THE OWNER of a Newport care home where 19 residents have died from suspected coronavirus has warned the sector may not survive the current crisis.

Brian Rosenberg, who owns Tregwilym Lodge Nursing and Residential Home in Rogerstone, called for an urgent national plan to ensure the future survival of the sector.

Mr Rosenberg said on top of the huge emotional toll of the losses on staff, the 74-bed home is also grappling with £15,000 losses per week.

Care homes across the sector are struggling from the soaring costs from buying PPE and hiring replacement agency staff, as well as falling occupancy levels.

During this period, 15 Tregwilym Lodge staff tested positive or showed symptoms while 14 others were unable to work because they or a member of their family were in the vulnerable category.

The care home has not received any additional funding to cover the extra costs - although Mr Rosenberg said a payment was expected soon.

“This country needs a viable care sector but that’s not going to happen unless we start changing the way care homes are funded and operated," he said. "There’s aspiration to raise standards but there’s no aspiration to fund the costs that go with that.

“I think in the space of just over a week we lost 12 people. During this period, we were also losing staff to sickness and agencies refused to supply replacements because we were considered too high-risk.

“Fortunately, I have a strong management team in there and they were able to cope better than a lot of people because they are highly skilled at what they do."


The home is currently in the process of applying for additional funding to cover extra costs and hopes to be ready to admit new residents in a fortnight after no further cases.

“I doubt it will cover all the costs,” said Mr Rosenberg. “We’ve altered the building and have isolated one floor as well as concentrating our staff in particular areas to make it easier for them to be safe and functionally more effective.

“The staff have done a lot of extra work and have been superb. They’ve helped bring us through.”

Chairman Mario Kreft MBE said: “Without a national plan to protect the future of our care homes and domiciliary providers, the sector will undoubtedly collapse and then our NHS really will be overwhelmed.

“Right now, there are care homes in Wales that are a hair’s breadth from ruin which need urgent help and financial support.”

Mr Rosenberg also joined Care Forum Wales' calls for a public review in to the Welsh Government's handling of the pandemic in the care home sector.

"There has to be a national plan, there has to be a national debate and there has to be a public inquiry," he said.