Care England, the largest representative body of independent adult social care providers, has expressed its frustration with the government’s publication of staff movement guidance.
The publication, which was updated yesterday, provides guidance on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, (pictured) said: “The adult social care sector received no forewarning as to when this major piece of guidance would be issued or what it would look like. The sector is juggling a great many pressures and this unexpected guidance may well have unintended consequences.”
Care England said the requirement to ensure a 10-day interval between staff attending two care settings was “unworkable”.
The representative body added there was a “lack of clarity” around the date of implementation, adding there had been no discussion on how the policy would be funded after March.
Care England also warned of a “growing gap” between what the Infection Control Fund is intended to cover against what it can achieve.
The body also called for greater clarity on what constituted ‘exceptional circumstance’ and said there was no guidance on the role of the CQC in enforcing the requirements.
Care England added there was no reference to COVID-19 vaccinations and what this meant for staff movement in the longer term.
Martin added: “This represents another bureaucratic hoop for providers to jump through. We are at a loss to understand why if these measures are to be introduced across adult social care settings, the movement of NHS staff between NHS settings is not being subjected to the same policy.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to protecting care home staff and residents and stopping the movement of staff in and between care homes and other health and social care settings remains critical to minimising the risk of infection.
“We have provided an additional £120 million of funding to help local authorities to boost staffing levels in the adult social care sector and help reduce the movement of staff between care homes. This is on top of over £1.1bn in funding through the infection control fund
“Our priority is to ensure everyone receives the right care, in the right place and at the right time. The Government has provided billions of pounds of additional funding, free PPE, infection control guidance and increased staff testing to identify new cases and safeguard residents.”