Millions of pounds are being pumped in to support adult social care providers in Devon this winter, to help ease the pressure on hospitals, and help them recruit and retain valuable care staff.
Following Devon County Council’s announcement this month of £3 million for domiciliary care staff, the Council today has announced a further £5.3 million to help support independent sector residential and nursing care workers.
The funding comes from the government, and NHS Devon has also contributed to the one-off funding package.
The additional investment is to support residential and nursing care, so that it can help take some of the pressure off NHS hospitals.
Care homes, and domiciliary care, play a significant role in helping people avoid needing to go into hospital, and in getting people safely out of hospital as soon as they are well enough.
The money comes none too soon for care home providers, who, like all sectors within adult social care, are facing the greatest pressures in recent times, with demand for care escalating considerably, and a significant shortfall in the care work force.
Lucy Bull, Director of Devon Care Homes Collaborative, and registered Manager of Castle Grove Nursing Home, said:
“Finally, some well-deserved recognition to the care workers who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic.
“Every single care assistant in the county has faced hardship this year, both emotionally and financially.
“It’s their unrelenting dedication to the job that has seen residents continue to enjoy quality of life during this most difficult of times.
“This winter payment is a small step to acknowledging the true value and worth of care staff across Devon, but it must not stop there as there’s much more that needs to be done.
“This needs to be seen as the stepping stone towards improving wages longer term, which in turn will lead to employing even more great carer workers who we will be able to keep for longer.“
Care home providers will be expected to ensure that their care staff benefit from the multi-million winter payment. It will be equivalent to about £500 per member of their care staff.
Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care and health, said:
“This is another very welcome injection of money from the government and comes at a time when our social care workforce is very hard-pressed.
“I want to see every care worker and those supporting them paid a fair wage that matches what their counterparts in the NHS get paid. This grant doesn’t solve that but it is an important measure to help to keep the people of Devon safe this winter.
“Care homes have been under huge pressure over the last 18 months and they have worked incredibly hard to keep free of outbreaks of COVID-19 or, where it has occurred in a home, to keep it as controlled as possible.
“The staff in the homes have worked tirelessly and I am pleased to be able to allocate this grant to recognise that loyal service and to encourage new people to come forward and join the team.
“Social care in all its forms is crucial to the well-being of our population and that has never been clearer than during this pandemic.
“I want to do all I can for everyone working in the sector and, whilst I am pleased to have been able to allocate grants to the domiciliary and care homes sector, we will continue to lobby for extra money for all those working in other social care services.
“We want to hear from anyone who is interested in working in adult social care. People from all backgrounds and experience are welcome and training and support will be provided. You can find out more at www.proudtocaredevon.org.uk. Everyone who contacts us will be offered an individual conversation to find the right job for you.”
Simon Tapley, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Care workers across Devon will be caring for people this Christmas day, just as they do every other day of the year. I am delighted that we are able to recognise their hard work and the essential role that they have played, throughout the pandemic, in supporting Devon’s health and care system.”