Government announces £2.9bn to support care sector in fight against coronavirus


The government has pledged £2.9bn to support adult social care services in caring for the vulnerable and to free-up 15,000 hospital beds during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The funding is to come from the £5bn COVID-19 fund announced in last week’s Budget.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “I’ve been clear that the NHS and other vital public services will receive whatever they need to protect people from coronavirus.

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“Our £5bn Budget response fund is now being used to free up more beds in hospitals and ensure some of our most vulnerable people are getting the care they need. The government will continue to lay out comprehensive and coordinated responses to get this country through this situation.”

Of the £2.9bn, £1.6bn will be used to enable local authorities to respond to other COVID-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including stepping up support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.

The remaining £1.3bn will be used to enhance the NHS discharge process so patients who no longer need urgent treatment can return home safely and quickly.

The news comes after social care leaders called for urgent financial support to keep care providers afloat during the coronavirus outbreak.

United Kingdom Homecare Association, which represents more than 2,000 care providers, said it is “desperately worried” about the ability of care providers to pay care workers who are sick or self-isolating, whilst remaining solvent.

And the Lincolnshire Care Association warned the government “not to forget about the social care sector”, whose 1.4 million staff are caring for the most vulnerable people in society.

The funding will cover the follow-on care costs for adults in social care, or people in need of additional support, when they are out of hospital and back in their homes, community settings, or care settings.

Additionally, the enhanced discharge measures will help free up 15,000 hospital beds across England and ensure more staff have capacity to treat people needing urgent care, including those being cared for with coronavirus.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our NHS and social care colleagues are at the heart of protecting the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak, and the whole country is tremendously grateful for their commitment during this challenging time.

“This funding will help the NHS and social care services in our communities to rise to this once in a generation challenge by allowing the NHS to do what it needs to, and help move people out of hospital as soon as possible to get them back home with the right support. We are clear that we will do whatever it takes to protect lives and protect our NHS.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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