The spiralling cost of buying personal protection equipment could bankrupt large numbers of care homes across the country, an industry leader has warned.

With most of the masks, gloves and aprons needed to protect health workers from coronavirus being diverted to the NHS, nursing homes have been forced to buy the items privately.

Nadra Ahmed, who heads up the National Care Association, said some homes were having to spend more than £8,500 a week in order to keep their staff and residents safe.

With other costs associated with the pandemic also spiralling, Ms Ahmed has warned that many homes are now on the brink of financial ruin.

She warned that if they went under, thousands of vulnerable people would be left in dire straits with local authorities and even the NHS having to find places for them.

Ms Ahmed said the Government could help by providing financial support for the sector in the shape of VAT exemption but she said more should be done to ensure free supplies of PPE were reaching those in the social care sector that needed them.

She said: “Some of our members are having to find an extra £8,500 a week to pay for PPE and that is on top of all the extra costs such as additional staffing. It is no exaggeration to say it is putting many in danger of financial ruin.

“The irony is that some of these issues could be resolved with just a few simple steps such as allowing VAT exemption for care homes and also stopping all PPE being diverted to the NHS.

“We understand why it is needed within the NHS, but we are part of the health care sector and our staff and residents need protecting. These people from this generation matter. Their lives matter and the fact their deaths are not even included in the overall count says it all.”

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