Government announces £269 million injection to help social care sector

Social care is about to receive a significant financial package from the government to improve staffing levels and increase COVID -19 testing in care homes.

Testing is currently available three days a week for staff and, in the event of a positive case, seven days a week.

The social care sector has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and the pressure has been constant since the emergence of the virus last spring.

Social care workers face unique challenges, especially in care homes where the new variant has added to the pressure social care staff and residents are under.

Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “This additional funding gives a boost to the social care workforce during some of the most difficult days of this pandemic so far.”

The £269 million investment project will be split into two parts; £120million fund for local authorities to boost staffing levels and a £149million grant system to support increased testing in care homes.

Several local authorities have schemes in place to improve staffing capacity such as care worker staff banks, where new recruits are paid during training, as well as re-deployment models where DBS checked staff are trained and moved into operational roles, and end-to-end training and recruitment services.

The grant for testing will help care homes adapt to rapid testing, which can help facilitate family visits by offering rapid lateral flow tests.

Vaccinations offer hope to the social care sector with the government setting the target of offering all care home staff and residents their first dose by the end of next week.