NURSES say they are battling coronavirus “war zones” without proper protective equipment amid an escalating care home crisis.

Four homes in Brighton and Hove that look after the elderly and vulnerable now have residents displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

Hove MP Peter Kyle has raised concerns that unprotected agency workers are travelling from home to home, causing a “perfect storm” of infection.

Last week, The Argus revealed that three quarters of residents at Oaklands Nursing Home in Dyke Road, Avenue, Hove, are believed to be infected.

Giuseppe Casciello, a 95-year-old resident there, died on Monday and it is understood seven others are now extremely ill.

The Argus:

A “severely ill” Oaklands nurse has spoken to The Argus anonymously from self-isolation.

He said: “The residents are very poorly and I can’t forget that image – they are so innocent.

“When I started to feel ill I felt so powerless as I knew what was coming.

“We had gloves and a plastic apron – minimum protection – and a mask which is totally useless.

“We isolated everyone but without special equipment they are using at hospitals, like long-sleeved gowns, it is impossible to do.

“It just spread and spread and spread.

“They got very poorly and when I left, it felt like a war zone.”

He said he felt “let down by the NHS” as he is having to “suffer alone” without testing or treatment.


There have now also been confirmed cases at Lindridge Care Home in Laburnum Avenue, Hove, and Craven Vale in Craven Road, Brighton.

Craven Vale provides care for up to 31 predominantly older people who need help following discharge from hospital and is run by Brighton and Hove City Council.

The GMB union said staff have told them of a lack of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and claim one confirmed case was allowed to move about freely at the home for five days after a positive test.

GMB boss Mark Turner pledged to “hold the council responsible” for the suffering of union members who end up contracting the disease at the home.

There is currently one confirmed case of coronavirus at Craven Vale, however the union insists there are three.

Mr Turner said “Clearly in this case the council are failing in their duty of care and responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

“Just how neglectful are these same council officers allowed to be towards both GMB members and the residents at Craven Vale before someone steps in?

“All we are asking is to ensure that everyone at the centre is afforded the chance of full

protection against the spread of Covid-19.”

The council said staff have all the personal protective equipment according to NHS guidance.

Councillor Clare Moonan, chairwoman of the health and wellbeing board, said: “Our staff are hugely valued and are working incredibly hard in unprecedented conditions. We understand why they are very worried and concerned.

“Levels of PPE across the care setting should be increased to protect all residents and staff throughout the pandemic but we are concerned that there aren’t the suppliers to do this.”

Mr Kyle has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally as he claims the Government failed to live up to its promise from last Wednesday to provide every care home with proper PPE by “the end of the week”.

The Argus:

The letter addressed to Number 10 claimed fewer than half the homes within his constituency have received a package of basic face masks.

The letter warned of a “widespread and needless loss of life across our care network”.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Kyle said: “I have been inundated by emails, texts and calls from workers and their worried families all saying the same thing.

“We do not have enough PPE.

“Care homes rely on agency staff and now we have the perfect storm: staff who have not been tested moving around care homes full of at-risk people.

“I do not say this lightly – but unless the Government grasps the seriousness of this situation I fear the worst.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit