The COVID-19 Winter Plan: Headlines for the adult social care sector

As the pandemic crisis threatens to overwhelm the sector again the Government has released its Winter Plan to help prepare the country for a second wave.

Nythan Smith has reflected on this document and highlights the below headlines that will be useful for adult social care providers:

  • £546m additional funding for the Infection Control fund which will run until March 2021 and continue to support providers with funding to implement infection control measures.
  • Designation scheme to be developed with CQC for safe premises for people leaving hospital with covid-19 or awaiting a test result.
  • Provide free PPE to care homes and home care providers directly for those eligible and indirectly through local resilience forums until March 2021
  • Local authorities must create their own winter plans and confirm this has been done by 31 October.
  • Local authorities must make funding available to the sector as soon as possible through the Infection Control Fund and report on its utilisation.
  • Continuing Healthcare assessments to be resumed by local authorities at speed.
  • Providers should review and update their business continuity plans for autumn and winter and the resilience of the workforce should be a key component.
  • Providers to continue to regularly test all staff and care home residents.
  • Providers to develop a policy for limited visits based on dynamic risk assessments which take into account the risk profile of residents.
  • Providers should limit visitors to a single constant visitor with a maximum of two constant visitors per resident to limit risk.
  • Providers should isolate all residents discharged from hospital for 14 days irrespective of the Covid-19 test result unless isolation has occurred within another setting.
  • Providers should inform the local authority if the person from hospital has a confirmed Covid-19 test result.
  • Providers should inform the local authority if they do not consider that they can safely isolate the discharged person.
  • Any area listed by Public Health England’s surveillance report as an ‘area for intervention should immediately move to stop visiting to care homes except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life.
  • Acknowledgement of the importance or reducing the risk of Covid-19 getting into care homes, restatement of monies provided to NHS and policy on testing all discharges from hospital to care settings.
  • Providers should undertake a learning review after an outbreak with local authority support.
  • Providers should ensure all care staff have training on infection prevention and control, use of PPE and engage with online training regarding learning reviews- to continue to be monitored by CQC.
  • Providers should have in place and support a lead individual for infection control for Covid-19
  • Staff should continue not to be able to move between care providers to manage the spread and the Infection Control Fund will continue to help fund this and provide support to self-isolating staff.
  • CCGs and local authorities required to identify accommodation for residents in care homes if their care home does not have the capacity to accept the admission. Restatement of care home provider’s right to refuse admissions on those grounds.
  • CQC will increase its number of physical inspections focusing on safeguarding concerns and where a provider is rated inadequate overall.
  • CQC will continue to prioritise providers’ management of infection prevention control and will take action where improvements are required.

Please find the detailed winter plan for adult social care here.