Government Announces £600m Coronavirus Package For UK Care Homes
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the government will invest £600m into UK care homes.
Speaking at today's coronavirus briefing - joined by deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England - Mr Hancock detailed how the government intends to help care home residents.
This includes ramping up testing of residents and carers, as has already been done, which means that 64 percent of care homes have been protected from having any cases of coronavirus.
In the conference, Mr Hancock said: "Many of you watching this will have a loved one in a care home, as I do, and I know how worrying it's been."
Care homes will also be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home wherever possible. The new funding announced could be used to meet the additional costs of restricting staff to work in one care home and pay the wages of those self-isolating.
Other measures announced include local authorities now needing to conduct a daily review of care homes in their area to ensure they have the support they need with things like staffing and help with accessing PPE.
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It also announced that the NHS will ensure that each care home has a named clinical contact to provide better access to clinical advice through weekly check-ins to review their patients, and offer direct support for staff with use of equipment and medication.
A wellbeing package for social care staff will also be rolled out today (15 May) on the new CARE app. This includes two new helplines, led by the Samaritans and Hospice UK.
It's intended that this will give care staff support with their mental health and well-being and support to those who have experienced a traumatic death as part of their work or help with anxiety and stress.
The news comes after reports of carers and frontline workers are at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
As reported by BBC, health service adviser Prof Neil Greenberg has worked with the military on its staff's mental health, and he thinks that NHS staff should be given the same treatment as soldiers when they return from tours.
He thinks that they should have time off and a gradual return to work, adding: "If we muck it up then that's going to make the trauma they've already had much more difficult to deal with."
At the time of writing, a total of 33,998 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus - the country now has the second highest death toll in the world.
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