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New support package announced to protect social care sector this winter

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The government has announced a new support package to help protect the adult social care sector this winter.

Care providers will receive a share of £300 million, in addition to the £162.5 million announced in October, to help boost recruitment and retention.

The funding, which could be used to by pay staff bonuses, bring forward planned pay rises and fund overtime, will be available until the end of March 2022.

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New measures will also be put in place to help protect care workers and service users from the spread of the Omicron variant.

The government said specialist vaccination teams are being expanded and deployed to ensure all care home residents and staff, as well as people who are housebound and their caregivers, are offered the booster – with those most at risk prioritised for the jab.

Care homes will be able to request follow-up booster visits from vaccination teams for staff and residents and home visit payments for GPs will be increased to further ramp up the home care programme.

The news comes after leaked analysis showed that at least 300,000 housebound people have not received a COVID booster vaccine.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect the adult social care sector, and the emergence of the Omicron variant means this is more important than ever.

“This new funding will support our incredible workforce by recruiting new staff and rewarding those who have done so much during this pandemic.

“Boosting the booster rollout in social care and updating the visiting guidance will help keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe from the virus this winter.”

The Omicron variant has led to infections doubling every two to three days and estimates by UKHSA of 10,000 cases with increased transmissibility.

The government said care settings will be given extra guidance for infection prevention and control measures and PPE.

Commenting on the new support package, Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum said: “The additional £300m funding for the care workforce is extremely welcome. The crisis impacting on both recruitment and retention within care has been growing at an alarming rate, and this funding will be essential to enable providers to take action. It is imperative that the funding gets straight to the front line in order that each and every care workers feel the benefit of this immediately.

“In addition, the recognition of the additional steps needed to ensure that the booster programme reaches the most vulnerable members of society and the care workforce are to be welcomed. The ambitions to turbo charge the programme for wider society must not risk limiting access to boosters for staff and residents, and so renewed focus on boosters in care are very positive.”

Tags : FundingomicronRecruitmentsupport packagevaccine
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke