The last remaining dedicated funding for the social care sector, to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, will come to an end today.
The National Care Forum (NCF) has asked the Government to ‘Think people first’ and said that the difficulties facing the sector are still present. Some of the areas highlighted included: the compliance requirements it is intended to fund remain unchanged, the testing requirements remain the same, the strictures on visiting remain the same, the IPC requirements remain the same and the restriction on staff movement remain the same.
NCF has said there is an immediate need to address the emergency facing social care and at a minimum there is a need for a plan that:-
- Immediately extends emergency funding for social care to ensure that all parts of the sector can continue to comply with COVID-19 requirements around testing, IPC, staff sick pay etc.
- Provides a fully flexible workforce fund which can be used to target retention and supporting the wellbeing of existing staff.
- Pays all care workers a retention bonus, to reward those who have shouldered the burden of care during the darkest of times.
- Puts care workers on the shortage occupation list now to enable the rapid filling of vacancies.
- Carries out an independent review of care workers pay and commit to a reform agenda that enables better pay, terms and conditions for staff.
- Delays the implementation of mandatory vaccination in care home setting and implement at a time when it has been agreed across all of health and care.
Vic Rayner, OBE, CEO of The National Care Forum (NCF) said, ‘The next 6 months are critical for social care – of course – but most importantly they are critical for people and communities. I don’t believe for one moment that the general public care more about whether they have a turkey on their table at Christmas than ensuring someone needing care and support gets consistent high-quality care to enable them to live an independent life as part of their community.
‘Yet, the political rhetoric implies that is what matters to voters. The political will to find a solution for the poultry industry, for the HGV sector, for the fuel pumps must extend to solutions for people who need care and support. The government must take action and the public must hold them to account.’
Visit the National Care Forum website for guidance information related to COVID-19.
In other news, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has published its annual review of adult social care complaints.