'Vindicated': Suffolk social care bosses react to High Court Covid ruling

Suffolk care bosses say they feel "vindicated" by the High Court ruling on government Covid policies

Suffolk care bosses say they feel "vindicated" by the High Court ruling on government Covid policies - Credit: PA/SARAH LUCY BROWN/CEPHAS

Care bosses say they feel "vindicated" after High Court judges ruled government policies on discharging hospital patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic were “unlawful”.

Speaking after Wednesday's decision, Suffolk social care chiefs said the government policies had made "droves" of carers leave the profession and caused mental and physical health problems for many of those who still work in the industry.

However, they said they hoped the ruling could lead to the NHS and social care being seen on a more equal footing.

Care Home Chief, Prema Fairburn-Dorai. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Care Home Chief, Prema Fairburn-Dorai. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Prema Fairburn-Dorai, chairwoman of Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers, said: "I and a lot of my colleagues felt very pleased and vindicated. 

"There were times when they accused care homes of spreading the infection, because of poor infection control practices and things like that.

"The staff were very upset. They were trying their best with whatever little supplies we had.

"I know of cases when staff were using bin bags as aprons because they'd run out of PPE."

Ms Fairburn-Dorai said some staff who caught the virus during this period are still suffering from long Covid and many others struggled with stress and mental health problems as a result.

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"I can't even begin to say how awful it was," she said.

David Finch, managing director of Cephas Care based in Ipswich

David Finch, managing director of Cephas Care based in Ipswich - Credit: Cephas Care

David Finch, managing director of Ipswich-based Cephas Care, said: "We've seen a huge rise in people with mental health problems within the social care sector workforce. I think that was going to be inevitable considering what those people have been through.

"We're still getting that fallout now."

Both care chiefs said the case highlighted the difference in how the NHS and social care were viewed.

Mr Finch said: "If you ever speak to anyone who works in the social care sector, they'll always tell you that when it comes to money and things the NHS is always first. 

"People in the social care sector just the government to learn from what's happened, so we don't go down this road again, because I don't think this sector could do it again."

Ms Fairburn-Dorai said: "If you ask me, what do I want to see from this, I want to see that central government acknowledges and accepts that the work that is done between social care and health are very similar and that one cannot exist without the other – they have to support each other."