Care group's call for vital fund to be reinstated

The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) and Unison have urged the government to reinstate a vital fund for social care.

The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) and Unison have written to health secretary Sajid Javid urging him to reinstate Covid funding for social care.

The letter says the government’s decision to end the adult social care Covid infection control fund (ICF) – at a time when virus rates are still high – is an "incredibly dangerous move".

Introduced in May 2020, the £1.75bn fund gave financial support to care providers so they could continue to pay full wages ​to staff while they were self-isolating. However, funding was stopped at the end of March in a move criticised by Unison and the CPA, which brings together the 10 main national associations representing independent and voluntary care employers.

The ​two organisations say in the letter that it is "beyond belief" that it has been cut for low-paid staff trying to protect vulnerable people. The letter goes on: “The government should be encouraging and rewarding staff for doing the right thing by self-isolating, not making it impossible for them to feed their families.

“Growing numbers of care workers are being forced to turn to food banks as budgets are stretched to breaking point. Others are having to leave jobs they love in search of better paid and more secure work.”

Unison and the CPA warn in the letter that major worker shortages in the care sector are already "undermining the quality of care provided across England". The letter ​also highlights that evidence from studies commissioned by the government shows that the prevalence of Covid was higher in care homes and other workplaces where staff did not receive proper sick pay.

CPA chair professor Martin Green OBE says: “Social care services protect some of the most frail and vulnerable people. This is why many of the restrictions that have been eased in the rest of society are still needed.

“The burden on care providers is enormous. They no longer have the resources allocated through the infection control fund, but still face huge costs to comply with regulations. It’s essential that the government reinstate this funding to protect people in social care.”

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