A CARE home has claimed some of its residents “were not given the chance to fight” when they developed Covid-19.

Westcliff Lodge Care Home has lost nine of its 22 residents to the virus, but claims four of these were denied the chance to be treated by the NHS.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, director of the home Jenny Smith said the NHS was “writing off a group of society” to the virus.

The home highlighted that one resident who showed symptoms – and later died from the virus – was told not to go to hospital.

One of these residents was George Atkins, 89, who had dementia but was physically fit, according to his family.

The BBC reports that Mr Atkins became ill first week of April, stopped eating and couldn’t take in fluids.

Manager Nicky Bourousia rang out of hours 111 service and was on phone for more than an hour.

She told the programme: “I said he just can’t even put anything in his mouth. He can’t swallow and if I try to he’s just going to aspirate.

“And I got told to ‘just prompt fluids’ and they’d do him antibiotics. That was it, that was all I got. If the NHS were overrun with people, I’d understand it, I really do, but they weren’t overrun.

“Im not saying treatment would’ve cured it or they would have pulled through it, but they would have had a chance to fight it.”

Mr Atkins died on April 15, and his daughter Susan Atkins said goodbye over the phone.

She said: “I saw him briefly, he couldn’t see me. But she put the phone to his ear, I said look dad we love you. He was a hard working man and he paid his dues to society.”

John Cullerton is another resident at Westcliff Lodge, and on April 14 he had a seizure.

They called 999 and he was rushed to hospital as an emergency, where he tested positive for Covid-19 and was given fluids and oxygen.

His son Paul told the BBC: “My father is 91, he was orgiinally an irish champion boxer at amateur leve for the country in Ireland, and he is an extraordinarily tough guy.”

When he was taken in we assumed the worst in a way. At 91 and very frail with an underlying heart condition, we weren’t especially hopeful.

“Lo and behold he was back in his home five days later, in his care home.”

Ms Bourousia added: “Without that seizure, he wouldn’t have got treatment. He’s a success story and every time we see him now we think it could have worked for others.”

Staff told the BBC that between March 13 and April 30 no doctors or nurses came to the home and despite repeated requests none of their residents were referred to hospital.

Tricia D’Orsi, Chief Nurse and Deputy Accountable Officer for NHS Southend CCG said: “Any death is a tragedy and whilst we are unable to comment on the specific circumstances, we are committed to supporting care homes to make sure both staff and residents have access to the care they need.

“Due to Covid-19, the situation had changed with regard to all routine non-pandemic management of patients. The response was appropriate and we operated within national guidelines.

"We are of course happy to fully cooperate with a full and robust investigation into all of the allegations.”

The guidelines published by NHS England on April 10 said care home residents should not ordinarily be conveyed to the hospital unless authorised by a senior colleague after discussion with a clinical advisor, but this was withdrawn within days.

Westcliff Lodge director Jenny Smith said: “We bore witness to a very different appraoch to usual.

“Where elderly people were effectively written off from medical treatment, denied medical treatment through the NHS.

“They were kept in the care homes.

“It is a strong claim and we feel so strongly about it that we have taken the time to think about it, and we’ve written up about it and we’ve submitted our concerns to the CQC.”

The home complained about the treatment of four of the nine residents who died, whilst acknowledging that some of their residents are extremely frail and will have chosen not to have treatment if their condition deteriorates.

NHS England said treatment is available to those who would benefit.

They said: “Doctors rather than care home managers are the right people to make these medical judgements.

“During the coronavirus emergency, medical decisions have had to balance the risk for individual pateitns of being looked after where they live, versus being moved to a hospital where out patients with Covid-19 were being treated.”