CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Councils like Camden are now stepping in to help care homes

22 May, 2020

Cllr Pat Callaghan

• THE outbreak of coronavirus cases which has affected care homes across the country has been harrowing and at the centre of this are our dedicated care staff who consistently put others before themselves.

They are all heroes.

Adult social care has been consistently underfunded by central government despite our nation’s ageing population.

This has provided the conditions for a perfect storm, with the government slow to provide personal protective equipment, PPE, slow on testing and slow to realise the risks our care homes faced from the coronavirus.

Now we are seeing attempts to pass the buck.

At Prime Minister’s Questions Sir Keir Starmer asked Boris Johnson why, in March 2020, Public Health England advised that our residents in care homes were “very unlikely” to become infected by coronavirus when in 2018, the government’s own pandemic planning exercise, Cygnus, reported on concerns about care homes and the importance of boosting capacity and resources to protect residents and staff.

Councils like Camden are now stepping in to support care homes where government has failed to step-up.

In Camden, supporting the most vulnerable has been our priority from the outset of this crisis.

We have distributed over 32,000 items of PPE to our care homes. We have supported our care providers with recruitment and training of new staff and offered them additional financial support to recruit agency staff to cover care worker sickness.

We contact each care home every day to understand what they are facing and what they need. We have worked with hospitals to provide a step-down discharge hub to ensure anyone leaving hospital doesn’t go directly back into a care home.

We need a new society that recognises key front-line workers, one that properly funds an integrated social care system.

We want to build a compassionate model of care which will tackle isolation; services designed by councils around residents’ needs.

Take the new Charlie Ratchford Court, which we are currently building and will be staffed by our own care workers, purpose-built flats in which residents who need care can live as independently as possible, in a community, while having social care support at hand when they need it.

We want to build a compassionate model of care which will tackle isolation for our most vulnerable and precious residents.

CLLR PAT CALLAGHAN
Cabinet Member for a Healthy and Caring Camden

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