The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced today that funding will be extended for the social care sector.
The Secretary of State announced an extension of the fund by £341 million up until the end of June 2021. The full grant conditions for this have not yet been published. The National Care Forum (NCF) said at this stage it is not possible for local authorities or care providers to plan what this will mean on the ground.
In addition to the specific allocation for social care, there were announcements around additional funding for hospital discharge. It is anticipated that this will be available to fund the designated settings. These schemes were set up by providers at speed to ensure that anyone who is COVID-19 positive is not discharged directly to a care home.
The news comes in the final hour– just yesterday NCF said the Government has remained ‘silent’, until now, on whether funding would be extended beyond the 31st March end date.
Emergency funding made available through the Infection Control Fund and the Rapid Testing Fund has made it possible for care providers to facilitate visits due to the added costs associated with the administration, testing and infection prevention and control measures required to manage visits and to minimise the risk of virus transmission in accordance with Government guidance.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director at The National Care Forum, said, ‘The delay in announcing this funding has been a huge concern and without this confirmation providers would have been left high and dry and found themselves faced with 31st March fixed term contract terminations whilst simultaneously being told the policy commitment to offer designated settings continues – an intolerable position for both providers and the communities that they serve.
Rayner added, ‘Whilst welcome, it is impossible to not note the disparity in treatment of social care and the NHS. Out of the £7bn announced today, less than a twentieth of it is ring-fenced for social care and that which has been committed is only for a three-month period. In addition, there is no mention of an extension to the important Workforce Capacity Fund brought in during January this year. In case the government had not noticed, the recruitment challenges facing the social care workforce will not disappear on the 1st April and yet the funding appears to have!’
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said, ‘This extension of funding represents a lifeline for care providers. We are pleased that the Government has heeded the calls of Care England as without such funding the sector would be in jeopardy. Care staff across the length and breadth of England continue to implement enhanced infection control procedures to keep residents safe.
‘The details of the funding and the conditions within it are, however, are yet to be announced, with uncertainty prevailing around funds which also expire on 31 March. Thus, Care England urges caution that we must not lose sight of the fact that there are not, at present, any plans in relation to the longer-term sustainability of the adult social care sector.’
Visit the UK Government website to read the full announcement.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and other leading organisations in the social care sector are uniting in an urgent joint call on ministers to break their silence on the future of social care.