Care England has expressed concern that money allocated to the front line to combat the COVID-19 crisis is not reaching social care providers and is not enough anyway.
The representative group has maintained a watching brief of those local authorities that have failed to provide any offers to care services and Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, has given oral evidence to the Health & Social Care Select Committee this morning, highlighting the disconnect in national and local delivery.
Professor Martin Green OBE says, 'Financial aid from Government is not only welcome, but in fact essential; however allocating it via local authorities hasn’t been successful. It is essential that the latest £600m for infection control must not also face the same fate. The quantum is not enough for the sector and we must search urgently for ways to get funding direct to providers.'
Many local authorities have not even contacted all their care providers, let alone sought to reimburse COVID-19 costs says Care England. The Government has granted £3.2bn to local authorities to ‘increase support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable’. Sadly, most of that probably won’t be directed to adult social care and the money that is will not be sufficient and is not reaching providers quickly enough, according to the representative body.
The need for money for COVID-19 to reach providers is increased by providers being rendered unable to operate with some closures, as a result of the financial consequences of COVID-19. This in turn has a very human impact upon existing residents, their families, staff and the communities in which they live. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) also need to take their responsibilities seriously to support people in services funded through continuing care to ensure the extra costs they are facing are also met, says Care England.
Care England is calling for the following to be put in place:
- A 10% uplift to be made across the board to care providers to deal with COVID-19 costs. This would overcome the inefficient and highly varied nature of those fees currently being offered to social care providers.
- An end to the unacceptable conditions presently being imposed upon social care providers, which in some cases actually create costs more that the support offered.
- More central government guidance to ensure that the support being offered by local authorities to care providers is less varied in nature.
- Ensuring local government and CCGs receive the required levels of funding to meet the increasing costs being incurred by frontline services as a result of COVID-19.
- Government to audit its public announcements to ensure that they are followed through.
Martin Green continues, 'It has become clear that in such a crisis we need further direction from central government. There is a huge disconnect between policy announcements from the centre and delivery on the ground.'