Additional funding for infection prevention and control has been provided to cover the winter months.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said £388.3m to prevent the spread of infection in social care settings, including £25m to support workers to access Covid-19 and flu vaccines would be provided.
‘Protecting care home staff and residents has been a priority throughout the pandemic and as we move into winter I am committed to ensuring they have the resources they need,’ he said.
‘This additional funding demonstrates how we will continue to support those delivering and receiving care.’
Money will be delivered through the infection control and testing fund, which was first introduced in May 2020 with £600m. The latest funds include £237m for infection control measures and £126.3m for testing costs.
Whilst welcoming the funds, National Care Forum chief executive Vic Rayner pointed out they represented a 23% reduction of equivalent funding provided by the government in July, and a 44% drop of that allocated in April this year.
A total of £341m was provided for the period 1 April to 30 June. This was followed with £251m for the period 1 July to 30 September. The current funding level of £388m covers a six-month period until March.
‘At the eleventh hour, the government has finally announced an extension to the funding for adult social care to support the delivery of care services in a Covid-safe environment,’ she said.
‘The existing funding came to an end on 30 September, the very same day that the government announced the extension. How it expects providers of care to plan and sustain services with the last minute nature of this extension is a mystery.’
In addition, the government has announced the extension of funding for the designated settings, and the associated indemnity schemes.
Rayner said: ‘Leaving the announcement to confirm the extension of these schemes until the night before both the funding and insurance runs out makes a mockery of the notion of a strategic, thought-through approach to ensuring that people receive the services they need in localities across the country.’
The government has also launched a consultation on extending free PPE beyond March for health and social care.