The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) has written to the care minister to voice its concerns over the government’s new infection control fund.
The £600m fund was announced last month by the government to tackle the spread of coronavirus in care homes.
But in a letter to minister Helen Whately, Adass president James Bullion was that while the extra cash is welcome, the system behind the fund itself is ‘confused and unnecessarily bureaucratic’.
‘It makes it too difficult for providers to claim expenditure and is impossible for local authorities to deliver within the required timescales,’ writes Mr Bullion.
‘The priority must be to keep people safe. This risks complicating things and damaging crucial local relationships that are vital to ensuring people get the care and support they need.’
The letter also highlights the ‘considerable additional costs’ associated with dealing the current coronavirus pandemic, which are mostly due to the escalating cost of buying PPE.
It also asks why the infection control fund cannot be used to buy PPE.
‘We know from the evidence we have gathered, the scale of inflated pricing for PPE being faced by providers and local authorities, and the rest cost of this to local councils. PPE remains the biggest single issue for many local areas.’
The letter also warns that the conditions being attached to the £600m fund are ‘so restrictive and the reporting so onerous’ that many care homes are going to ‘struggle to justify expenditure’.
‘Proper consideration of real costs in the short term and the long-term funding and reform of social care is more important than ever,’ the letter adds.
‘The continuity of providers is important for the continuity of services for the older and disabled people they provide essential care for. Councils have played an incredibly important role in supporting older and disabled people. We have already stated publicly that they need the tools to continue that job – including resources, PPE and testing.
‘Adult social care must never again be considered as an afterthought to the NHS.’
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