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Local authorities allocated extra £60 million for adult social care over January 2022

The Government is providing additional funding to local authorities to support the adult social care response to COVID-19 in January.

04/01/22

Local authorities allocated extra £60 million for adult social care over January 2022

The Government will provide an extra £60 million to local authorities to support the adult social care response to COVID-19 in January, Minister for Care Gillian Keegan has announced.

The Government says the Omicron Support Fund will add to the £388 million infection control and testing fund announced earlier in the year to prevent infections and provide testing in the care sector.

As cases of Omicron rise rapidly around the country, the additional money is intended to help protect the adult social care workforce, as well as those who receive care and the family and friends who support them.

Local authorities can use the funding to support the sector and protect people from COVID-19 infection. This includes investing in improved ventilation, increasing the use of direct payments – which are offered to people with eligible social care needs so they have choice and control over their care and support arrangements – or paying for COVID-19 sickness and self-isolation pay for staff.

Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said protecting care staff and people who use social care services continues to be a priority, especially as cases surge and Omicron spreads rapidly around the country.

“Today’s extra funding will ensure that we continue to support adult social care to keep people safe and prevent outbreaks.

“A huge thank you goes out to care workers for all they are doing to care for people and keep themselves and others safe this winter.”

The funding comes after the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) declared that the challenges posed by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had caused a “national emergency for social care”.

Reflecting on the challenges posed, Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, appealed to the public to “do the right thing”, given the Government’s reluctance to change its guidance.

“Even before COVID-19 and Omicron, adult social care was struggling with severe funding and workforce challenges,” Chandler said, adding: “Staff absences due to the rapid spread of Omicron and the need to self-isolate now mean that there are not enough pairs of hands to provide care for everyone who needs it.”

“Every day we are rationing care in ways that we never have before. We are making incredibly difficult decisions about who gets care, how much care they get and who misses out - with obvious concerns that this will lead to people becoming isolated and, ultimately, to the loss of lives.

“This is now a national emergency for social care and we need your help to limit the spread of Omicron and to make lives bearable for people over the coming weeks.

ADASS pleaded with people to stay at home as much as they can, unless you are providing care and support, and if they are able, to provide care and support for family members who need it. They also advised taking time to check on neighbours and offer any support they can, as well as volunteering with councils and charities to assist support efforts.

“Please play your part in keeping yourselves, your families and your communities safe.”

Care home guidance was changed recently to protect residents further by allowing each resident to have 3 listed visitors as well as an essential care giver, either a family member or friend, who may visit the home to offer companionship or help with care needs.

People living in care homes are typically more vulnerable to severe illnesses as a result of COVID-19, and measures are in place to facilitate visiting while keeping care home staff and residents safe. Visitors should receive a negative lateral flow test result and report it on the day of their visit.

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