A YORK care home boss has told of her heartbreak as it is 'stretched to breaking point' by the coronavirus crisis.

Rachel Beckett, chair of Wellburn,which has 14 homes across the north-east including several in the York area, claims hospitals are refusing to admit any residents who test positive for the virus and the firm has received calls from local doctors instructing it to be prepared for 'multiple end of life situations.'

She said: "We know we’re going to lose people. Hospitals are now turning their backs on us, sending residents who have been admitted with symptoms back to our homes."

She said that with PPE being directed towards the NHS, care homes had also found it impossible to maintain supplies, leaving key essential staff running the gauntlet.

"Some staff have even walked out and refused to work, others who have shown symptoms are self isolating at home - the majority though, have stayed on," she said. "This perfect storm has created a huge gap in staffing levels."

Rachel, whose homes include St Catherine's at Shipton by Beningbrough, Grimston Court in Hull Road and Rosevale in Wigginton, said: "It’s hard not to feel like the forgotten sector in all of this. The narrative has surrounded our amazing colleagues in the NHS, who are undoubtedly doing a fantastic job, and have nothing but our respect and gratitude.

"It does seem though that our carers, who are over worked, stressed and being pushed to the limit, both physically and mentally aren’t part of the wider story."

She said Wellburn had been 'reaching out' to its local communities, appealing to those who were out of work or wanting to help, but making sure each applicant was free from all signs of symptoms and had the required DBS check was extremely time consuming.

“I couldn’t ask any more from all of my amazing staff," she said. "At times, it’s hard to bear and it breaks my heart when I see the worry on the faces of some of our residents and staff, when I talk to a member of staff that’s crying and struggling to cope."

She also claimed the lack of guidance for care homes from the Government and regulators was a 'disgrace.'

"Wellburn were one of the first care home providers to close their doors to the public, allowing only key workers to pass through the doors, taking what at the time was an extremely difficult decision, when no other providers around them were doing it, twinned with a complete lack of guidance or leadership on the matter from government," she said.

She said she received complaints of overreaction after that decision, but if she had known then what she knew now, she would have made the decision even sooner.

"It’s clear we’ve been left to get on with it, by the very same people and organisations who are meant to be there for us," she said.

"With no guidance, financial or moral support, we know for now we’re in this on our own. We’re not going to get any of this, and even if we do, I fear it’ll all be too little too late.

"All we can do is what we’re doing, putting everything into making sure our residents and staff are as safe and happy as we can make them.

"But when this is all over, there’s a lot of questions that will need answering, and they’ll be questions that will go right to the very top.”