The government has extended Covid funding for adult social care, three days before existing funds were due to run out.
Providers will receive an extra £142.5m to help them maintain staffing levels while controlling Covid infections, along with £108.8million for testing, to last until the end of September. As with previous such funding packages, most of the resource will go to care homes.
The previous infection control and testing fund, worth £341m from April, had been due to run out at the end of this month, prompting warnings from provider leaders that they would be left out of pocket, amid a third wave of the virus.
Following Sunday’s announcement, National Care Forum chief executive Vic Rayner tweeted: “Finally – announcement re extension of infection control fund. Welcome recognition of ongoing challenges facing care – but ….Starts in 3 days. No detail on allocation process. Lasts only three months. 91 million less than previous 3month fund extension.”
The funding received a warmer welcome from Care England, which had also raised concerns about the infection control and testing resource running dry at the end of June.
Its chief executive, Martin Green, said: “The adult social care provider sector has worked extremely hard to continue to protect the people it supports and cares for through extensive infection control and testing procedures. This funding is a recognition of these efforts.”
The infection control funding can be used to pay staff who are isolating their usual wage and recruit additional staff to enable care home workers to work in only one home or, where necessary, restrict them to working with certain residents or certain areas of the home. The testing funding will support ongoing testing for visitors as well as staff, so people can safely visit those in homes.
Sector pandemic funds reach £2bn
The funding takes the total amount of money directly given to adult social care throughout the pandemic to £2bn. In addition much of the £4.6bn given to councils to meet pandemic costs has gone to the sector, while adult social care services have also benefited from some of the £2.5bn in hospital discharge funding. The government is also funding free personal protective equipment for adult social care until March 2022.
Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), welcomed the latest funding and said the government needed to continue to prioritise adult social care in its pandemic response.
He added: “We now need certainty for all other aspects of adult social care funding so that we can ensure that everyone continues to get the care and support they need.”