The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced a care home support package backed by a £600 million Infection Control Fund to help to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in care homes.

As part of the package, care homes and local authorities are being asked to take extra steps to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The funding will be used to meet the additional costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) and of restricting staff to work in one care home only and pay the wages of those self-isolating. Care homes will be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home wherever possible.

Local authorities will be given the funding, which is ring-fenced for social care, so that they can cover the costs of ensuring care homes are able to implement the measures. The new funding will be distributed to councils based on the number of care home beds in their area and will be passed on quickly to care providers, according to Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick.

The DHSC said all local authorities must conduct a daily review of care homes in their area to ensure care homes have the support they need with staffing, help with accessing PPE and other areas of operation.

The NHS will ensure that each care home has a named clinical contact to give better access to clinical advice through weekly check-ins to review their patients, and offer direct support for staff with use of equipment and medication.

A wellbeing package for social care staff is also being rolled out on the new CARE app, including two new helplines, led by the Samaritans and Hospice UK, which will help support care staff with their mental health and wellbeing and support those who have experienced a traumatic death as part of their work or help with anxiety and stress.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home support package is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-care-homes

Last reviewed 19 May 2020