Last reviewed 12 October 2021

The National Care Forum (NCF) has warned that an extra £388 million winter funding for adult social care announced by the Government is “too little too late”.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announced additional funding to prevent the spread of infection in social care settings. Most of the fund will be directed at care homes, including to help providers pay staff required to self-isolate their full wage and follow guidance on minimising movement of workers between homes.

The funding includes £25 million to support care workers access Covid-19 and flu vaccines over the winter months. It will ensure that social care staff who need to travel to get their Covid-19 or flu vaccinations will be paid their usual wages to do so and be supported with travel costs.

GP practices will be able to help increase flu vaccine uptake among social care staff by vaccinating those who are not registered at their practice. Uptake will be regularly monitored by region to allow a targeted approach.

The Government’s announcement, here, also confirmed that the Designated Settings Indemnity Scheme will be extended to March 2022.

Most of the Covid-19 related funding is a continuation of the ring-fenced Infection Control and Testing Fund, comprising £237 million for infection control measures and £126.3 million to fund regular lateral flow testing for care staff and similar tests for care home visitors.

NCF Chief Executive Vic Rayner pointed out that the existing funding came to an end on 30 September, the same day that the Government announced the extension. She said: “how it expects providers of care to plan and sustain services with the last-minute nature of this extension is a mystery”.

She observed that the funding was worth less than that provided in April and July 2021 when the sector was given £341 million and £251 million respectively for successive three-month periods, compared with £388 million over six months now.