The brutal axing of a cash fund set up to help providers through Covid-19 could have dire consequences for the care of our most vulnerable, The Independent Care Group warned today.
The ICG has called on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to urgently reinstate the Infection Control Fund which ended at the start of the month.
It had played a vital part in helping care providers both in care and nursing homes and homecare agencies to cope with staff absences due to the virus.
In a letter to Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, ICG Chair Mike Padgham writes: “Covid-19 infection rates remain high and social care staff, in common with everyone else in the community, are becoming ill and are unable to come to work.
“However, because the Infection Control Fund has stopped, care providers are no longer able to pay those staff for the three days’ sickness that have to elapse before Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the Government kicks in. Because of the tight margins the majority of providers operate under, they cannot make up the shortfall.
“As a result, there is a very real danger that some of these staff are choosing to come to work, even though they have Covid-19, because they cannot afford not to be paid.
“This will potentially have a devastating impact upon care settings, with the obvious risks of spreading Covid-19 to their residents, homecare clients and colleagues.”
He says the country cannot afford further damage to social care providers at a time when hospitals are bursting at the seams.
“A loss of social care provision has dire consequences for NHS care, delaying hospital discharges and adding to the risk of hospitals being overwhelmed this spring and summer,” Mr Padgham writes.