The Labour Party has urged the government to put a winter care home plan in place and avoid the past mistakes of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, Shadow Social Care Minister, Liz Kendall, (pictured) said past mistakes in the handling of the pandemic could not be repeated.
Ms Kendall said: “Coronavirus has taken an unimaginable toll on elderly and disabled people, and their families.”
“Reports that infections rates are beginning to rise in care homes once more are a matter of serious concern. With winter and the flu season fast approaching, it is vital that the Government now puts in place a clear winter plan to support social care.
“The Government must learn the lessons from mistakes that have been made so far, and show users, families and staff that social care will be a top priority in the months ahead.”
The letter calls for a five-point plan to protect care homes, including: a guarantee of weekly, rapid testing of care staff; ensuring all carers get the PPE they need; urgent additional support for families to safely visit care home; NHS support for care homes; and additional resources for social care throughout the winter and beyond.
Ms Kendall added: “Getting on top of challenges faced by social care ahead of winter is vital – we cannot afford for action to protect care homes and other services to be as slow and chaotic as it was at the start of this pandemic.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Throughout our coronavirus response we have been doing everything we can to ensure all staff and residents in care homes are protected. We are testing all residents and staff, have provided 208 million items of PPE and ring-fenced £600 million to prevent infections in care homes, with a further £3.7 billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.
“The adult social care winter plan will be published shortly to ensure we have robust plans in place for the additional pressures we may face this winter, and to protect both the people who need care and the workforce that supports them.”