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Council announces further financial support to social care sector

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Devon County Council has announced its next major investment to support the county’s social care sector, revealing a package of additional funding now totalling £8 million to support domiciliary care and residential care markets during the pandemic.

The latest round of funding applies to care homes that the council commissions from – care homes in which the council already funds residential placements. And it will be proportionate to the number of placements they commission in each of those care homes.

In the first phase, each of those homes will receive additional funding equivalent to 5 per cent of the commissioned placements in their homes.

All social care authorities have been instructed by Government to do what they can to help the NHS by ensuring timely discharge from hospitals, within 2 hours, back into the community, so that hospitals can focus their resources on those who are acutely unwell, including with coronavirus.

So a second phase of today’s announcement will see further funding equivalent to an additional 4 per cent to care homes that support the Government’s requirement for timely discharge of patients from hospital.

It follows a similarly significant decision by the council this month to invest additional funding to domiciliary care providers to help meet their additional costs, and to increase wages of their care workers – with it, the expectation that care workers will be paid for their travel time and any down time between visits.

Together, the two investment decisions represent a total additional funding package of £8 million to the domiciliary and residential care home markets, in a series of announcements by the council to support Devon’s social care sector during the pandemic and beyond.

It comes on top of the investment and commitment given by the council to care homes last month to cover the homes’ additional costs of Personal Protective Equipment and to pay for vacancies if they arise in the placements they commission.

And there is more. The Council is also promising today that it will escalate a review of wage structures for care homes and will make that a priority in next year’s (2021) funding consultation.

Aside from the multi million pound funding package, the council, and Devon CCG, is continuing its recruitment drive to boost the county’s care and health sector. Their Proud to Care campaign has in less than one month encouraged more than 1,300 members of the public to register to take up fast-track training to become Healthcare Assistants, ready to work alongside and in support of care workers in permanent posts within the community and in care homes.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult care and health, said:

“We are doing everything we can to support our care sector as we, with them and with our NHS colleagues, continue to ensure delivery of care to vulnerable residents across Devon.

“This is our third major investment decision that supports the care sector, within the context of coronavirus. Each decision builds on the last and reflects the priorities of the market.

“Each package of funding is different – it has to be, because each sector and our involvement within it is different. And it is also carefully targeted to support both local need and national strategy in our collective response to this pandemic.

“We are not being prescriptive about how the care homes use the additional funding. They know how best to make this funding work for them, except of course that it’s to meet their additional costs arising from coronavirus and for them to incentivise their hard-working and exceptional care workers.

“In addition to personal care going into people’s homes, and care delivered to people living in care homes, we are also looking at how we can support other sectors of social care, including supported living, Direct Payments and Personal Assistants. We will be saying more about this next funding package soon.”