Government support for social care in England was “too slow and limited”, leading to inadequate protection for people using and providing care, concludes a Health Foundation report of the first COVID wave in care homes.
In addition, support was not standard across the board, and not all areas had access to testing and PPE, nor priority access to COVID-19 vaccines, alongside the NHS.
The report says that a key question for any future inquiry into the government’s handling of COVID-19 will be how well government protected people using and providing adult social care.
During the first wave, social care in England saw more than 27,000 excess deaths among care home residents, a 20 per cent increase on recent years. There was also a wider health impact due to reduced access to care, social isolation, and an increased burden on carers.
As well as fragmented and short-term policy. Difficulties in managing COVID-19 have been exacerbated by chronic underfunding, workforce issues and system fragmentation. Health Foundation report authors say that comprehensive reform of adult social care in England is needed to address the longstanding policy failures exposed by COVID-19.