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Social Care winter statement 2023

Foreword by Helen Whately MP
“As so many of us know first-hand, the pressures facing adult social care year-round become even more acute during the winter period. I also know, from my conversations with stakeholders, that there are additional pressures being felt right across the country this year, which are making an already challenging season even harder to navigate.

These include ongoing obstacles to recruiting and retaining our excellent social care staff, concerns about keeping the heating on during the colder months or making sure individuals most at risk are protected from COVID-19 and flu.

The government is committed to making sure those providing and accessing care are prepared and supported to manage these demands. I am, therefore, pleased to announce the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) adult social care winter statement to support this shared endeavour.

The statement sets out the initiatives DHSC is putting in place to support the sector through winter 2022 to 2023, as well as a reminder of the principal actions local systems and providers can take to maximise sector resilience. It is aimed at care providers, local authorities, integrated care systems, carers and social care staff.”

National support

The government have made £500 million available to local authorities and integrated care boards (ICBs) to speed up safe discharge into social care as part of a series of measures in in the plan for patients. Funding can also be used to boost general adult social care workforce capacity, through staff recruitment and retention, where that will contribute to reducing delayed discharges.

Cost of living crisis

The government outlined plans to help cut energy bills for businesses, via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, on 21 September 2022. The support applies for 6 months from 1 October and provides a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices, and equivalent support for users of heating oil and alternative fuels, for all non-domestic customers. A review of the scheme will be published in January 2023, to inform decisions on continued support after March 2023.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme is delivering a discount of £400 by 6 monthly instalments from October 2022 to March 2023 to over 27 million households in Great Britain. Alternative Funding will provide equivalent support of £400 for the small percentage of households who are not reached through the main Energy Bills Support Scheme as they do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an electricity supplier. The Energy Bills Support Scheme, Alternative Funding and a comparable scheme for households in Northern Ireland will mean this discount reaches nearly all households in the UK.

Vaccination

This winter, the risk of COVID-19 and flu remains significant. COVID-19 autumn boosters are now available to the following:

• adult residents and staff in care homes
• frontline health and social care workers
• adults aged 50 and over
• persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group or who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
• carers aged 16 to 49

All adults aged 50 years and over, frontline health and social care workers and anyone aged 16 and over who receives Carer’s Allowance, or who is the main carer of someone at increased risk from flu, including unpaid carers, are also eligible for the free flu vaccine this season.

Good infection prevention and control (IPC) practice remains important throughout the winter period, where there is a greater risk of multiple viruses co-circulating. We continue to provide guidance to support this and have taken steps to enable providers to utilise their own expertise and experience to make risk-based judgements on appropriate IPC measures wherever possible.

For the full report, please click here