Social care directors have warned that while the government’s new winter care plan is a ‘welcome start’ there is ‘still much more to do’.
The Department of Health and Social Care published the details of the plan late in the day on Friday (18 September), which includes a commitment to support care homes through winter with free PPE.
The plan also says that care providers must stop all but essential movement of staff between care homes to prevent the spread of infection.
And it says that a new Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care will be appointed to provide leadership to the social care nursing workforce.
Responding to the publication of the report, the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), James Bullion said ‘the plan is a welcome start, but there is much more to do’.
‘The focus on safety and wellbeing in care homes is right, but a significant majority of people receive care and support in their own home,’ said Mr Bullion.
‘The next step must be to increase care at home and to ensure that they are similarly protected. This will require significant additional funding to enable people to live good lives and to not merely survive the pandemic.
‘Many felt that social care was not sufficiently prioritised at the start of the current pandemic. The winter plan must not be another short-term, partial fix, it must be followed by meaningful reform proposals that creates a better future and provides more of the care we all want for ourselves and our families.’
The executive director of the National Care Forum (NCF), Vic Rayner said the plan ‘ticks all the right boxes’ but added ‘there is lots of detail still to come to bring the plan to life’.
‘The introduction of the chief nursing officer for adult social care is to be welcomed, but aside from that the primary offer consists of apps and guidance which is no substitute for the serious call for a bespoke occupational health scheme to support the workforce called for in the workforce advisory group recommendations,’ said Ms Rayner.
‘The workforce is our most valuable asset – and the plan ignores or minimises that fact at all of our peril.
‘Finally, it is of huge concern that the plan seeks to further restrict visits to care homes, and NCF calls on government to think again about blanket bans in “areas of intervention”. We must as a country work harder to prioritise making visiting safe for all.’
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