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BREAKING NEWS: Government announces national action plan for social care

matt Hancock

A national action plan to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes and support care staff and providers has been announced by the government.

The plans include boosting access to PPE, ramping up testing and recruiting more staff, as well as developing a unifying new, NHS-style ‘care’ brand, in recognition of the contribution of care workers.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) said: “We should all be proud of our incredible care sector who are fighting this battle against this virus on the frontline.

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“Our care staff come to work day-after-day supporting our most vulnerable in these incredibly challenging times.

“Today we are introducing a new CARE brand that can be worn with pride, and it will signal to everyone that they belong to a strong, united and respected family.”

The government’s commitments include the testing of all care workers where required as well as symptomatic residents. Over 4,000 social care workers have already been tested, the government said. Furthermore, everyone going into a care home from hospital will be tested with immediate effect.

PPE delivery is also being overhauled with orders being dispatched more quickly, including through direct dispatches via Royal Mail, a 24/7 hotline and a new pilot website. Seven million PPE items in England have been dispatched, equivalent to 300 face masks for each provider to meet immediate demand.

The new ‘care’ brand, which is based on the existing CARE badge, will make it simpler for care givers to access benefits such as priority shopping hour granted to NHS staff.

The moves also include plans to expand the care workforce by tens of thousands through a new recruitment campaign backed by a new online platform to upskill new staff.

Reaction

Chief Executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE, said the social care action plan provided a framework on which to build the future of social care as well as showing the important role the sector was playing in the current emergency.

A spokesperson for the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) welcomed the government’s move but said the announcement lacked details on delivery.

“We need policy makers to grasp the very real, very live challenges the sector is facing while also making an investment to lay the foundations for a stronger sector once the pandemic is over,” the VODG said.

“Instead, today’s publication provides a canter through the government’s reactions thus far when what the sector needs is a clear plan that instils confidence among social care providers coupled with a meaningful commitment of financial investment in a sustainable future.”

A Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) spokesperson said the government’s strategy was an overdue recognition that social care is on the front line in the battle against COVID-19 and would lay the ground for much needed reform.

Julie Ogley, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, added: “We now have a national strategy; the challenge is now to implement it. Any strategy will ultimately be judged by actions it produces, not words it contains. This is a welcome first step towards recognising, prioritising and enabling colleagues working across social care to do their critical work to keep us all safe.  We owe it to them to implement it in full.”

Cllr David Fothergill, health and social care spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said the social care strategy “must be backed by a further injection of funding for councils to respond to the crisis, alongside a more substantial effort to ensure all councils and care homes have sufficient supply of personal protection equipment (PPE)”.

ICG chair, Mike Padgham said the new measures aid social care in its fight against coronavirus adding the sector was at last getting the reaction it deserved.

While also welcoming the action plan, Oona Goldsworthy, CEO of Brunelcare, said its provisions should have been made weeks ago.

Oona added: “The lack of PPE equipment across the industry is simply unacceptable, with some providers like us being just days away from running out entirely, all while caring for residents who have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

“The government’s emergency PPE planning provision is failing to work for the entire sector. As an industry we have also had considerably mixed messages about PPE from the government with messaging being misleading, inaccurate and confusing.”

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The author Lee Peart

9 Comments

  1. To whom it may concern,

    I currently run my own buisness “Companionship at home” support vulnerable and frail clients within there own homes on a daily basis.
    How would I go about extra PPE in which I am currently purchasing online and delivery is delayed. Also testing ?

    1. The government has released these details of PPE suppliers:
      Social care distributor details:
      • Careshop
      Email: coronavirus@careshop.co.uk
      • Blueleaf Care
      Tel: 03300 552288
      Email: emergencystock@blueleafcare.com
      • Delivernet
      Tel: 01756 70 60 50
      Email: kevin.newhouse@delivernet.co.uk
      • Countrywide Healthcare
      Tel: 01226 719090
      Email: enquiries@countrywidehealthcare.co.uk
      If care providers have immediate concerns overs their supply of PPE, please contact:
      The National Supply Disruption line
      Tel: 0800 915 9964
      Email: supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

  2. My wife, who is 73 years old, on some days cares for her 95 year old Mother. Where can she now obtain the PPE she needs. The NHS Supply Disruption Service will not supply to individuals and so we are exhausted in our efforts to get just a small quantity of PPE

  3. As a carer for a home visit not care home I’m one of the forgotten care workers who go day and night rain or shine no days off I do all the usual hands on care personal care plus shopping banking washing etc I’m a life line to my old lady who would have no choice but to be in a care home if home careers like me didn’t exist yet we don’t count for Poe or shopping help .we are still joining queues and getting no on line deliverys so we risk shopping and taking germs back to the people we care for as well as our own family’s…I am a celiac which makes it hard to find food at best of times …I’ve a daughter with a heart condition a three sons with asthma one is autistic and don’t get why his daily shop out can’t be taken it’s hard to exsplain without sounding all me me me but I’d like to know how my daughter at least ain’t classed as vulnerable after haveind operations after operations..so back to the subject.do I get help for my online shopping .to keep us all safe

  4. Maybe when this is all over and life returns to normal again, care assistants will at last be reconised, as valued employees and therefore paid equally, as other assistants in other jobs. After all, we have had to do continued training in our line of work, and are committed to caring.
    Treat us with respect.

