TCF responds to the publication of the Adult Social Care COVID-19 Winter Plan 2020

Kevin Peltonen-Messenger, Director of Operations

Late on Friday night the Government released its Social Care Winter plan 2020. TCF welcomes the ambitions covered by the Government and look forward to the detail that is to follow on a number of the ambitions

This winter period may present the greatest challenges yet to our social care services. There is much to welcome in this guidance, for example free supplies of PPE; but the questions not answered may leave many disappointed, be that around our unpaid carers, or those receiving care at home, there is much detail yet to come.

This guidance document will do little to reassure our social care workforce as no acknowledgement for the much needed service or support they have shown our communities is to be seen. Without these people being willing to place themselves at risk, many more people may have died and many, many more may have become isolated and/or unwell.

The limiting on care home visits and need to ‘supervise visitors at all times’ is something that will cause concern for providers, those in care and those with loved ones in care. It also raises further concerns about how the provision of Advocacy and access to individual rights are being impinged upon and we call on the government to reconsider the guidance, specifically with relation to the ‘area of intervention’.

The proportion of deaths across all adult social care services from suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 was higher amongst Black (49%) and Asian (42%) people when compared to White (41%) people. The difference is further increased when comparing the data across home care settings; Black, 54%, Asian, 49%, White 44% (CQC, June 2020).

Furthermore, 67% of adult social care workforce in our Capital is from minority ethnic groups whilst this figure drops to around 21% nationally, the potential for our workforce to become ill must be recognised and mitigated at all costs (The Health foundation, 2020). Given the clear challenges of delivering care remotely, there is nothing in the guidance that suggests how this challenge may be overcome with our current workforce and what me might do to support them.

Whilst there is guidance on the need to be fully cognisant of issues around inequality and deprivation, it would have perhaps been more important to spell out specific learning or actions we may take to support people from BME backgrounds in order to avoid a repeat of the events we saw earlier in the year.

The Care Forum is committed to listening, if you have further thoughts on the Social care Winter plan 2020, please do contact us through the below means.

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Notes to editors:

The Care Forum is an organisation built on enabling active citizenship within the health and care sector; be this through aligned organisations or individual memberships. We exist to challenge health inequality and work closely with communities through the delivery of equality based partnerships, engagement teams and strategically with Local Authorities and the NHS.

The Care forum represents the VCSE sector across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and delivers Health watch contracts in both Swindon and Bath and North East Somerset whilst working closely with our partners across this region. More information can be found at https://www.thecareforum.org/

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