15 April 2020
The Government has this evening (Wednesday 15th April) published a plan for adult social care in response to Covid-19.
The plan will see more testing of social care staff and increase the sector’s supply of personal protective equipment. Tens of thousands more staff will be recruited to the profession, and workers in the sector will be given a ‘care’ badge so that they can identify themselves as frontline workers in this epidemic.
Furthermore, the Government has agreed to work with Public Health England and the care sector to give people the right to say goodbye to loved ones who pass away.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“At long last, the Government has recognised the role of the social care sector in this fight back against coronavirus.
“Social care is just as important in the national response, having nearly twice as many workers as the NHS, and further supported by as many as 8.8 million unpaid carers looking after family members and friends in homes. A plan for our sector should have come sooner.
“It’s good that testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) are now being prioritised for social care workers who need it most, but it is vital that it reaches them. There must also be enough for unpaid carers, some of whom are caring for extremely vulnerable people, including those who are shielding.
“It’s also right that the Government is working to ensure that people have the right to say goodbye to those who pass away, and this will be incredibly important for families looking after loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill.
“We are glad to receive funding from the Government towards our helpline which is a crucial port of call for unpaid carers at the moment. They have lots of questions and concerns about how they will manage in the weeks ahead, especially where their support services have been reduced.
“Unpaid carers tell us they feel they haven’t been sufficiently recognised in the national response to coronavirus so far. This plan goes some way to providing the recognition they need, if it is delivered. Carers need further recognition of the extra precautions they are taking, recognition of the many extra hours of unpaid care they are providing, recognition of the huge anxiety they are experiencing as they try to protect their loved ones.”
“Going forward we need Government to look at other aspects of caring that are extremely challenging, including a rise in Carer’s Allowance – the lowest benefit of its kind at just £67.25 a week – to help carers manage financially.”