With reports of a rise of COVID-19 cases in the UK population and the subsequent increase of outbreaks in care homes, there is a lot riding on the week ahead for adult social care.
The testing regime has had an almighty roasting across the media, resulting in a series of heartfelt apologies, and some strongly worded commitments around the prioritisation of social care getting test results delivered in a timely and effective fashion. All eyes will be on how that commitment translates into action.
The winter plan and the adult social care task force report are due imminently. These reports will let us know what the government believes are the key factors in minimising the impact of any second wave on those receiving care and support and the care workforce. Plus, of course understanding how we manage all of that with the added challenge of Flu and the well-known pressures that it puts on both health and care provision.
Finally, it is essential that the government comes out with it’s plans for any renewal of the Infection Control Fund which comes to an end on 30th September. This critical funding has been a lifeline for the National Care Forum (NCF) members across the country providing them with vital resources to minimise the movement of staff. It has, amongst other things, included the funding to provide staff with their full salary whilst self-isolating for 14 days, and to enable the exclusive use of agency and specialist staff who would otherwise move between services.
In two days’ time (16th September) organisations will start to have to make key decisions about whether or not they can continue to operate these practices with no guarantee that any additional funding will be available to sustain these high level costs. How can they plan a detailed rota for care after the 30th September? How can they commit to pay staff to do the right thing when they have no guaranteed funding to facilitate this?
The government cannot delay a day longer in telling care providers what the situation is around future funding – this is not just about money – this is about people. We need answers now – the clock is ticking…