A new adult social care plan – supporting the care sector this winter
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently published a new adult social care plan setting out the key elements of national support available for the social care sector to cope with the upcoming winter pressures.
‘Adult social care: coronavirus (COVID-19) winter plan 2020 to 2021’ outlines the UK Government’s ambitions for the sector, the challenges facing adult social care this winter, and key actions for national bodies, local authorities, NHS England and adult social care providers.
With a particular focus on infection control and outbreak management, the winter plan highlights collaboration across health and care services.
The winter plan also applies to all settings and contexts in which people receive adult social care, including people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, stated “We are entering a critical phase in our fight against coronavirus with winter on the horizon. Our priority over the next six months is to make sure we protect those most vulnerable receiving care and our incredibly hard-working workforce by limiting the spread of the virus and preventing a second spike.
This winter plan gives providers the certainty they need when it comes to PPE and provides additional support to help care homes to limit the movement of staff, stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. We will be monitoring the implementation of this carefully and will be swift in our actions to protect residents and colleagues across the country.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England commented: “We welcome the Government’s focus on care homes and will work with them to implement the winter plan to ensure the best outcome for residents of care homes and their families”.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the NCF, cautiously welcomed the winter plan commenting “…The plan also brings together some of the less well known positive actions that have been fundamental to the social care Covid-19 response – and there is a useful section around the future role of technology”. However, the NCF leader also highlighted certain areas for concern, including the potential of further enforcement action against care providers and the mechanism behind the ramping up of free PPE - Read more here.
Dementia, Care & Nursing Home Expo & Home Care Expo
As the team behind the Dementia, Care & Nursing Home Expo and Home Care Expo, we are proud to work with the care sector who have shown true strength, resilience and adaptiveness in their Covid-19 response. We hope the winter plan will provide the support the sector deserves and needs. We recognise the amazing work the care sector does every day and will continue to do despite the expected winter pressures.
Whilst we welcome the government’s pledge to provide national leadership and coordination as the sector moves into the next phase of the COVID-19 response, we hope the government will continue to adapt to support the changing needs of the sector and we are optimistic for the delivery of the winter plan for social care over the coming months.
A key measure we are glad to see highlighted is an effort to protect care homes from COVID-positive hospital admissions. We hope that this measure will provide the protecting arm many felt was missing in the initial stages of the pandemic and that this scheme is run with transparency and in partnership with care providers.
Announced was also the pledge that free flu vaccines will be given to all health and social care staff in frontline roles, including personal assistants and unpaid carers throughout autumn and winter. We hope to see that this measure is easily accessible across the entire care home and home care workforce with little delay over the coming months.
Although much of the care sector never experienced PPE shortages due to the strong leadership and supportive community within the care sector, we embrace the pledge to provide free personal protective equipment to care homes and home care providers, even if only until March 2021. However, this again must be easily accessible and timely.
We welcome the extension of the £546m infection control fund, that can be accessed through local authorities to support care homes. However, we urge the government to support care providers in the delivery of this fund, make sure this is much easier to access than previously, and to also to extend financial support to home care and domiciliary care providers who make up a huge share of the social care sector.
We hope the DHSC will uphold their promise to listen to care providers, the care workforce and those receiving care in the coming months.
Industry Support Guide
We will also be supporting the industry in the comings months and have launched the Industry Support Guide.
This Industry Support Guide aims to provide support, advice, education and training, allow you to voice your concerns to experts, help source buying solutions to overcome challenges and help connect with the industry.
Our first webisode was designed to help you navigate the fluctuating landscape of IPC guidance together with Quality Compliance Systems, National Care Association, National Care Forum and Person Centred Software. If you missed this webisode, catch it on demand here!
Infection, prevention and control in care homes
Our next webisode will focus on ‘Infection, prevention and control in care homes’ and will feature Alison Murray – Head of inspection & Lead in IPC at the Care Quality Commission. This special webisode on Wednesday 23rd September at 2.30pm will talk about CQC’s role in IPC, now and in the future. This will include findings from their review of practice in a sample of care homes and set the scene for a report to be published in November which will highlight good practice examples. Find out more and sign up here!
As we look towards the coming winter months, is there a specific topic that you’d like to see? Let us know! The Industry Support Guide is for you and we’ll continue to curate the series based on your needs.