Matt Hancock pledges free PPE for ALL care home residents to minimise coronavirus risk during predicted second wave this winter
- Elderly people receiving social care will receive free PPE to prevent second wave
- Free masks and gowns will also be handed to home helps and care home staff
- The pledge is part of a winter action plan for social care by Matt Hancock
All elderly people receiving social care will be given free PPE in a bid to prevent a second wave of coronavirus over the winter.
Free masks and gowns will also be handed to home helps and care home staff as ministers aim to prevent a repeat of the shortages that plagued the sector over the summer.
The pledge is part of a winter action plan for social care unveiled last night by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Matt Hancock has promised all elderly people receiving social care will be given free PPE in a bid to prevent a second wave of coronavirus over the winter
A £500million ‘infection control fund’ will help pay workers full wages when they are self-isolating and ensure carers work in only one care home, thereby reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
The fund, set up in May, has been extended until March 2021. Local providers will be told to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings.
And a new ‘chief nurse for adult social care’ will provide clinical leadership to the workforce for the first time.
The plan will also include guidance on whether care homes should restrict visits from family members.
Yesterday, Boris Johnson said relatives may face restrictions, telling The Sun: ‘Be in no doubt we’re going to do absolutely all we can to stop the spread in care homes. And I’m afraid it’s an incredibly difficult thing, but we are going to have to place some restrictions on people, visitors being able to go into care homes.’
Boris Johnson said relatives may face restrictions when visiting care homes over the winter
Mr Hancock said: ‘We are entering a critical phase in our fight against coronavirus with winter on the horizon.
‘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.
‘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.’
Labour’s Liz Kendall said: ‘The real test of this plan is whether the Government delivers on weekly testing of all care staff – first promised in July but still not delivered.’
Labour’s Liz Kendall said: ‘The real test of this plan is whether the Government delivers on weekly testing of all care staff – first promised in July but still not delivered’
Age UK’s director Caroline Abrahams said it was important the plan achieved an ‘appropriate balance’ between ensuring infection control and allowing residents to keep in contact with loved ones.
She said: ‘It is possible to have safe visiting in care homes, but this requires a rigorous approach from providers and ready access to enough PPE and testing.
‘There will always be a risk that a visitor unintentionally brings the infection into a care home but this risk can be managed and it has to be considered alongside the dire consequences for care home residents, those with dementia especially, of being cut off from loved ones for long periods of time. There is no doubt that some older people to whom this is happening are dying of sadness as a result.’
It emerged last night that some care home providers have been told to accept Covid-positive patients from hospitals.
A contract from Trafford Council in Greater Manchester outlines how eligible care homes will receive Covid-positive patients within just two hours of them being identified by the hospital as ready for discharge.
A leading clinician told Channel 4 News it could become ‘commonplace’ for hospital patients carrying Covid-19 to be discharged into care homes in England this winter, in line with Government guidance, despite the controversy this caused early in the pandemic
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