A new £600m Infection Control Fund has been introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes in addition to £3.2bn of financial support made available to local authorities to support key public services since the start of the crisis.
The fund, which is ringfenced for social care, will be given to local authorities to ensure care homes can continue to halt the spread of coronavirus by helping them cover the costs of implementing measures to reduce transmission.
Care homes will be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home wherever possible. The funding could be used to meet the additional costs of restricting staff to work in one care home and pay the wages of those self-isolating.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This £600m Infection Control Fund will help as we continue to reduce infections in care homes and save lives. From the very start of this outbreak, we have been working to protect our brilliant social care workforce and the most vulnerable in our society. Our package sets out clearly the extra steps local councils and care homes should be taking as we stamp out the spread of this virus.”
In further measures announced today:
- all local authorities must conduct a daily review of care homes in their area to ensure care homes have the support they need with staffing, help with accessing PPE and other areas of operation
- the NHS will ensure that each care home has a named clinical contact to provide better access to clinical advice through weekly check-ins to review their patients, and offer direct support for staff with use of equipment and medication
- a wellbeing package for social care staff is also being rolled out today on the new CARE app including 2 new helplines, led by the Samaritans and Hospice UK. This will help support care staff with their mental health and wellbeing and support those who have experienced a traumatic death as part of their work or help with anxiety and stress
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Our care homes, and those working tirelessly to look after our loved ones are at the heart of our fight against this invisible enemy, which is why we’re doing everything we can to make sure the sector has all the support it needs to stop the spread and save lives.
“Our support package introduces stronger measures on infection control and steps up clinical support to make sure there is a clinical lead assigned to every care home right across the country to offer advice and quicker support. This is an important set of measures to support care homes and their staff – to continue to do wonderful work caring for people, even at this most difficult of times.”