One Suffolk home was reportedly downgraded to ‘inadequate’ by the care watchdog after dementia sufferers were left unsupervised and other vulnerable residents were ‘left for extended periods of time’ on their own
The country’s highest paid care home boss took home a £250,000 pay rise last year as his frontline workers faced one of the toughest years on barely over the minimum wage.
Barchester Healthcare chief executive Dr Pete Calveley received a boost of 9.35% in 2020 as he planned to put fees up by around 10%.
That means Mr Calveley took home £2.27million that year – around 130 times more than some of the carers who worked for him on the frontline during the pandemic.
His latest increase was awarded despite more than one in ten of the firm’s homes being rated ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission, a report by the Mail found.
One Suffolk home was reportedly downgraded to ‘inadequate’ by the care watchdog after dementia sufferers were left unsupervised and residents who were at risk of self-harming were ‘left for extended periods of time’ on their own.
Staff also reportedly left a resident who was at ‘high risk of strangulation’ unsupervised for long periods around visible wires.
Last night critics branded Barchester ‘morally unacceptable’ for paying the eye-watering rise while hiking fees for residents.
Former care minister Sir Noman Lamb said it “beggars belief that Barchester can think it appropriate to give this scale of salary increase to their CEO, who is already paid an obscene amount”.
Barchester Healthcare Limited – which operates 200 homes – is majority-owned by three Irish billionaires – Dermot Desmond, John Magnier and JP McManus.
Last year, its earnings rose by £16.3million to £212.2million in 2020. Latest documents filed with Companies House reveal it also took £12.6million in government grants.
In a letter to residents and relatives last month, Dr Calveley reportedly said the firm was looking to increase fees by 9.35% next year.
While contracts outline a maximum increase of 5.9% per year, a loophole allows this to rise further if there are “major Government interventions leading to a significant and demonstrable increase in our costs or taxes”.
Dr Calveley listed a surge in gas prices, furniture costs and an expected 10% inflation in the cost of food among the reasons for the rise.
He said while Barchester is looking to ‘mitigate’ the costs, they are ‘fundamental to delivering great care…which is not something we can compromise on’.
He also cited the National Living Wage, an increase to National Insurance and wage inflation due to ‘competition’ for staff.
Of the group’s 198 homes listed on the CQC website, 27 are rated ‘requires improvement’ in addition to the one deemed ‘inadequate’.
Eileen Chubb, director of campaign group Compassion in Care, said the pay rise was ‘unacceptable’, adding: “We need to stop rewarding failure.”
There are almost 800 jobs advertised on Barchester’s website, some at £9 per hour.
Staff on this rate doing a 37.5-hour-week would earn £17,550 a year – less than 1% of Dr Calveley’s pay.
Barchester has been approached for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.