'Desperate' care homes plea with council for 'immediate financial support' after struggling to get government cash

Care homes in Sheffield have written to their council saying they are "in desperate need of immediate financial support", ITV News has learned.

Palms Row Healthcare, which owns three homes in Sheffield, complains that the local authority has only offered a 5% increase in funding to deal with the costs of Covid-19.

So far the government has promised a total of £3.2bn in additional funding for councils, with a further £600m earmarked specifically for infection control in care homes.

But despite the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick asking councils to increase funding of homes by up to 10%, ITV News reported recently how many homes are yet to receive any of the money.

In Sheffield, care homes claim the council has asked them to fill in lengthy forms before giving out any of the cash.

Palms Row Healthcare says in its letter to the authority that "the online forms in all its complexity adds barriers and delays the support pledged by central Government."

The care provider is just one of five in Sheffield to have written to Sheffield Council requesting help.

The council said "from the beginning" of the pandemic it had "worked tirelessly to support care homes".

George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council said: "There are 116 care homes in Sheffield and they are all a priority in ensuring some of our most vulnerable residents receive the best possible care."

He added: “Our care homes will receive additional funding, but we need to ensure that money goes to the homes that need it the most.

"We understand Palms Row’s concerns and continue to discuss their situation with them."

Care homes are facing extra financial pressures due to Covid-19, including increased staffing costs and PPE.

Last week ITV News reported that Friary Lodge in North London had become the first to close due to the crisis.

The home hopes to reopen in future.