Council calls for sustainable social care funding

Croydon council  leader Cllr Tony Newman has called on the government to sustainably fund the care sector as a report into the borough’s ongoing Covid-19 support for vulnerable residents was made public.

All councils are required to send ministers a letter and form outlining their ongoing care homes response during the pandemic.

A council statement says Croydon has London’s largest care market with 126 care homes, 63 of which support older residents, and the council estimates its final social care costs around its response to Covid-19 will dwarf the £2.2m it has been able to allocate to the local sector so far.

Cllr Newman said the sector needs more government support to manage the long-term impact of extra costs incurred during Covid-19 alongside its local NHS partners.

“This pandemic continues to devastate families across this borough, and this council’s top priority remains to do all we can with our NHS partners to protect the vulnerable both now and in future.

“Croydon’s joint response today to the government sets out the many things our excellent care providers and staff have done from very early on, and will continue to do, to support residents in London’s biggest care market.

“Although councils and the care sector were underfunded before Covid-19, this council has willingly spent millions of pounds extra on our pandemic response. But proper long-term care needs proper long-term funding, so now is the time for government to act so the whole sector is better funded.”

In the letter sent to care minister Helen Whately, the council and partners at Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, and Croydon Health Services NHS Trust set out the range of support for local care providers so far during Covid-19. The council and partners identified care homes as a priority early on and had met many government recommendations before national guidance was issued. The statement continues:.

This support for care homes to date has included:

• Providing over 110,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to 62 care homes and fulfilled 166 emergency requests
• Introducing a new outreach programme of Covid-19 infection control training for care homes in Croydon, which is now part of London-wide and national Covid-19 best practice.
• Offering a 24/7 telemedicine service in 75 care homes with remote clinical support and referrals
• Providing upfront support with Covid-19 related costs, including payments four weeks in advance and one-off sustainability funding
• Weekly seminars and daily monitoring around staffing, testing and infection control.

Future steps set out in the letter include a further £4.1m to be passported from government direct to social care providers in Croydon, further testing and PPE training in care homes, and arranging mutual aid in case of staffing needs as a result of track and trace testing. (Source: Croydon council press release)

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