Left in the Dark, Again

Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body of independent adult social care providers, has called for immediate clarity to be given as to whether the COVID-19 support funds will continue after 31 March 2022.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:

“The Government has set a precedent of easing COVID-19 restrictions and requirements. The latest clinical and scientific advice on public health and safety is shifting, however many of the requirements imposed onto the adult social care sector remain in place, whilst many of the issues exacerbated by COVID-19 and central policies will continue to persist into the future. An immediate decision will better support provider’s business continuity and planning in light of the continued COVID-19 response, but also to aid fee discussions between care home providers and their Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups, which are currently underway.”

The Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund, Round 3 and Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for adult social care (including Round 2) end on 31 March 2022.

Whilst Care England has remained concerned about the means of distribution, particularly with regards to the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund, these funds represent an essential lifeline. Care providers are currently stretched beyond capacity, and need to be able to plan and have the certainty of continued financial support that has been provided to NHS, but not the adult social care sector.

Martin Green continues:

“The Government’s plan, Living with COVID-19, did little to reassure the sector that support would remain in place, most notably the continuation of asymptotic testing. If the COVID-19 support funds are to end, along with the discontinuation of free asymptomatic testing for residents, staff and visitors, care providers will face an enormity of financial and emotional challenges which can be avoided by Government intervention. Care home occupancy levels are still 5-10% below pre-pandemic levels, workforce attrition and vacancies remain over 30% and 10% respectively causing a further devastating financial burden onto already stretched care home providers.”