Care leaders have called on the government to extend COVID relief funding due to expire at the end of this month.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, (pictured) and Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum, said it was imperative that the government continued to offer funding support to help providers through the pandemic.
Martin said: “Unfortunately COVID-19 doesn’t end on 31 March, but many of the relief funds for the adult social care sector, the frontline, do. Without an extension to these relief funds the sector will be extremely hard pushed to deliver rigorous testing or infection control measures that are so vital in the fight against this virus.”
The key funds include: the Infection Control Fund; Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund; and Workforce Capacity Fund.
Martin added: “Providers need to plan and whilst we really hope that extension funds will be put in place it is necessary to understand the way the sector works, in order that it can plan the best delivery of care possible which takes time, resources, certainty and budgeting.”
While welcoming the return of care home visits this week, Vic said the accompanying government funding must also continue.
“We call on the government to immediately confirm the continuation of the funding that is essential to support the testing and infection control requirements that underpin the ability for homes to offer visiting,” Vic said.
“This will enable families and providers to work together as true partners in care to ensure that the wonderful memories made this precious mothering Sunday do not quickly fade away as the end of the fiscal year draws near. Having reached this point, after many months of campaigning, of the government enabling visiting in care homes, we must not then face a cliff edge where this cannot be sustained.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have spent billions of pounds on adult social care during the pandemic including on infection and prevention control measures, free PPE, priority vaccinations and additional testing.
“We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of staff across the social care sector who are working tirelessly on the frontline of this pandemic and we are committed to providing the sector with the support it needs.
“Funding to support testing, staffing and infection control measures is in place and we continually review the need for further investment.”