Newly-appointed minister for care Gillian Keegan has announced an additional £388.3 million for infection prevention and control in social care this winter.
This includes £25m to support care workers to access COVID-19 and flu vaccines, £237 million for Infection Control measures and £126.3 million for testing costs. The vaccination funding will ensure social care staff who need to travel to receive their COVID-19 or flu vaccinations are paid their usual wages to do so and can be supported with travel costs.
To boost flu vaccine uptake among social care staff, GP practices will be able to vaccinate care home staff that are not registered at their practice.
Keegan, who previously was minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “We will ensure both staff and those who receive care continue to be protected from COVID-19, as well as other illnesses, this winter.”
Infection prevention and control measures to protect residents and staff include:
- Continuing to provide free PPE to protect against COVID-19 to the adult social care sector until the end of March 2022
- Providing regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing
- Continuing to support care providers to make best use of technology to help remote monitoring including making pulse oximeters available to care homes that have less than the recommended number of devices
- Continuing to support care home providers to follow guidance on restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings
- Supporting providers to pay staff who are isolating in line with government guidance their normal wages while doing so.
As part of supporting good quality discharge the government will also extend the use of designated settings for people discharged from hospital to a care home with a positive COVID-19) test. This includes extending the Designated Settings Indemnity Scheme to March 2022, supported by £478 million which has already been pledged to continue hospital discharge programmes through the winter until March 2022.
- To apply for a medical exemption from mandatory vaccination, individuals will be able to call 119 from 30 September. The Government will also launch a consultation on extending free PPE beyond March 2022 for health and social care on 1 October.