£120 million fund announced for additional social care staffing amid rising shortages
The fund will help local authorities to boost staffing levels amid rising staff absence rates in among care staff alongside the £146 million announced in December for increasing testing capacities in care homes, Government says.
The UK Government has announced a new funding boost to social care services to help combat rising staff shortages and Covid-19 testing capacity issues in recent weeks.
The Government says that £120 million staffing fund will help provide additional care staff where needed, support administrative tasks so more staff can focus on providing care, and help to pay overtime to existing staff.
The new fund can also be utilised to support staffing initiatives already run by local authorities and is in addition to the £146 million grants to support the roll-out of mass care home testing, announced by the Government in December.
Minister for Care Helen Whately recognised the “compassion and skill” of social care staff during the pandemic and said the new fund would support care workers though the “some of the most difficult days of this pandemic so far.”
“We’re continuing to listen to care providers to make sure they have the help they need, from free PPE to extra testing, along with all the work to vaccinate care home residents, staff and the wider social care workforce,” added Whately.
The announcement follows repeated calls from sector bodies for increased Government support as the NHS tackles rising coronavirus cases across the country, with the National Care Forum (NCF) recently reporting staff shortages in care homes of up to 50% of capacity.
Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum, welcomed the announcement but warned that the Government would need to continue to monitor the situation.
“It is positive that the government has taken note of the extreme staffing pressure that care providers across the country are experiencing. The funding announced and confirmed today is welcome news, but must be subject to continuous review,” said Rayner.
“Communities across the country desperately need care organisations to be properly supported now and, in the future, so that they are ready and able to face every twist and turn of this pandemic.”
Read more about the recent calls for additional funding to cope with staff shorted in the social care sector here