Care providers have given a guarded welcome to today’s promise of extra help for care and nursing homes in the battle against coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has welcomed Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s promised support announced at today’s coronavirus briefing.
But it has warned that such promises have been made before and not delivered.
Mr Hancock outlined three steps to support care and nursing homes during the pandemic, promising to “do everything possible to protect them as long as they are threatened by this virus”.
The three measures were:
- Every resident and member of staff to be tested for Covid-19 by early June whether they have symptoms or not
- A named clinical lead in every care and nursing home in England
- Liaison with local authorities and sharing of data on coronavirus cases.
Care homes are also to be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home wherever possible.
The promises came as ONS figures showed that between March 2 and May 1, 12,526 care and nursing home residents died after catching the virus.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We welcome today’s promises by the Government and its resolve to do everything possible to help care and nursing homes.
“However, we have had big promises made before and they have not materialised on the front line. We must wait to see if the Government delivers this time – our patience is running out and providers are struggling.
“It is gratifying that the Government is now waking up to what we have been saying for many years, that NHS and social care need to come together now and in the future.
“What we need most of all is to ensure that we can get the testing done, that we can get access to PPE and that we get some financial support to care and nursing homes who are struggling to survive whilst battling Covid-19.
“Reduced income from admissions combined with spiralling staffing and PPE costs is pushing many towards the edge of survival. Many were already running on very tight margins during the ongoing social care funding crisis. It is vital that they get financial support now to avoid the very real risk of providers going under at this critical time.
“Whilst today’s measures are welcome, a lot more needs to be done and we need support for all social care providers – including care and nursing homes, those providing care in people’s own homes through homecare, day care and supported living – to be stepped up.
“We need to ensure all vulnerable people are protected.”
Elsewhere, the ICG today welcomed a promise from a local authority that 100% of its share of extra funding to support care and nursing homes would go to the front line.
North Yorkshire County Council has promised that its share of the £600m extra money pledged to support social care will get to providers.
Mr Padgham added: “We are very grateful to North Yorkshire County Council for promising that all the extra money they get from this £600m will get to care and nursing homes in North Yorkshire. We hope that other local authorities will follow suit with a similar pledge.”