People in care homes or those being cared for at home will be granted an extra £250 million for protection against COVID-19 transmission.
Made up of £142.5 million Infection Control Funding and £108.8 million for testing, the fund is designed to help protect people in adult social care by meeting the cost of infection prevention and control measures as restrictions in wider society are eased, and supporting continued testing of staff to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
The extra £250 million for COVID-19 protection brings the total funding given specifically to social care to £2 billion throughout the pandemic. This is alongside prioritising the sector for vaccines, providing ongoing testing to care homes and bringing in regulations to make vaccines a condition of deployment in care homes.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said, 'We are keeping up our support for social care through the pandemic. This new funding will help care services continue to protect those they look after and their staff from this cruel virus. It brings our total support to social care to £2 billion during the pandemic, along with billions of items of free PPE, over 120 million tests and the prioritisation of social care in the vaccination programme.'
The new money will be a continuation of Infection Control and Testing Fund, which was due to run until the end of the month and will now last until the end of September. Infection Control Funding is used by care homes and home care providers to keep their staff and residents safe. It can be used to:
- Ensure staff who are isolating receive their normal wages while doing so.
- Ensure that members of staff work in only one care home where possible.
- Limit or cohort staff to individual groups of residents or floors/wings. For example, paying for extra staff cover to provide the necessary level of care and support to residents.
- Support recruitment of additional staff (and volunteers) if they are needed to enable staff to work in only one care home.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England, said, 'The extension of the ICF and Testing Fund is very welcome and we applaud the DHSC in securing this extension. The adult social care provider sector has worked extremely hard to continue to protect the people it supports and cares for through extensive infection control and testing procedures. This funding is a recognition of these efforts.
'Care England is happy to work at speed to ensure the successful roll out of the money to the front line where it is most needed and where providers have been anxiously waiting for news.'
Testing funding will continue to support providers with the costs associated with ongoing testing in care settings. This includes funding to support visitor testing. Free PPE will be provided to the care sector until March 2022 and to date, more than 35 million PCR swab test kits and 85 million LFDs have been sent to care homes.
More detailed grant determination will be published in the coming days. In the meantime, further information on the Infection Control Fund can be found here.