Care Bodies urge Government to reconsider decision to withdraw Infection Control Fund

The Care Worker’s Charity (“CWC”), The Care Providers Alliance (“CPA”) and The Relatives and Residents Association (“R&RA”) have all combined in their efforts to write to Sajid Javid the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This letter has implored Sajid Javid to review the Government’s decision to withdraw funding for the Infection Control and Testing Fund (“The Fund”) which previously supported care workers with sick pay when facing crisis situations due to COVID-19.

Why is The Fund so important?

The Fund, which came to an end on Monday 4 April, previously allowed health and social care workers to receive full pay whilst they adhered to Government COVID-19 guidelines and isolated. The CWC said the demand for hardship grants was greater than it could support, demonstrated by the fact that in the first four weeks of this year  the charity paid over £113,000 in COVID grants to 206 care workers. Throughout 2020 and 2021 the charity paid £2,585,519 to 3,985 health and social care workers, and was vital in helping encourage infection prevention and control. However, now health and social care workers, in accordance with Government guidance, face the prospect of having to self-isolate for up to 14 days without guaranteed sick pay, with the removal of The Fund. In an open letter to Mr Javid, the bodies collectively expressed disappointment, saying it meant an,

“Impossible choice for care workers who are being forced to choose between their wellbeing and that of their families, and those that they provide care and support to.”

What has been said about The Fund?

The care bodies have called on the Government to reconsider the removal of The Fund conditional on the guidance remaining in place which still requires workers to isolate. This way, health and social care workers can receive full pay and it will enable providers to continue to implement adequate sick pay. However, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

“The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who determine their pay, terms and conditions of employment. All care providers should support good health and safety practice, including encouraging staff staying away from the workplace when there would be a health risk to those in their care, as they would have done before the pandemic.”

This is further evidence of the Government continuing to proceed with the “Living with Covid” plan.

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