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Government unveils Winter Plan for care homes

23 September, 2020

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has announced an Adult Social Care Winter Plan which aims to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections in care settings throughout the winter months.

As part of the plan, announced in mid-September, people receiving adult social care and care workers will receive free PPE, a new dashboard will monitor care home infections and help local government and providers respond more quickly, and a chief nurse for adult social care will be appointed to represent social care nurses and provide clinical leadership to the workforce.

Local providers must restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings to reduce transmission. The government says it will support this with an extra £546 million for the Infection Control Fund, intended to help care providers pay staff full wages and enable staff to work in only one care home.The extra money brings the total funding for infection control measures in care homes to more £1.1 billion and the government says this underlines its commitment to ensure adult social care has the resources it needs to keep residents and staff safe.

Also as part of the Winter Plan, the government says it is prepared to strengthen monitoring and regulation by local authorities and the CQC, including asking them to take strong action where improvement is required or staff movement is not being restricted. This can include restricting a service’s operation, issuing warning notices or placing conditions on a provider’s registration.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said that, with winter on the horizon, the UK was entering a critical phase in the fight against coronavirus.

“Our priority over the next six months is to make sure we protect those most vulnerable receiving care and our incredibly hard-working workforce by limiting the spread of the virus and preventing a second spike,” said Mr Hancock.

“This Winter Plan gives providers the certainty they need when it comes to PPE and provides additional support to help care homes to limit the movement of staff, stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. We will be monitoring the implementation of this carefully and will be swift in our actions to protect residents and colleagues across the country.”

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