The Department of Health and Social Care has announced the offer of free PPE for frontline health and care staff has been extended until 31 March 2023.
Welcoming the news, Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson said:
"We welcome the decision from the Department of Health and Social Care to extend the offer of free PPE for adult social providers into 2023.
From the outset of the pandemic, we have campaigned for central government support for providers with the additional costs of COVID-19, including PPE. Our response to the consultation on the future of the free PPE portal stressed the financial pressures facing providers and concerns about the funding settlement for social care being inadequate to cover these and other operating costs.
This extension is a welcome relief for homecare providers, who already face some of the most serious challenges the sector has ever faced. Workforce shortages are the worst in living memory and are being exacerbated by staff absence due to the Omicron variant, delays in PCR test turnaround times, difficulties in obtaining lateral flow tests and the impending requirement for vaccination as a condition of deployment, which could result in loss of 20% of the homecare workforce.
We thank the government for providing funding for PPE and for short-term emergency grants to support retention and recruitment. We continue, however, to call on the government for sufficient long-term investment to build workforce capacity and ensure the homecare sector is financially stable, so we can enable people to live well at home and flourish in their communities."