Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced plans to boost access to personal protective equipment, ramp up testing and recruit more staff in care homes, to stop coronavirus spreading.
The Government published its adult social care action plan after the Office for National Statistics revealed 2,100 unreported coronavirus deaths in care homes and other community settings in the week ending 3 April. The Government’s daily coronavirus statistics only count deaths in hospital.
Mr Hancock, announcing the plan on Wednesday, which is intended to reduce the outbreak of Covid-19 in care homes, said: ‘We should all be proud of our incredible care sector who are fighting this battle against this virus on the frontline.
‘Our care staff come to work day-after-day supporting our most vulnerable in these incredibly challenging times,’ he added.
The plan outlines an approach to control the spread of infection, support the workforce, support independence and people at the end of their lives, and support local authorities and care providers.
Homes will be supported to order PPE quickly including through direct dispatches via Royal Mail, a 24.7 hotline and a new pilot website, it said.
It also laid out the Government’s ambition to attract 20,000 people into the social care workforce ‘over the next three months’ through a new recruitment campaign, targeting returners to the sector.
The Government’s commitment to test symptomatic residents and care staff ‘who need a test’ was first announced earlier this week. Over 4,000 social care works have been referred for testing so far.
Social care nurses have told Nursing in Practice they are concerned that Covid-19 can easily spread through care homes as staff struggle to get the PPE they need.
In addition, the Royal College of Nursing has warned that the lack of testing for NHS and social care staff is ‘unacceptable’.