Care England has written to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to express ‘immense frustration’ with the publication of the staff movement guidance.
On March 1, DHSC issued guidance for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection.
Care England said that the decision to stop staff movement between care settings will struggle to work in practice and has outlined a number of outstanding issues including:
• Unworkable requirement for providers to ensure that there is a 10-day interval between a member of staff attending two care settings
• Lack of clarity around date of implementation
• No discussion as to how this policy will be funded post-March
• Growing gap between what the Infection Control Fund is intended to cover versus what it can actually cover.
• No clarity about what constitutes an ‘exceptional circumstance’
• No guidance as to what the role of the CQC is with regards to enforcing the guidance
• No reference to the COVID-19 vaccinations and what this means in the longer term.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: ‘The adult social care sector received no forewarning as to when this major piece of guidance would be issued or what it would look like.
‘The sector is juggling a great many pressures and this unexpected guidance may well have unintended consequences.
‘This represents another bureaucratic hoop for providers to jump through. We are at a loss to understand why if these measures are to be introduced across adult social care settings, the movement of NHS staff between NHS settings is not being subjected to the same policy.’
A DHSC spokesman said the guidance is not a new policy and that it is critical to minimising the risk of infection and outbreaks that care home providers not move staff between settings.
‘We are committed to protecting care home staff and residents and stopping the movement of staff in and between care homes and other health and social care settings remains critical to minimising the risk of infection.
‘We have provided an additional £120 million of funding to help local authorities to boost staffing levels in the adult social care sector and help reduce the movement of staff between care homes. This is on top of over £1.1bn in funding through the infection control fund.
‘Our priority is to ensure everyone receives the right care, in the right place and at the right time. The Government has provided billions of pounds of additional funding, free PPE, infection control guidance and increased staff testing to identify new cases and safeguard residents.’
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