present, and is affecting the lives of our residents, our fantastic staff and their families – we continue to do our best against the most adverse circumstances.”

Edel Harris





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