16th April 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Covid-19 Testing for Care Services

PRESS RELEASE: Covid-19 Testing for Care Services

National Care Association has welcomed yesterday's announcements by Matt Hancock MP Secretary of State for Health and Social care with optimism but an air of caution.

As the most established representative organisation for small to medium sized care providers we are acutely aware of the impact this pandemic is already having on an already fragile sector.

Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman said:

"We have lobbied hard for the past six weeks to get Covid-19 testing into our services to avoid unnecessary anxiety and stress for residents and staff, following announcements highlighting that our residents were in the highest risk category.

Care Providers have had to manage unprecedented situations in their services with little or no support in many cases, from national or local, government. Guidelines have been poorly communicated in many cases and have often added to the fear which already existed.

The primary aim of care providers has always been to protect the people we care for and those who support them, our amazing workforce. Sadly, the lack of testing and the issues of access to PPE has made it challenging and exhausting for care services as the virus began to emerge.

We now must be sure that the testing promised is readily and easily available for the residents and staff working in social care – there is no room for complacency or excuses.

Providers continue to struggle with sufficient access to PPE to meet the needs of care providers across the country and we have repeatedly called on Government to address this as a matter of urgency. Additionally, there is an urgency for the Ministers to explain why SME social care providers have to continue to pay VAT on essential supplies such as PPE whilst our colleagues in the NHS can claim this tax back. We must insist that Social Care is treated with parity."

Ms Ahmed went on to consider the funding issues which are impacting on the social care sector:

"The impact of this pandemic is far reaching and we are disappointed to have to point out that many Local Authorities across the country have done very little to support providers in their area. We are learning daily of Local Authorities who have not even communicated the annual fee uplift for providers let alone how they will be using the £1.6 billion announced by the Chancellor to support those caring for some of the most vulnerable citizens of society. If everyone else understand the challenges why can’t they?"