Wirral Council has been told it will receive a boost of almost £1 million to support additional staffing in the borough’s care homes.
The money, announced by the Department of Health and Social Care today is part of a national £120 million to support care homes and domiciliary care providers to recruit and retain staff.
Increased testing in care homes has put pressure on staff, while the impact of the new variant is being felt across the country, with staff absence rates rising sharply both in care homes and among home care staff, due to testing positive or having to self-isolate.
Wirral Council will be able to use the money to provide additional care staff where shortages arise; support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care and help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs.
The £120 million fund is in addition to the £149 million announced in December for rapid testing of staff testing and to enable visits from family and friends where possible. The funding will help care home providers with the costs incurred, including setting up safe testing areas, providing staff training and will contribute towards staff time spent administering and receiving tests.
Councillor Lesley Rennie (Conservative, Wallasey Ward) said: “Care home staff across Wallasey and Wirral are doing a fantastic job to ensure their residents are tested and vaccinated. This is, rightly, a priority group and the sooner their families are able to visit them, the better.”
Minister for Care Helen Whately added: “This additional funding gives a boost to the social care workforce during some of the most difficult days of this pandemic so far. Care workers have been doing the most amazing job throughout the pandemic. In challenging circumstances, they have been caring for some of the people most at risk from this virus with compassion and skill.
“We’re continuing to listen to care providers to make sure they have the help they need, from free PPE to extra testing, along with all the work to vaccinate care home residents, staff and the wider social care workforce.”
Increased staff testing remains a critical part reducing transmission. Care homes currently have access to three tests per week for their staff, with daily testing for seven days in the event of a positive case to protect staff and residents.