Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5346):
Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to publish their response to the letters sent by the National Care Forum on (1) 26 March, and (2) 10 April which (a) stated that care homes were “being pressured into taking hospital discharge patients who had not been tested for the virus, even though they were exhibiting symptoms”, and (b) called for discharged patients to be tested or risk litigation over the “avoidable deaths” of residents who subsequently became infected. (HL5346)
Tabled on: 08 June 2020
The Department does not have record of the correspondence from the National Care Forum.
Date and time of answer: 22 Jun 2020 at 11:42.
Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4896):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much in total of the Infection Control Fund has been used by care homes to provide personal protective equipment for staff; what steps have been taken to ensure expeditious testing for care home staff and residents before 6 June; how many such staff and residents are yet to be tested; and why. (HL4896)
Tabled on: 02 June 2020
We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.
On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience. As part of the grant conditions, local authorities have been asked to report later this month on the measures taken, such as steps taken to isolate residents within care homes and support staff who are self-isolating.
Date and time of answer: 22 Jun 2020 at 11:41
Dear Lord Alton,
Thank you for your email in which you raised concerns about the management of COVID-19 in care homes. You also called for an independent review into the management of pandemics in care homes and the appropriate protocols which should be implemented when they occur.
You will receive individual responses via the usual route to the Parliamentary Questions you have tabled. Here I will address your concerns about the support we are providing to the sector in terms of infection control and data on deaths in care homes.
The government’s number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the face of an unprecedented global pandemic, since the start of this outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care. This has included guidance on: maintaining the delivery of care; keeping care workers and residents safe; use and distribution of PPE; shielding extremely vulnerable people; supporting adults with learning difficulties and autistic adults; and providing unpaid care.
In February, the first guidance for the sector was published; in March, we announced £1.6 billion funding for local government and £1.3 billion to go to the NHS and Social Care for discharge support; in April we announced a further £1.6 billion for Local Government and our detailed Adult Social Care Action Plan; and in May we announced an additional £600m to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.
The Care Home Support package published on 15 May, and the £600m Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund, represent the next phase of our response for care homes, using the latest domestic and international evidence brought together by Public Health England, and drawing on the insights of care providers. The package has set out the steps that must now be taken to keep people in care homes safe, and the support that will be brought together across national and local government to help care providers put this into practice. As part of the support package we have made sure every care home has a named NHS clinical lead and have asked local authorities to conduct daily reviews of the situation on the ground, so that every care home gets the support it needs.
All of this amounts to an unprecedented level of support and oversight for the
social care system.
As you have recognised, a coherent and accurate system of reporting deaths from COVID-19 in care homes is vital to understanding and limiting the spread of the epidemic. CQC are publishing
data on notified deaths in care homes, both from COVID-19 specifically and all-cause mortality. These are published weekly on a Tuesday morning.
Providers have always been able to report cause of death to CQC via death notifications, but CQC amended its data collection form to make it easier to record and collate this data and communicated with providers to make it clear that they should be notifying CQC of both COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19 deaths. This improved data collection began on 10 April.
In terms of protocols for the sector, we continue to update and publish guidance,
keeping advice under review in line with the latest scientific advice.
Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4895):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they took in response to the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies following its meeting on 10 March to ensure that “special policy consideration be given to care homes and various types of retirement communities” and that a specific action plan for social care was in place by mid-April.; to what timescale they implemented their response; and what assessment they have made of the length of time taken to respond to that recommendation. (HL4895)
Tabled on: 02 June 2020
Since the start of this outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care based on the latest domestic and international evidence, including that brought together by Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, and drawing on the insights of care providers
In February, the first guidance for the sector was published. In March we announced £1.6 billion funding for local government and £1.3 billion to go to the National Health Service and social care for discharge support. In April we announced a further £1.6 billion for local government and published our detailed Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April. In May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund and our care home support package,
Alongside the care home support package, we have also published detailed guidance for home care providers to support them to deliver care safely and effectively during the pandemic. This will be relevant to retirement community settings where care is provided.
Date and time of answer: 15 Jun 2020 at 13:36.