Save care homes from being sued: Bosses urge ministers to protect nursing centres against the crippling cost of legal claims… just like the NHS

  • Care homes have been hit by soaring insurance premiums and running costs
  • Bereaved relatives could ruin firms if they decide to take them to court
  • Care home bosses want ministers to give indemnity to Covid-related damages  

Care home bosses are pleading with the Government to protect them from being sued over outbreaks of coronavirus.

Firms have been hit by soaring insurance premiums, and many still cannot get cover for Covid-19, which could leave them ruined if they are taken to court by bereaved relatives of residents.

The fear of being crippled by legal costs is also making some managers more cautious about allowing visitors in to see loved ones.

But the industry says ministers could easily solve the problem by giving indemnity to social care providers for Covid-related damages, just as they did for the NHS when the pandemic struck.

The social care sector wants the Government to give it indemnity

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: ‘The Government must step in. They need to do it as a matter of urgency because it’s a big issue. If they don’t, it will restrict visits and put some services out of commission.’

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, said: ‘It would make a big difference to visiting. At the moment, if you get an issue from visits you can’t get covered for that.

‘We feel we don’t get treated the same as the NHS and this insurance issue is a part of that.

‘All we’re asking for is for the Government to stand behind us if we get a claim.’

Care homes are having to deal with added costs and fears over insurance after a year in which they have had to spend massively on PPE, extra staff and building works to make homes safe – as well as losing income from having fewer residents.

All care homes are required by the Care Quality Commission watchdog to be insured against potential claims arising from death or serious injury on their premises, and most have public liability and employer’s insurance cover totalling more than £10 million.

But many have struggled to get cover this year as brokers and underwriters have taken fright at the size of the potential damages arising if the estate of a resident who died from coronavirus brought a claim against a home. Others have been quoted huge increases in their premiums.

Councillors in Lancashire were told last week about one home whose premium had increased by 500 per cent. Mr Padgham, managing director of St Cecilia’s care group in Scarborough, was told his premium would rise from £10,000 a year to £98,000 – but managed to settle for £18,000.

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