Council praises partnership work to support care homes in Covid-19 crisis

  • City council joined with NHS to provide more staff cover, training, infection control support and essential PPE
  • Care home teams praised for working tirelessly on frontline to support care home residents during lockdown
  • But council says more funding is urgently needed from the Government for care homes in city

Nottingham City Council has praised local partnership work to support older and vulnerable people in care homes throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Staff in residential homes across the city have worked tirelessly to ensure people in their care have remained looked after during the last three months of lockdown, including being cared for in isolation when needed.

The council has supported care homes with personal protective equipment (PPE), training, risk assessments and helping to recruit more staff.

But the council is warning that more Government funding is needed to support care homes over the next six months.

In a letter to the Minister of State, the City Council praised the action taken by the council and its partners.

Across Nottingham, there are 75 registered private care homes with 1,555 residents currently. The City Council has worked with partners in the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and also the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Local Resilience Forum to provide:

  • A bank of care support workers/health care assistants in the event of staff shortages
  • Redeployment of council staff to support adult social care and care homes
  • A dedicated infection, prevention and control team that provides daily support to care homes dealing with outbreaks
  • Use of free emergency supplies of PPE when all other sources are exhausted
  • Local co-ordination for placing returning clinical staff or volunteers into care homes, where care homes request this support.

But the council has warned of ‘severe financial stress’ in care homes unless additional funding is provided.

Cllr Adele Williams, Portfolio Holder for Adult Care and Transport, said: “Our city is hugely grateful to those working in social care. The staff who work in care homes spend their lives caring for some of our most vulnerable people and the nation’s gratitude and respect for their work should now be reflected in Government action.

“More testing, better communication and a plan to recruit more care workers are also needed for care homes to cope – especially if a second wave of Covid-19 hits later in year.

“Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge for all areas of the country. But it is hitting especially hard in cities like Nottingham, where, as well as dealing with higher levels of deprivation and inequality, cities like ours have also disproportionally borne the brunt of funding cuts to vital public services across the city.

“In spite of the challenges, the City Council is working exceptionally hard with all partners to support care homes and residents.

“However, there are issues we would like to highlight including financial resilience, mixed messages from Government, and the level of resource available to the social care sector.”

The council’s asks on behalf of Nottingham are:

  • Additional financial support from Government to help with the continuing financial impact of Covid-19 and support the care provider market
  • More testing of patients discharged from hospital into care homes, coupled with continued tests for staff and residents
  • Increased flexibility to allow registered nurses to be placed quickly into care homes where needed
  • Streamlined communication to care homes from Government, which has so far seen conflicting messages and requests for information from different
  • A funding regime and settlement that reflects the real need and costs of adult social care

Cllr Williams said: “Responding to the pandemic has highlighted how social care is as essential as health care to our ability to manage this national crisis. Social care has been integral to the response alongside the NHS, yet the health service has benefited from a long-term national plan and a proper funding settlement, whereas a longer-term funding solution for adult social care remains unresolved.

“Previous abandoned attempts at addressing the cost of adult social care have only looked at the threshold at which people start contributing. We need a system overhaul that means that everyone should be able to access the care and support they need to have the fullest life possible regardless of income – and know that the people who work to support them are paid decently and their employment is secure and sustainable.

“We urge the Government to engage with us to help address these issues, including further funding if needed to respond to the ongoing crisis and help reduce the risk of further outbreaks and a ‘second wave’ of the virus hitting our care homes and communities.”

The full letter can be read on the City Council website here: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/information-for-residents/health-and-social-care/adult-social-care/nottingham-city-care-home-support/

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