Care providers in England will receive more than half a billion pounds extra funding to help reduce transmission of Covid-19 during the winter, the Government has announced.
The Infection Control Fund will help pay staff full wages when they are self-isolating and ensure carers work in only one care home, reducing the risk of spreading the infection.
The fund was set up in May but has now been extended until March 2021 and will offer the sector an extra £546 million ahead of an anticipated second wave of the virus over the winter months.
The Government said that total funding for infection control measures in care homes is now more than £1.1 billion and underlines its commitment to ensure adult social care has the resources it needs to keep residents and staff safe.
It comes as stricter rules are expected to be put in place in the North East of England, following a rise in the number of coronavirus infections.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the new funding would bring “peace of mind” to many in the sector.
“From the very beginning we have done everything possible to make sure our social care system is protected and has the resources it needs to keep our brilliant workforce and those they care for safe,” he said.
“This new funding of over half a billion pounds will support not only care home residents, but also some of the most vulnerable in society living at home and in supported living.
“I know this will give peace of mind to so many, and we will set out further detail in our Adult Social Care Winter Plan this week.”
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “I know just how hard social care staff have been working over the last six months to provide compassionate care for our loved ones and keep them safe in the face of this global threat.
“I am committed to ensuring the social care system has everything they need for the winter months ahead.”
“Today we have set out additional funding to bolster infection prevention and protect our loved ones receiving care.”
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told The Sun care home workers would be given financial support to ensure they have sufficient personal protective equipment and are able to minimise their use of public transport.
Mr Johnson told the paper: “Be in no doubt we’re going to do absolutely all we can to stop the spread in care homes.
“And I’m afraid it’s an incredibly difficult thing, but we are going to have to place some restrictions on people, visitors being able to go into care homes.”
Mr Johnson admitted in the Commons on Wednesday the Government was “concerned about the rates of infection in care homes” and promised a new action plan.