Care home cash is ‘temporary sticking plaster’, say owners
Care home owners in Powys have described the extra £22.7 million in emergency funding as a “temporary sticking plaster”.
Care Forum Wales said while the additional money from the Welsh Government was welcome, overwhelming priority must be to devise a national action plan to implement long-term structural change to the system.
The cash being rolled out to councils is in addition to the £40m made available in April to support the social care sector to meet the skyrocketing bills in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has praised care staff for their efforts.
Care Forum Wales chairman Mario Kreft said: “This extra funding and the kind words from the Health Minister are most welcome.
“But the extra money is only a temporary sticking plaster to tide the sector over until September.
“What we also need as a matter of urgency is a national action plan to implement fundamental long-term structural change to a broken and fragmented system.
“It is now August and this funding covers the period from July 1 so providers were becoming increasingly desperate.
“We cannot afford to wait until September to review the overall situation again.
“We need to start planning now so we can sustain the sector through this coming winter so that, crucially, care homes and nursing homes can support the NHS.”
Mr Kreft said: “We need to plan for the six-month period to get us through the winter when the pressure on the NHS is likely to be greater than they have ever seen and greater than we have seen during this pandemic.
“Certainly, care homes have never faced pressures like this before – it’s an enormously challenging situation.
“We need an overall strategy that includes the social care sector in tackling this emergency.
“The care homes haven’t caused the crisis but they can be an important part of the solution because they are caring for so many people who would otherwise be in hospital.
Mr Gething said: “Social care plays a vital role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and has been on the front line in our effort across public services to meet the challenges posed by Covid-19.
“The initial payment of £40m helped the sector meet the rising costs incurred during the pandemic in areas such as staffing, increased infection control, higher food prices and greater use of ICT to keep families in touch with their loved ones where they were no longer able to meet.”
The Health Minister added: “This further funding will ensure adult social care providers can maintain their vital care in what continues to be challenging circumstances.”
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