We welcome the updated PPE guidance from Public Health England around social care settings, the first one focusing on care homes was issued last week. We now urgently need to see the updated guidance on domiciliary care.
- Adult social care is at the frontline of responding to the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 and carers are doing an incredible job.
- Government funding and liquidity measures to support councils are very welcome, as they are facing significant extra costs from the demands created by COVID-19 as well as a significant loss of income. In relation to adult social care, councils are supporting care providers who face additional costs in ensuring continuity of care for those who rely on their support, as well as seeking to protect staff and the people they support from infection by COVID-19 , and then providing care to this who fall ill with the virus.
- Funding must be kept under close and regular review. This will be particularly important to ensure both the immediate and the long-term sustainability of the provider market, which is facing severe pressure as a result of COVID-19 .
- Addressing the unsatisfactory situation regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains a priority for councils. The social care workforce and other appropriate key council staff need to be provided immediately with sufficient and sustainable supplies of PPE and a system put in place to guarantee future supply. In addition, accessible and appropriate testing facilities are urgently needed for this workforce and people receiving care in their own homes.
- We welcome the updated PPE guidance from Public Health England around social care settings, the first one focusing on care homes was issued last week. We now urgently need to see the updated guidance on domiciliary care.
- The intended nationally co-ordinated ‘Clipper’ system for supply of PPE to social care has been delayed since April 6 2020 and we have no date for when this will be in place. We urgently need a launch date. In the interim, social care is reliant on PPE deliveries to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs). LRFs need far greater certainty of timing and quantities of ongoing ‘drops’.
- Councils, operating under the Coronavirus Act and guidance on Care Act ‘easements’, may face difficult decisions on prioritising their resources and capacity. It is not inconceivable that some decisions may be questioned or challenged. The easements guidance must therefore also be kept under close and regular review and revised as necessary based on implementation experience of the easement measures. Any measures for oversight and monitoring of the easements must be sensible, proportionate and not burden councils with unnecessary reporting requirements.
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Short-term and long-term impact of the Government's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision and delivery of social and domiciliary care for disabled and vulnerable people, and the need to ensure the sustainability of social care services, House of Lords: 23 April 2020