Health bosses have announced 341m funding for adult social care to help those looking after the country’s oldest and most vulnerable to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the funding will enable the continuation of rigorous infection prevention control measures and support rapid testing to keep staff and residents safe in day care, respite care, care homes and other community care settings.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed the funding but warned that it may not be enough to meet the needs of all 152 local authorities.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: ‘We are grateful to the government for making more funding available to help care providers tackle Covid-19 – every penny is welcome.
‘As we go forward providers on the front line are still facing rising costs due to the pandemic and extra costs to enable visiting to take place, through extra staffing needs, for example.
‘This is likely to increase as we go forward, especially if the government announces that more than the current one visitor be allowed.
‘We need to see the detail and understand exactly what this funding is to be spent on.
‘My fear is that by the time this money reaches the front line, where it is needed, it might not be enough to give care providers the help they need.
‘My biggest desire is to see the long-term plan for long-overdue reform of the sector which we have been promised for so long.’
The funding comes after key relief packages, including the Infection Control, Adult Social Care Rapid Testing and Workforce Capacity funds, were due to end on March 31.
Care providers warned that if the packages were not extended care settings would be unable to cover the cost of Covid-19 prevention methods, including regular testing of staff and residents, capacity issues and the management of safe visits to care homes.
The details of the funding have not been announced and uncertainty remains around whether the funds will expire on March 31.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, welcomed the news but is calling for clarity around the longer-term sustainability of the adult social care sector.
‘This extension of funding represents a lifeline for care providers. We are pleased that the government has heeded the calls of Care England as without such funding the sector would be in jeopardy.
‘Care staff across the length and breadth of England continue to implement enhanced infection control procedures to keep residents safe.
‘Care England has consistently sought to impress upon the government the increased costs which the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed upon the sector and its workforce.
‘We strive to work with the government to illustrate the difficult position which our sector continues to find itself in and to ensure that the fund reaches the frontline in a timely and efficient manner.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay