Local authorities in the South West have been awarded £12.1million in new government funding to boost staffing levels in the social care sector.
Staff absence rates in care homes and the home care sector have increased significantly across the country in the wake of the new Covid-19 variant, due to workers testing positive or having to self-isolate.
The funding announced this week – £120million nationally – will increase workforce capacity and provide better protection and support for staff and residents in care homes and those receiving help in their own homes.
£1.7million will be received here in Dorset.
The funding can:
- Provide additional care staff where shortages arise
- Support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care
- Help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs
Separately, a £149million grant scheme has been announced to support rapid testing of care home staff and facilitate visits from family and friends where possible.
The vital infection prevention and control guidance on staff movement in care homes is also being reinforced.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This funding will bolster staffing numbers in a controlled and safe way, while ensuring people continue to receive the highest quality of care.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken steps to protect care homes, including increasing the testing available for staff and residents, providing free PPE and investing billions of pounds of additional funding for infection control.
“Help is on the way with the offer of a vaccine, with over 40% of elderly care home residents having already received their first dose.”
Many local authorities across the country already have staffing initiatives in place to increase capacity and address staffing issues.
These include care worker staff banks where new recruits are paid during training, redeployment models where DBS-checked staff are trained and moved into operational roles and end-to-end training and recruitment services.
The £120million fund will ensure such initiatives can continue and help other local authorities implement similar schemes.