New plan introduced to protect care homes from coronavirus over winter

A new Adult Social Care Winter Plan has been announced to support care homes from contracting coronavirus during the winter months.

A new Adult Social Care Winter Plan will aim to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections in care settings throughout the winter months, the Health Secretary confirmed today (18 September).

IMPROVED PROVISIONS

As part of the plan, people receiving adult social care and care workers will receive free PPE, a new dashboard will monitor care home infections and help local government and providers respond quicker, and a Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care will be appointed to represent social care nurses and provide clinical leadership to the workforce. 

“We are entering a critical phase in our fight against coronavirus with winter on the horizon,” commented the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock. 

“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.”

The Winter Plan will include £546 million Infection Control Fund, and a new chief nurse for adult social care will also be appointed to provide leadership to the social care nursing workforce.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

Hancock continued: “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.”

CHIEF NURSE

The new Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care role will provide clinical and professional leadership, while upholding and raising standards among the care workforce. 

Recruitment will begin in October to ensure the department and sector can benefit from the professional expertise the new role will bring.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “Our brilliant care workers have been tirelessly looking after our loved ones throughout this pandemic, and COVID rates have come right down in social care through the summer. 

“With cases beginning to rise now, we must take the strongest possible action to stop the virus and protect people.

“The creation of the Chief Nurse for Social Care is also an important step and will provide leadership to social care nurses and the wider care workforce who often work unseen. 

“The skills and compassion of our care workers must be fully recognised and supported.” 

STRENGTHEN

The Government is prepared to strengthen monitoring and regulation by local authorities and the CQC, including asking them to take strong action where improvement is required or staff movement is not being restricted. 

This can include restricting a service’s operation, issuing warning notices or placing conditions on a provider’s registration. Further details of how the winter plan will be enforced will be set out shortly.

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