New measures and £112 million investment will support sector over winter.
A plan outlining steps to prepare and support Scotland’s social care sector through the winter has been published.
The Adult Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan, backed by an additional £112 million in funding, will support social care users in residential, community and home settings, and the people who provide that care, including unpaid carers.
This new plan and additional investment will provide further support to the sector to respond the demands of winter alongside the ongoing challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19). Earlier this year the sector received an additional £150 million to deal with the financial implications of the pandemic, bringing this year’s total extra allocation for social care to £262 million.
An evidence paper has been published with the plan outlining how the new measures have been informed by lessons learned about COVID-19 to date, including last week’s Public Health Scotland discharge report and the Care Inspectorate’s Care at Home inquiry. The plan also takes into account the findings of the root cause analysis of care home outbreaks commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary, which is also published today.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“The coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for everyone this winter, particularly those who are already vulnerable. One in 20 people in Scotland are recipients of adult social care and their needs are diverse. We have made this central to our approach, ensuring we support and protect people while prioritising their mental health and well-being.
“This is the first time we have published an adult social care plan. It has been produced with input from across all partners and I’m pleased to say that it has the support of our colleagues at COSLA. It sets out what support will be available for people who receive social care and those who provide that care this winter, as well as addressing the impacts COVID-19 has had on them and their families.
“The new measures we are putting in place have been informed by the lessons we have learned so far, and the evidence paper published today outlines why these measures are necessary for winter. We will continue to take firm action to protect those who receive or provide social care, and adapt our guidance based on the latest scientific evidence and clinical advice.”
Councillor Stuart Currie, COSLA’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson, said:
“The social care sector and Scotland’s social care workers have faced enormous challenges during the COVID-19 response, and the Adult Social Care Plan will enable them to continue to provide valuable help and support to those in the community that need it most.
“The pandemic has had a drastic impact on those that require support both at home and in residential settings, and the funding announced by the Scottish Government as part of the plan will go some way to addressing that.
“COSLA will continue to work with Scottish Government and partners across the sector to ensure that they receive the support they need to continue this vital work.”
Actions outlined in the plan include:
- enhanced infection prevention and control, with £7 million for Health Boards to invest in Nurse Director teams
- daily review of COVID-19 symptoms in care home residents and staff, including temperature checking so early testing can be undertaken and pre-emptive infection control measures put in place
- expanded testing access for the care at home workforce and designated visitors as capacity increases
- NHS National Services Scotland will continue to provide free of charge top-up and emergency provision of PPE to ensure staff, unpaid carers, and Social Care Personal Assistants have the PPE they need until at least the end of March 2021
- prioritise a ‘home first’ approach to care, supporting people to stay home or in a homely setting with maximum independence for as long as possible
- up to £500,000 will be available to all care homes to provide access to digital devices, connectivity and support to help manage conditions from home or connect those receiving care with their loved ones
- £50 million to support the additional costs of restricting staff movement across care settings
- £50 million for the Social Care Staff Support Fund and winter sustainability funding, through to the end of March 2021
- maintaining and promoting access to local NHS Board workforce wellbeing services, the health and social care wellbeing national hub PROMIS and the NHS 24 mental health support service to support care home staff, the third sector and unpaid carers
- up to £5 million for additional oversight and administration costs associated with responding to the pandemic and outbreak management
- publication of a website with information and advice for families on visiting.
An independent review of adult social care announced in the 2020-21 Programme for Government is currently underway. Chaired by Derek Feeley, it will report in January 2021 to recommend improvements to adult social care in Scotland, primarily in terms of the outcomes achieved by and with people who use services, their carers’ and families, and the experience of people who work in adult social care.