Care providers in England will benefit from over half a billion pounds of extra funding to reduce Covid-19 transmissions, the Government has confirmed.
The Infection Control Fund, set up in May, has now been extended until March 2021, with an extra £546m to help the care sector restrict the movement of staff between care homes to stop the spread of the virus.
This brings the total funding for infection control measures in care homes to over £1.1bn.
The fund helps care providers pay staff full wages when they are self-isolating and enable staff to work in only one care home, reducing the risk of spreading the infection.
The funding announcement follows a letter last week from the Department of Health & Social Care which warned care home providers in England of the risk of a rise in coronavirus cases in the care sector.
The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said today that from the beginning of the pandemic the Government had ‘done everything possible’ to protect the social care system.
However, the Government was criticised in the early months of the lockdown for neglecting care homes.
Martin Green, chief executive of Care England which represents providers, said in July: ‘At the start of the pandemic care homes were ignored and our personal protective equipment was directed towards hospitals.’
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, also said at the time that the Government realised too late that care homes were as much on the frontline as hospitals.
Commenting on today’s funding announcement, the minister for care, Helen Whately, said: ‘I know just how hard social care staff have been working over the last 6 months to provide compassionate care for our loved ones and keep them safe in the face of this global threat. I am committed to ensuring the social care system has everything they need for the winter months ahead.
‘Today we have set out additional funding to bolster infection prevention and protect our loved ones receiving care.’