Opinion: Is the care sector equipped to deal with infectious diseases?

At the time of posting this blog, as yet the coronavirus has yet to infiltrate any care homes in the UK.

Let’s hope it stays that way for all sorts of reasons, the most obvious being the heightened vulnerability of the residents compared to younger, fitter members of society.

Furthermore, whatever measures are taken to keep infection at bay (regular hand washing etc), the fact remains that such a virus could – and probably would – spread swiftly through a nursing home. Just look at the cruise ships which have been unable to return to port due to the high number of cases who have tested positive. The environments are not dissimilar.

But there’s another very serious issue to consider for the care sector – particularly for councils. What would happen if, say, half of a nursing home’s care staff were to go down with the virus?

Would councils be prepared to divert their workers to affected care homes? You can shut down council offices – but you can’t shut down nursing homes.

It’s food for thought – not least for councils up and down the country – but it would certainly be reassuring to hear that contingency plans are in place if the worst comes to the worst with infectious diseases such as coronavirus.

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