A CARE home where 15 residents died in the coronavirus crisis was “used as a dumping ground” for elderly hospital patients, a source has claimed.
They added that Temple Court in Kettering, Northants, was also “pressured into taking untested sick people,” so the local hospital could free up beds.
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It is claimed the home was free from the Covid-19 virus before the NHS admissions but it was forced to close after all the staff fell ill.
Official figures say 12,526 people have died from the coronavirus in care homes across the country – a third of the total death toll – but the figure could be much higher.
It is reported the home took in 15 NHS patients in March from the town’s hospital who were not existing residents at the home.
The insider told The People: “It’s a massive scandal. The hospitals pressured care homes into taking patients despite not having a clue if they had coronavirus or not.”
It was claimed between March 28 and May 1, 15 people died, five with Covid-19, seven suspected of having it, and three of unknown causes. Ten of the dead were NHS patients.
It is understood a 16th resident, a woman aged 87, was admitted to intensive care and is in palliative care after testing positive for the virus.
The paper also reports all 12 staff at the home were singed off with coronavirus symptoms after the NHS patients arrived.
Nine later tested positive with agency workers needed to be called in to run the home.
The remaing residents at Temple Court were moved to new facilities on Friday due to health concerns.
The source said: “Temple Court went from virus-free on March 19 to 15 dead by May 1.
“Nobody had been tested, the hospital just wanted them out. That was the guidance from the top.
“Every other morning another staff member went down. Soon enough they were running without a manager, or an assistant, and then no staff at all.
“They had to bring in agency workers in, and the residents weren’t getting the care they needed.”
Until government guidelines were altered on April 15, they said patients should be released into care homes even if they had tested positive for Covid-19 or without any test at all.
'EXTREMELY CHALLENGING POSITION'
Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, said: “The fact that the care provider felt compelled to take untested discharges into the service highlights the perilous position the sector was put under.
"I feel devastated for the families who have lost loved ones and residents who are being forced to moved out of their home of choice.
“We must also not underestimate the devastating impact on the staff in the home and the provider. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for all.”
Minster Care, which runs Temple Court among 60 homes, declined to comment on the whistleblower claims but said it was left in an “extremely challenging position”.
A spokesperson said: “A large number of staff, including the manager, were absent and we were disproportionately reliant on agency staff.
"The management team has now largely returned and we hope to be in a position to once again provide the highest standard of care our residents expect very soon.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously refused to apologise to the families of care home residents who died from Covid-19, and said last month that the request was “unreasonable”.
The Department of Health said: “We have put in place a policy to ensure all people are tested when discharged from hospitals into care homes.
“We have allocated £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the discharge process.”
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