Funding released for care homes following criticism of government's 'lack of social care plan' during coronvirus outbreak
The Government has announced that Lancashire is to receive a share of a £600m. Infection Control Fund, launched to reduce the transmission of coronavirus in care homes, after criticism from some quarters that staff had been working without adequate PPE.
Lancashire will receive £16,197,303 to support local care homes. There are currently 12,619 care home beds registered in the area.
The funding will be used ensure that care homes can continue their efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus by helping them cover the costs of implementing measures to reduce transmission.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, a charity which represents care providers, warned in March that a lack of a detailed plan to help nursing homes and care workers cope in the event of a serious coronavirus outbreak would lead to widespread deaths in the social care sector.
Spreaking in early March about the prospect of a widespread epidemic, which has since materialised, he said: "There is no evidence of a plan. I’m not even certain they have these plans and aren’t just making them up as they go along. We will see a lot of deaths. I think that is probably inevitable.”
In response to the high numbers of deaths in care homes the Government has now announced funding for the social care sector which includes:
Rolling out training on infection control for staff
Reducing transmission by supporting providers to reduce workforce movements
Stepping up NHS clinical support to care homes.
The fund comes on top of £3.2 billion that has already been made available to local authorities to support key public services, including social care, since the start of the crisis.
It forms part of a wider package of support the Government is making available to care homes, which includes ensuring all care homes have they support they need with staffing and accessing PPE, and providing a named clinical contact from the NHS for every single care home.
The named contact will assist care homes with weekly check-ins to review patients while helping staff with the use of equipment and medication.
The Government has also rolled out a new wellbeing package for social care staff, including two new helplines, led by the Samaritans and Hospice UK, to support care staff with their mental health and welling.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “Care staff are the heroes of this pandemic – working tirelessly to support those in our community who need it the most.
“I do not underestimate how challenging a time this is for people living and working in care. This new funding will make a real different to local care homes in Lancashire.
“By putting in place stronger prevention, we can ensure that we continue to drive coronavirus out of our care homes, making them safer and better able to look after people who need it the most.”