Looking after staff and residents in social care homes

I  know there has been a great deal of concern about the safety of those living and working in care homes following a number of deaths from coronavirus. I have been pressing the Health and Social Care Minister, Matt Hancock, to start testing those leaving hospital to go into the social care sector and I am pleased that he has announced that anyone needed a coronavirus test in social care settings will get one.

I would like to reassure you that ensuring our frontline staff are properly protected is of paramount importance to me, and to my colleagues on all sides of Parliament. I have been pleased to learn that the army has been working to distribute supply of the equipment. Having raised this matter with the department, I know that Mr Hancock is taking this issue extremely seriously and I have been in touch with him regularly about it. I will continue to closely scrutinise steps being taken to ensure that all health and social care staff, whether they work in the NHS or other care facilities, are adequately protected and able to carry out their vital roles safely.

In addition to the 7 major suppliers who have stock from the national pandemic supplies, stocks can be obtained from the National Supply Disruption Response Centre contacts 0191 283 6543 Email: mailto:supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk or from the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum Email: mailto:emergency@northyorks.gov.uk or 01609 532246.

I have made it clear that anyone having difficulty in obtaining stocks through these routes should let me know and I will raise this as a matter of urgency with the relevant Health Minister, Helen Whately MP.

We know that people in residential care are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus which is why we are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe. Our testing capacity increases every day, we will ensure that anyone in a care home who develops symptoms, or is due to be discharged from hospital into a residential care setting, will be tested for the disease – helping to protect other residents and giving peace of mind to residents, staff and family members.  Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus. By ramping up testing capacity and providing tests to everyone in social care that needs one, we can prevent the spread of coronavirus, reduce pressures on the NHS and save lives.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who are working so hard in such difficult circumstances to look after the most vulnerable in the community.

Support for Public Services

In the past week the Government has provided £14 billion from the Coronavirus emergency response fund for public services, including the NHS and local authorities involved in the fight against Coronavirus. This support builds on the initial £5 billion announced at the Budget. 

It includes:

• £6.6 billion to support our health services

• £1.6 billion for local authorities

• £0.9 billion to cover extra measures such as home delivery of food and medicines to the most vulnerable people

• £3.5 billion to ensure vital rail services continue to operate for those who rely upon them for essential journeys

• £2 billion for the devolved administrations