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Support package created for care sector this winter

Additional support has been created to help protect the social care sector from Covid-19, including £300m for recruitment.

Care workers will receive a new package of measures to protect those providing care and the vulnerable from Covid-19.

The new Omicron variant has led to infections doubling every two to three days and estimates of 10,000 cases have shown increased transmissibility.

This money has been given the go-ahead to be used for bonuses, planned pay rises, and overtime up until next March. Additional guidance has also been added on care home visiting and testing to keep everyone safe. This includes the fact that staff testing will be increased from twice a week with lateral flow tests, to three times per week as well as a weekly PCR test.

Fully vaccinated residents visiting out will also be asked to take a lateral flow on alternate dates for two weeks, whilst those that are not vaccinated will be expected to isolate. The government has also recognised that companionship is important for well-being of residents, and therefore visits to care homes can continue under the current guidance, which permits three visitors and an essential caregiver per resident.

woman standing next to woman riding wheelchair

Care settings have also been given free PPE and an additional £388 million to support testing and infection control in September. Over 70% of older adult care home residents have already had a booster jab, with 97% of adult care homes being visited by vaccination teams. These measurements are part of the government’s wider plan to improve social care, along with their white paper ‘People at the Heart of Care’.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we have done everything we can to protect the adult social care sector, and the emergence of the Omicron variant means this is more important than ever.

‘This new funding will support our incredible workforce by recruiting new staff and rewarding those who have done so much during this pandemic.

‘Boosting the booster rollout in social care and updating the visiting guidance will help keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe from the virus this winter.’

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