The United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock on May 15 announced that the government will invest £600 million in care homes to help its residents. While speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Hancock along with chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and the medical director of primary care for NHS England, Dr Nikki Kanani, detailed on how the government intends t help the care home residents. Hancock announced that the authorities will be ramping up testing of residents and carers.
Hancock said, “Many of you watching this will have a loved one in a care home, as I do, and I know how worrying it's been”.
Hancock informed that the care homes will be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home whenever possible. The new funding is also aimed to be used to meet the additional costs of restricting staff to work in one care home and pay the wages of those self-isolating. Furthermore, Hancock said that the local authorities are also asked to conduct a daily review of care homes in their area to ensure they have the support they need with things like staffing and help with accessing PPE.
The Health Secretary also announced that the NHS will be ensuring that each care home has a named clinical contact to provide better access to clinical advice through weekly check-ins to review their patients and offer direct support for staff with the use of equipment and medication. Hancock further informed that a wellbeing package for social care staff will be rolled out on the new CARE app to help the staff support with their mental health, well being and to support those who have experienced a traumatic death as part of their work.
Meanwhile, the UK currently has more than 236,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed nearly 33,998 lives in the country. Despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, UK PM Boris Johnson expressed optimism and said that the rate at which the virus is spreading among people was below one which is the outcome of the general public’s adherence to the social distancing measures. Earlier this week, Johnson also announced a ‘conditional plan’ to reopen the country after months of lockdown.