Coronavirus: Care homes 'face mass deaths' without PPE

Glyn WilliamsImage source, Care Forum Wales
Image caption,
Mr Williams has brought military tents as a decontamination area for care staff

A care home owner has warned of mass deaths of residents from coronavirus due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and funding.

Glyn Williams, who runs the Gwyddfor residential home in Bodedern, Anglesey, said he would have to close if he cannot protect residents and staff.

Other care providers have warned the health care system could grind to a halt without more support.

The Welsh Government said five million PPE items had been given out in Wales.

Mr Williams said Gwyddfor care home houses 28 residents with 45 members of staff.

"You only have to look at Spain and the elderly residents found abandoned and dead in their beds," he said.

"We have a very short space of time to protect the most vulnerable on Anglesey and value our staff.

"I now have to think about the future viability of my business, and whether or not I can provide a safe and high standard of care. Right now I don't think I can."

Image caption,
Mr Williams has brought military planning to dealing with the outbreak at his care home

Mr Williams spent 25 years serving with the Royal Air Force and said he has used his previous training in biological and chemical warfare to safeguard the care home.

As well as reorganised shifts and taking on extra staff, he has bought two military mess tents as a decontamination facility.

Anglesey council has been asked to comment.

Mr Williams is a member of the sector body Care Forum Wales which represents 450 independent care providers.

Chairman Mario Kreft said: "In a civilised society, we can't allow care homes to become collateral damage otherwise more people are going to die than would otherwise be the case."

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The care service must also be recognised as the "frontline" against Covid-19 say carers

Helen Davies-Parson, of Abergavenny-based Dormy Care, said patients would not be able to leave hospital if the care system cannot safely operate.

"The NHS is absolutely seen as the frontline but everyone is failing to see that so is the care service," she said.

"If we can't do our job helping the NHS in emptying the wards then the whole health care system in Wales is going to grind to a halt."

Image caption,
"We are putting our life at risk but are classified as under-skilled workers," said Wendy Harvey

Wendy Harvey, of All Care in the Vale of Glamorgan, said they are having to source their own masks and visors for staff caring for people in the community.

Rhun Ap Iorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru's health and care spokesman, has called on the Welsh Government to ensure additional resources are available to the care sector in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said five million items of PPE had been distributed across Wales, although he acknowledged there were glitches, given the scale of the problem.