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Coronavirus: Care homes struggling as PPE prices skyrocket

One Surrey provider says prices have risen to ‘laughable’ levels as ‘unethical’ firms seek to cash in.

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Care home providers looking after the elderly and dementia patients are concerned about price gouging as they seek to source protective equipment amid the coronavirus crisis (Peter Byrne/PA)

Care home providers looking after the elderly and dementia patients are concerned about price gouging as they seek to source protective equipment amid the coronavirus crisis (Peter Byrne/PA)

Care home providers looking after the elderly and dementia patients are concerned about price gouging as they seek to source protective equipment amid the coronavirus crisis (Peter Byrne/PA)

Care homes could be priced out of sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) by “unethical” suppliers seeking to cash in on the coronavirus crisus, one English provider has said.

The Surrey-based CHD Living group says smaller social care companies could struggle to attain approved protective equipment as prices had reached “laughable” levels.

Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Communications and Commissioning at CHD Living, said while Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised sufficient PPE would arrive with care workers by the end of last week, CHD is still having to buy its own to supplement that provided.

“What is very sad is there are some very unscrupulous suppliers who have really increased the pricing far beyond the means of any provider and some quotations we’ve had have been quite laughable to be honest,” Ms Hasham told the PA News Agency.

“There are people who are very, very sadly trying to make a quick buck out of this, and I think that that’s just completely unethical.”

With demand for masks, gloves and sanitiser having skyrocketed during the crisis, Ms Hasham said smaller care home companies could struggle to access appropriate protective equipment at the time it was needed most.

“With regards to personal protective equipment, my heart goes out to small social care providers, people operating maybe one or two homes because they don’t have necessarily the same support network, or indeed access to some of the large wholesalers,” Ms Hasham said.

Complaints about over-pricing have been echoed by one of the country’s leading social care charities, which said prices for such crucial supplies such as face masks and sanitiser gels had risen by as much as 1,000%.

Mark Adams, head of Community Integrated Care, told The Daily Telegraph: “Gloves, they are up by 30 per cent in price; aprons, they are up by 166 per cent; but, most strikingly, we’ve seen a typical price increase for a standard pack of masks go up by over 1,000 per cent.”

Ms Hasham also said imposing self-isolation and social distancing measures was proving challenging to care home providers, particularly for those trying to keep dementia patients confined.

“We have faced challenges, one of those being where we look after people who are living with dementia, and who tend to walk with purpose,” she said.

“It’s very difficult to isolate people living with dementia in a bedroom, in their own room.”

PA