The government has launched a new taskforce to support the social care sector and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
The taskforce will be led by former ADASS president David Pearson and will oversee delivery of infection control measures as set out by the care home support package, delivery of testing programmes and effective deployment of the workforce.
It will also include representatives from Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the Local Government Association.
‘The social care sector is on the frontline of our coronavirus response. This taskforce will support the service by overseeing the delivery of the Social Care Action Plan and the Care Homes Intensive Support Package,’ said Mr Pearson.
‘This will play an important part in ensuring we are doing everything we can to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the sector, both for those who rely on care and support and the social care workforce.’
The formation of the taskforce also comes as the government announces that all adult care homes for under-65s, including those with learning disabilities or mental health problems will be offered testing, regardless of whether residents have symptoms.
Care home providers can now access the government’s online portal to order tests for their residents or staff regardless of symptoms.
In addition, the Department of Health and Social Care is contacting all care homes to highlight this service and encourage tests to be ordered.
The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, welcomed the appointment of Mr Pearson, who he said would bring ‘insight and expertise’ to the role.
‘The creation of this taskforce to support social care should mark the first step in tackling the gulf between health and social care, a gulf which has always been there but which has been cruelly exposed during this pandemic,’ said Mr Dickson.
‘However, we have had false dawns before. If this is to mean anything, we need commitments from government to reform social care by bringing health and care together and funding social care, not with emergency handouts but with a sustainable and guaranteed programme of investment. And in this National Carers week, it is long past time when paid and unpaid carers had their contribution recognised and supported.’
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