Adult Social Care COVID Winter Action Plan 2021/2022

Earlier this month, the government released the Adult Social Care COVID-19 Winter Action Plan 2021/2022 with the aim to ensure that high-quality, safe and timely care is provided to everyone who needs it, whilst protecting people who need care, their carers, and the social care workforce from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Building on last year’s winter action plan, this year it sets out the key elements of national support available for the social care sector during 2021/2022.

The Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce undertook an independent review of the implantation of last year’s winter action plan and the review found that:

  • While COVID-19 accounted for around 40% of all deaths of care home residents between April and June 2020 in the first wave of the pandemic, it accounted for only 26% of all care home resident deaths between September 2020 and February 2021 in the second wave. This compares with a global average of 41% between March 2020 and January 2021.
  • Whilst cause and effect is difficult to unpick, the evidence strongly suggests that the actions taken since the beginning of the pandemic, including those outlined in the winter plan last year, have had a significant impact on reducing risk.
  • 92% of the commitments made in last year’s winter action plan were implemented in full.
  • The Taskforce made 33 recommendations off the back of their review for the Department of Health and Social Care to action in preparation for this coming winter.

Summary of key strands from this year’s winter action plan:

  • Free PPE will continue to be provided for COVID-19 needs to the adult social care sector until the end of March 2022.
  • Regular COVID-19 testing will be maintained throughout winter for all staff and unpaid carers in adult social care as well as more intense testing regimes in settings deemed higher risk. A further £126.3 million will be provided by the government to continue to support the sector to deliver COVID-19 testing from October 2021 to the end of March 2022.
  • Protection against COVID-19 will be boosted. Since 16th September the government began rolling out booster vaccines to all frontline care staff who had their second dose more than 6 months ago.
  • Good infection prevention and control practice will continue to be essential in all settings.
  • Pressure on the NHS this winter is likely to be significant, so it’s more important than ever for the adult social care sector to continue their fantastic collaboration and support for their local NHS partners. The Better Care Fund is the national policy driving forward the integration of health and social care in England.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an unprecedented shift towards digitally enabled health and care services. NHSX, a joint unit of DHSC and NHS England, will provide a package of support over the winter to help care providers make the best use of digital tools, safely and securely.
  • As part of the enhanced discharge funding, £478 million has been made available by the government to continue to support hospital discharge programmes through the winter until March 2022.
  • £162.5 million will be provided through the workforce recruitment and retention fund to support local authorities and providers to recruit and retain sufficient staff over winter, and support growth in workforce capacity of the existing workforce, until 31 March 2022.
  • Funding for Social Care has extended to ensure it continues to provide support through the winter to March 2022, therefore another £388.3 million of funding is being made available to support providers.

To read the full Winter Action Plan 2021/2022, click here!

If you would like to discuss the above, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, email or call us on 03305 552233.

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