Call to reinstate COVID funding for social care

May 4, 2022

UNISON and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) have written jointly to Sajid Javid, urging him to reinstate Covid funding for social care.

The letter to the Health and Social Care Secretary says the Government’s decision to end the adult social care COVID-19 infection control fund (ICF) – at a time when virus rates are still high – is an ‘incredibly dangerous move’ that will ‘cost lives’.

Introduced in May 2020, the £1.75bn fund gave financial support to care providers so they could continue to pay full wages ​to staff while they were self-isolating.

However, funding was stopped at the end of March in a move criticised by UNISON and the CPA, which brings together the ten main national associations representing independent and voluntary care employers.

The ​two organisations said in the letter that it is ‘beyond belief’ that this ‘vital financial lifeline’ has been cut for low-paid staff trying to protect vulnerable people,’ particularly during the worst cost of living crisis in over 60 years’.

The letter continues, ‘The Government should be encouraging and rewarding staff for doing the right thing by self-isolating, not making it impossible for them to feed their families.

‘Growing numbers of care workers are being forced to turn to food banks as budgets are stretched to breaking point. Others are having to leave jobs they love in search of better paid and more secure work.’

UNISON and the CPA warn that major worker shortages in the care sector are already ‘undermining the quality of care provided across England’. They also write that this staffing crisis is ‘preventing the discharge of NHS patients back into the community, consequently limiting access to medical services and piling more pressure on the system.’

The letter ​also highlights that evidence from studies commissioned by the Government shows that the prevalence of COVID-19 was higher in care homes and other workplaces where staff did not receive proper sick pay.

The ICF must be reinstated immediately as a step towards ‘improving funding and working conditions in the sector significantly’. This does not happen then even more staff could be driven away from the sector, which will ‘put lives and livelihoods at risk’.

Visit the CPA website to read the latest news and blogs relating to COVID-19.

In other news, communities across the country will come together this week to talk about death, dying and grief, in recognition of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

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