A package of new procedures has been announced to help support and protect the social care sector against Covid-19.
There will be extra support in the vaccine booster programme to protect vulnerable people within care and safeguard social care staff.
Testing of staff will also be increased from two lateral flow tests per week to three as well as a weekly PCR test.
Three hundred million pounds will be invested to help recruit and enhance the workforce as well as rewarding current staff.
“Our priority throughout the pandemic has been the safety of those who are the most vulnerable"
Gillian Keegan- Minster of Care
The additional £300 million is in addition to the £162.5 million that was announced back in October to support recruitment and retention. The new money will be used to provide pay bonuses and speed up the plans to increase pay for care staff.
It is hoped that this will reduce pressure on the NHS and help to alleviate bed demand by ensuring people are cared for in the correct place.
Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect the adult social care sector, and the emergence of the Omicron variant means this is more important than ever.
“This new funding will support our incredible workforce by recruiting new staff and rewarding those who have done so much during this pandemic.
“Boosting the booster rollout in social care and updating the visiting guidance will help keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe from the virus this winter.”
Vaccines still remain the NHS’ main defence against Covid-19 and efforts to ensure all over-18’s receive their booster jab have been increased amid the new Omicron variant.
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Care, said: “Vaccination remains our best line of defence and we are going further and faster to ensure social care staff and those receiving care, whether in a care home or their own home, are prioritised for boosters.
“Our priority throughout the pandemic has been the safety of those who are the most vulnerable however we need to balance this with the tremendous benefits that visiting provides.
“These changes are in line with the latest clinical advice and are designed to support our fantastic social care staff in the months ahead.”
Infection prevention and control measures as well as PPE will be given more guidance within care settings. The government have pledged to give extra guidance and announced an additional £388 million to aid this.