Responding to the Government’s Social Care Action Plan, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Let this be the day we stop talking about health and social care as if they are two different worlds, as if the NHS and nursing homes have different values. We are in this together and, not before time, the government has stepped in to proclaim parity for all forms of care and all staff working tirelessly to defeat the virus and save lives. The virus does not discriminate and nor must we – all care is equal.
“PPE has been a real problem and is still a real problem in hospitals, but it is getting better in most places. In care homes and among community staff it has been incredibly difficult as homes struggle to access the supplies they need. Centralising is the right approach as is the setting up of a hotline.
“Parity for staff is again vital and overdue and it will have to be supported by consistent messaging and consistent action.
“There is of course a danger that testing asymptomatic patients for Covid as they leave hospitals for care homes creates false assurance as there will certainly be false negatives, but the more information homes have about the patients they are receiving must be right. The key is that they have the right environment, the right equipment and the level and skill of staffing required to manage these patients.
“The local resilience fora will be vital in making sure the right supplies get to the right places – this will still be a mammoth logistical task in the weeks and months ahead but this is a genuinely important step towards better protection and better care for our most vulnerable citizens and the amazing staff who look after them.”