Southend Council offers extra support to care providers

A letter from Southend Council has been sent to carers and care homes pledging financial support.

It is aimed at stopping carers from losing out financially as a result of them being unable to carry out their work in the same way they would have before the coronavirus pandemic.

The information was sent to providers last week – just days before the government’s Office of National Statistics released data showing care homes are becoming heavily impacted by the virus.

There are currently no confirmed care homes cases in Southend but it is estimated the true death toll from COVID-19 across the UK could be 10 per cent higher than NHS figures show because they exclude the deaths that have occurred in hospices, care homes and private homes.

Councillor Trevor Harp, who oversees health and adult social care, said: “These changes to our commercial arrangements will ensure home care services and care homes have secure cash flow over the coming months and will not be impacted financially by staff absence, so they can focus on supporting the needs of service users and residents in Southend.

“We will work collaboratively with care providers to identify issues and take action as required. We will also enable joint working between care providers, the voluntary sector, individuals and organisations to ensure our most vulnerable residents are safe and appropriately cared for.

“We also know providers are concerned about the current arrangements for testing and we are working with our local resilience forum to try and improve arrangements. This is a national issue that the government has recognised too, so we are hopeful of positive change.

“We are also working with our partners daily across Essex through the local resilience forum to manage the receipt and onward distribution of nationally and local sourced personal protective equipment to our social care system which includes care homes and other healthcare providers.”

Southend Council has said care providers will continue to be paid for the work they undertake even if they are unable to complete it in full, while residential homes will get more funding than was initially agreed.

It said any commissioned work will be paid for in full providing 75 per cent of the originally planned care hours have completed.

Residential care homes taking care of people 24 hours a day will also be given ten per cent extra on top of what had previously been agreed with the council.

These changes to care could mean carrying out welfare checks over the phone rather than in person or providers struggling to meet agreed hours due to staff absences.

The measures were brought in on March 23 and will continue for the next three months.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter