Labour calling for government to recognise and address pressure on social care
Labour calling for government to recognise and address pressure on social care

Northumberland’s Labour Group is calling on the government to recognise the strains that Covid has put on social care and support the sector which is still dramatically affected by the pandemic.

Shadow cabinet member for adult social care Councillor Liz Simpson said the social care sector has been under immense strain throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and, although daily death and infection rates are now falling, the lockdown and impact of the virus has not yet ended for the sector.

Liz Simpson said: “The government has rightly said that the NHS will get ‘whatever it takes’ to deal with Covid-19. The same must be true for social care. Weekly testing of care home residents and staff is critical to saving lives, yet there have been repeated delays to the roll out of testing and care homes have waited days for their results.

“Reports that infection rates, while falling in the general population, are beginning to rise in care homes once more is a matter of serious concern. Getting on top of challenges faced by social care before the winter really sets in is vital. We cannot afford for action to protect care homes and other services to be as slow and chaotic as it was at the start of this pandemic.

“There are also serious concerns about vacancies in the care sector during the months ahead. The government must provide an immediate plan to better support care workers in all settings, including the 70,000 who are employed via direct payments and the nine million unpaid carers.

“But the real test is whether the government delivers on weekly testing of all care staff – first promised in July but still not delivered. Ensuring families can visit their loved ones is also critical, as without this care home residents can end up fading fast.”

Councillor Simpson is asking the government to:

•        guarantee that weekly, rapid testing of care staff will take place

•        ensure all care workers get the PPE they need

•        provide urgent additional support for families and support for families to be able to safely visit care homes

•        ensure care homes should be supported by the NHS

She added: “Social care must have the additional resources it needs throughout the winter and beyond. Families should be treated as key workers to ensure they can safely visit care homes this winter.”

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