Unpaid carers who do not live with the people they care for can now benefit from free PPE through a new national scheme, the government has confirmed.
Following a pilot scheme to establish the distribution method and logistics, free PPE is now being made available to “extra-resident” unpaid carers who need it, so they continue to keep themselves and those they care for safe from COVID-19 if they have to move between households.
Local Authorities and local resilience forums (LRFs) were informed of the extended PPE offer by letter sent last month and almost two thirds have signed up to support this.
The Minister for Care, Helen Whately, is now calling for more to take part and help unpaid carers in their areas access free PPE.
She said: “Unpaid carers are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. All too often their kindness and devotion go unseen and unacknowledged by society.
“I know the enormous strain this pandemic has placed on those caring for family and those they love. I’m determined to do everything possible to support them.
“Working with local authorities and voluntary organisations, we have already improved access for carers to testing and supported day services to stay open safely during this second wave. I’m pleased we can now roll out free PPE for those unpaid carers who are advised to use it.”
Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, commented: “It is important everything is done to protect those who are vulnerable and the people who care for them.
“Unpaid carers provide a fundamental pillar supporting our social care system and have the gratitude of a nation for their work before, during and after this pandemic.
“The scientific advice is to wear PPE while caring and we are ensuring extra-resident unpaid carers can now access this for free.”
The provision of free PPE to unpaid carers follows the government’s promise to provide free PPE until at the least the end of June 2021 to the adult social care sector.