Social care is no Cinderella service compared to NHS, says Number 10

The Government has denied that social care is being treated as a “Cinderella” service as organisations continue to report insufficient and delayed supplies of protective equipment.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was “certainly not the case” that social care workers are being forgotten about during the coronavirus outbreak.

The effort to stop the spread of Covid-19 has prompted complaints from some care providers that they are without enough personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gowns and gloves.

The spokesman said PPE is being delivered and tests are being conducted in care homes when required.

He said: “There were over 20 million items of PPE which were delivered yesterday.

“We are prioritising supply of PPE to all sectors with a clinical need and this includes ensuring staff in care homes have all the protection they need.

“We have now provided 7.8 million pieces of PPE to over 26,000 care home settings.”

Care homes, charities and social care organisations have repeatedly sounded the alarm about a lack of protective equipment for staff.

Earlier this week, Mark Adams, chief executive of social care charity Community Integrated Care, said supplies remain “woefully inadequate”.

Current deliveries by the Government of protective masks do not “even scratch the surface of the required supply”, he said.

Robert Kilgour, chairman of Scottish care home operator Renaissance Care, said care home staff were feeling like “second-class carers” amid the continuing shortage.

He said care homes are experiencing “increasingly long delays” as they wait for PPE to reach them, and said there had been some instances of equipment being diverted to the NHS.

Addressing concerns of shortages, the No 10 spokesman added: “I think I have been very honest that there have been issues around ensuring that we have got the PPE in places that we need to get it to.

“That’s why we have set up the dedicated hotline that people can ring 24 hours a day.

“We have also been utilising the military to ensure supplies get to the places they are needed.”