The National Care Forum (NCF) responds to the publication of the Adult Social Care COVID-19 Winter Plan 2020.
NCF welcomes the publication of the Adult Social Care COVID-19 Winter Plan, recognising that now – more than ever – there is a need for government to clearly articulate how it will ensure that all those receiving care are supported as this pandemic enters its second wave.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director at NCF says:
“The Winter Plan ticks all the right boxes. It makes commitments and promises to address the very big challenges facing the delivery of social care in a winter with both Covid-19 and flu. Amongst its actions it addresses the importance of clear communication, sharing and use of data, strengthened role for technology and the urgent need to escalate flu vaccinations.
“There is lots of detail still to come to bring the plan to life. The criteria for the Infection Control Fund are not yet published making it hard for providers to plan to support staff, nor is the promised Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) strategy available, which will shine a light on what the government free PPE approach will mean in practice. In addition, testing is recognised within the plan as fundamental in breaking the chain of transmission, yet the testing regime in homes is suffering significant delays, and the accessibility of testing to the wider social care sector is extraordinarily limited.
“There is cold comfort for the social care workforce. Much feted over recent months, the government has not taken the opportunity within this plan to celebrate and reward their efforts. The introduction of the Chief Nursing Officer for Adult Social Care is to be welcomed, but aside from that the primary offer consists of apps and guidance which is no substitute for the serious call for a bespoke occupational health scheme to support the workforce called for in the workforce advisory group recommendations. The workforce is our most valuable asset – and the plan ignores or minimises that fact at all of our peril.
“Finally, it is of huge concern that the plan seeks to further restrict visits to care homes, and NCF calls on government to think again about blanket bans in ‘areas of intervention’. We must as a country work harder to prioritise making visiting safe for all.”