    1. Do not count on it, Matt Hancock has now refused to pay Care workers the Real Living Wage, as they are in receipt of the National Living Wage, the minimum wage persons over 25 year have to be paid. People under 25 are only guaranteed the the National Minimum Wage.

      I refer you to my petition ‘Solve the crisis in Social Care’

      Please see below

      You may be wondering why I am promoting this petition as we are in the Coronavirus, COVID 19 crisis and certainly now that Social Care is appearing to have some signs of recognition.

      It is because of this recognition and I do appreciate the Government is concentrating on COVID 19, and my thoughts are with Boris Johnson and his family and other families in similar positions, but Social Care has been forgotten for many years and certainly with regards to funding.

      I have been involved with Social Care, be it with regards to family or on a wider basis for over some 40 years and funding was always an issue and the last 10 years has made the situation much worse.

      So, the recognition is an impetus on which to build and to ensure the recognition continues when COVID 19 has been overcome.

      Also see the post on my blog, Carer Voice, where Matt Hancock has refused to pay Carers the Real Living Wage

      https://carervoice.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/matt-hancock-refuses-to-commit-to-paying-care-workers-the-real-living-wage/

      So here is how I am currently promoting the petition.

      As I am very concerned about Social Care could I also introduce you to my latest Petition, ‘Solve the crisis in Social Care’.

      https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care

      We all have reasons for reaching out and some of mine are mentioned below

      • With the Government, Social Care is the forgotten service and Yes, the Government as plenty to deal with currently, but more should have been done for Social Care well before the COVID 19 situation.
      • This section of care has been devoid of enough money for far too long and austerity measures only compounded this.
      • The starting salary for all care workers should be, at least the Real Living Wage and not, as currently the National Living Wage or for some under 25 years The Minimum Wage.
      • The rate of pay is abysmal when compared to the responsibilities they undertake.

      It is not just the rate of pay, but many others including

      • Conditions of Service
      • Travel Expenses
      • Sick Pay schemes

      My own family and many other families rely on Social Care to help us look after our relatives who have major needs relating to care.

      We all have, over the years, done what we can to help manage these needs of our relatives, but there comes a time when the needs exceed what we ourselves can realistically deliver, hence our, now, reliance on Social Care and without it our relatives needs will not be met.

      Lack of funding for Social Care is a major problem and this leads to

      1. not only insufficient funding for all forms of Social Care
      2. a lack of people wishing to come into the profession due to the abysmal rate of pay
      3. partly causing a lack of quality of care being delivered in some areas and other problems
      4. causing stress and exhaustion for family members providing care to their relatives, due to the lack of Social Care

      If the crisis in Social Care is not met, this will then increase the crisis in health.

      Please could you see if you could show your support by signing this petition and then sharing it wherever you can.
      . https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care

      For more information I refer you to my web page

      https://carervoice.wordpress.com/petition-solve-the-crisis-in-social-care/

      It goes without saying that I am greatly disappointed with the latest Budget, not even the miserly £1 or £1.5 billion promised by Boris, but unfortunately this is how it is for Social Care and those in need of Social Care.

      It is what we have come to accept, but not without question and challenge and the Coronavirus Pandemic is making Social Care even more important
      .
      However, the Government as shown their contempt for Social Care by suspending the Care Act 2014 some weeks ago, rather than providing increased funding to Local Authorities so they can, not only maintain current Social Care levels, which are really well below than required, but increase the level of Social Care to what is really required
      .
      You will never know when you maybe in need of Social Care, so please support Social Care, before it is too late

      https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care

      Thank you

      Chris

      #care #socialcare #crisis

  5. Most of the care workers have visa issues same as the NHS staff especially the commonwealth who are not nurses to be on the shortages occupational list. Can this important aspect be included in the power packed strategic plan with immediate implementation with other important institutions ? This will allow more care workers who can not leave the country due to COVID – 19 travelling restrictions to care now for vulnerable clients at a high risk of covid – 19 pandemic viral outbreak infection in care homes in COVID – 19. I realised this is just due to this working permit challenges. Many law abiding experienced careers with empathy and clients understanding workers are unable to care now despite highly required or needed to cover symptomatic staff or to volunteer or to be employed. This is not because of self isolation or been infected and it is really affecting social care sector heavily in all the Four regions of UK despite dependency on agency which has more than this same problem to recruit. This looks like one size fits all. NHS hospital solution for care home solution. What compound this issue is that most care home cannot sponsors due to various reasons aside especially covid 19 temporary pandemic viral outbreak recruitment.
    My last sentence is that every good immediate action plan with immediate implementation will save a live and this involves all and sundry.

    This my initial contribution aside other’s to come to help this important sector of my heart, ”Care homes”

  6. Can an employer in one care sector ask you to take unpaid leave for the duration of covid 19 as they deem you a risk . I have two care jobs in two different care homes yet on of them have asked me to do this however i am not working alongside any suspected or confirmed cases and i wear ppe at all times . Surely care services need all hands on deck during this outbreak.

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