The day after International Nurses Day, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood at the podium inside the House of Commons and acknowledged the many tragic COVID-19 deaths recorded so far for NHS and social care staff. His thoughts went out to the family and friends of those affected and a £600 million fund was announced to help slow the virus spread within care homes.
The £600 million Infection Control Fund forms part of wider support for care home residents and staff, including limiting staff movement, protecting wages and giving access to NHS personal protective equipment (PPE) training. In addition to this, a clinical lead will be named in each care home in England to provide direct care for residents, and the CARE Workforce app will also launch a wellbeing package to support the workforce with Hospice UK and Samaritans.
The package is in response to the 12,500+ deaths in English care homes alone recorded by the Office for National Statistics (15th May). The government has faced continued criticism over not acting fast enough to provide support, mainly over the lack of resources available to the sector.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick followed up to the announcement on Twitter by saying:
Great news that the Prime Minister @BorisJohnson has announced another £600 million of funding for local councils – focused on adult social care.
This takes our total new funding for councils in the response to #Covid19 to over £3.8 billion in two months.
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) May 13, 2020
Although Boris Johnson has recently said he “bitterly regrets” the COVID-19 crisis in care homes and pledged the government is working hard to tackle it, he also accepted during his Prime Minister Question Time appearance that there is still a lot of work to be done.