Extra £22.7 million Covid cash is ‘temporary sticking plaster’, says Care Forum Wales
4 August, 2020
Care home owners in Wales have described the extra £22.7 million in emergency funding announced by the Welsh Government as a “temporary sticking plaster”.
While the additional money was “most welcome”, sector champions Care Forum Wales say the overwhelming priority must be to devise a national action plan to implement long-term structural change to mend a system that’s broken and fragmented.
The money being made available to local authorities is in addition to the £40 million made available to local authorities in April to support the social care sector to meet the skyrocketing bills in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Welsh Government says it will review the situation again in September. In the meantime, health minister Vaughan Gething made a point of thanking front line care staff and said Wales owed them a debt of gratitude.
Care Forum Wales chair Mario Kreft said the extra funding and the kind words from the health minister were most welcome but added that the extra money was only a temporary sticking plaster to tide the sector over until September.
“What we also need as a matter of urgency is a national action plan to implement fundamental long-term structural change to a broken and fragmented system,” said Mr Kreft.
“It is now August and this funding covers the period from July 1 so providers were becoming increasingly desperate.
“We cannot afford to wait until September to review the overall situation again. We need to start planning now so we can sustain the sector through this coming winter so that, crucially, care homes and nursing homes can support the NHS.
“We need to plan for the six-month period to get us through the winter when the pressure on the NHS is likely to be greater than they have ever seen and greater than we have seen during this pandemic.
“Certainly, care homes have never faced pressures like this before – it’s an enormously challenging situation.
“We need an overall strategy that includes the social care sector in tackling this emergency. The care homes haven’t caused the crisis but they can be an important part of the solution because they are caring for so many people who would otherwise be in hospital.
“The vast majority of care home residents are publicly funded and providers have been forced to dance to the varying tunes of local councils for a generation.”