Care Campaigners Call For Government To Match £500 Bonus

Wales leads the way with cash for carers

Campaigners in England are calling on the Government to match a £500 bonus that the Welsh Government is to give front line care staff for fighting coronavirus.

At the same time, the Independent Care Group (ICG) is calling for clarity over testing in care and nursing homes.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakesford announced the £500 bonus for all 64,000 care workers, saying it recognised the “greater degree of risk” that care staff accepted.

ICG chair, Mike Padgham said: “This is a very generous gesture by the Welsh Government and it recognises the amazing courage that social care staff are showing as they look after older and vulnerable people during coronavirus.

“We very much hope that the English Government will follow suit and provide a bonus for all the social care staff facing the same risks and doing an amazing job here in England.”

He said there was still confusion over testing in care and nursing homes.

“On 28 April we were told by the Secretary of State that tests would be carried out for all residents and staff within care homes,” Mr Padgham added.

“But the advice we have been given today via communication from the Care Quality Commission is that tests should only be carried out on those with symptoms – which goes back to what we were being told weeks ago.

“The issue of testing has always been a difficult one for our homes and it has hampered our efforts to care for our residents and keep infection and death rates down. We need to have some clarity and we need it urgently.

“Sadly, as far as care and nursing homes are concerned I fear we are not yet at the peak in terms of deaths from Covid-19 and we are now the frontline in the fight against the virus.”

The ICG has previously warned that care providers are being hampered in their fight against Covid-19 through a lack of PPE and insufficient testing.

In a survey of members, some 53% said they had had challenges with testing.

The ICG has also called on the Government to provide better financial support for care providers amidst concerns that the £3.2bn pledged for local authorities to help them support social care is not getting to the front line.

Social care currently looks after 400,000 people in care and nursing homes – that is three times the number in NHS hospital beds. Social care looks after a further 640,000 people in their own homes.