Funding urgently needed for vital services

Hugh Fenn

UK’s 14 million disabled people are being forgotten by the government and allowed to fall through the cracks.

I have lost count of the number of times over the past couple of months that I have heard politicians say difficulties with the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) are solved.

Everyone at Leonard Cheshire, including 4,700 frontline care staff meeting the needs of disabled people in our care homes, collectively disagreed. The gap between the reality on the ground and the statements of Ministers and MPs was chasmic at times.

Organising the protection of our frontline services

Keeping staff and residents safe has been the top priority since this health crisis started. It is no exaggeration to say that every day our ability to get this equipment is saving lives. The vast volumes required necessitated an extensive effort. 

Support by communities and sourcing from companies large and small across the UK means we are now thankfully well stocked. Staff like Caron Lever of our Bradbury Wing service know what a difference this is all making day in, day out.

Protecting our services without government support

But this success isn’t down to government support, with social care settings considered too late in government planning. And it has come at a substantial financial cost. 

We are using our reserves to fund additional PPE and running costs. Anticipating spending on PPE is between £2.8m and £4.8m this year depending on the progress of coronavirus. Overall, the charity could lose between £12m and £25m as a result of extra costs and cancelled fundraising activities such as The London Marathon. 

Supporting our services beyond the coronavirus crisis

At the moment, no social care services or programmes are at risk. But the full financial impact will only be known at the end of the coronavirus crisis. The effect on services that other organisations and we provide across the country could be extreme without more financial help.

There are around 14 million disabled people in the UK. Without support, the sad truth is that services many disabled people rely on may not be there when the UK gets back to a ‘new normal’.

The government must act now before it is too late.

Protect our carers with PPE

We are doing all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus, save lives and keep people safe. More equipment to protect our carers is urgently needed.

Protect our carers with PPE