Published Thursday, 18 March 2021
Three leading Coventry city councillors have jointly sent a letter to the government urging the continuation of emergency adult social care funding due to end at the end of this month.
Announced last year, the Infection Control Fund is to help care homes and home care services with additional Covid-19 costs, including infection control, visiting measures and extra staffing.
In a cross-party letter Council Leader Cllr George Duggins, Leader of the Opposition Cllr Gary Ridley and Cabinet Member for Adult Services Cllr Mal Mutton, have told Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock the funding needs to carry on while the country continues to battle the ongoing pandemic.
The money has been used to support adult social care providers, to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission in and between care providers and support wider workforce resilience.
Grants from this fund have been essential in enabling social care providers to restrict staff movement between care settings and paying staff normal wages if required to self-isolate.
A total of about £5.6m has been allocated to the city so far but councillors have warned Mr Hancock local authorities don’t have the resources to absorb the spend if the grant was to end.
The letter states:
'This is a high risk situation – the impact on care home residents, their families and relatives and the staff that work in them has been profound throughout the pandemic and with visiting only just being reintroduced in care homes the ability of care homes to continue to manage Covid-19 effectively will be severely impacted should the grant not be extended.
'In addition to this the care sector has played a critical role in protecting the NHS, this will also be significantly impacted should outbreaks and therefore the ability of care providers to accept admissions reduce should key infection control measures have to cease as a result of lack of funding.
'We would also like to impress on you that although the national narrative is one of recovery, we are still seeing high rates of transmission and for the social care sector and care homes in particular the status is still very much ‘mid-incident’. We urge the government to recognise this through a continuation of support.
'For all of these reasons, we ask you to urgently confirm the continuation of the infection control grant beyond 31 March 2021 and to mainstream this within local government funding for Adult Social Care, so that the infection control measures that have been critical so far can continue.'
The councillors end by pointing out the infection control measures have also contributed to a reduction in flu, and other infections outbreaks over the past year.