The Wokingham Paper

Calls for councils to get PPE funding as part of Government’s Coronavirus winter care plans

Old age care home
Picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

THE GOVERNMENT’S new plan for adult social care this winter must receive regular funding reviews. 

That’s the view of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board chairman, Cllr Ian Hudspeth. 

He was responding to the proposals launched by health secretary Matt Handcock on Thursday, September 17. 

Under the plans, local care providers are being urged to restrict all but essential movement of staff in a bid to reduce transmission of the coronavirus. To help, the Government has pledged £546 million for an Infection Control Fund. 

It is also pledging enough PPE such as masks, gloves and disposal aprons, for adult social care staff and care workers, and employing a chief nurse for adult social care. The search will start next month. 

Mr Hancock said: “This winter plan gives providers the certainty they need when it comes to PPE and provides additional support to help care homes to limit the movement of staff, stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. 

“We will be monitoring the implementation of this carefully and will be swift in our actions to protect residents and colleagues across the country.”

Cllr Hudspeth said that winter will be the biggest challenge yet to social care services and the government needed to ensure that the PPE supplies were ready to go. He also called on the government to reimburse councils for their expenditure on the equipment so far.

“Councils and care providers have been working constantly throughout the pandemic to support our elderly and most vulnerable people, despite facing huge pressures,” he continued. 

“While we understand the Government will want clear oversight of the developing situation, further monitoring requirements should not place any unnecessary burdens on providers and councils’ vital ongoing work.

“Free supplies of PPE is good and the right distribution needs to be in place to make sure supplies reach the frontline on time. Councils and providers should also be compensated for PPE already purchased for COVID-19 to date.”

And the issues relating to test and trace were also on his mind. 

“These measures should be backed up by ensuring everyone in the community who needs a test can get one,” Cllr Hudspeth said.

“Funding should also be kept under regular review, to make sure councils and providers are in the best possible position to respond to a potential second wave and able to increase capacity for care at home, which will be essential to meet demand through the winter.”

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