To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with personal care budgets who are making direct payments are (a) receiving personal protective equipment (PPE) for the care workers they employ, (b) able to commission care workers who have been trained to use PPE and sanitation methods appropriate to the covid-19 outbreak and (c) being provided with support to replace care workers on their care team who are off sick or shielding.
The Department has published detailed guidance for those who hold a personal budget or personal health budget and take this as a direct payment, as well as clinical commissioning groups (CGGs), local authorities and those provide care and support. This is to ensure holders of direct payments are supported to continue receiving the care they need to keep safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Care workers and personal assistants have been specifically listed as eligible for the personal protective equipment (PPE) stock which has been distributed to Local Resilience Forums and through the emergency National Supply Disruption Response line. To help operationalise these, local authorities have been encouraged to contact all individuals using direct payments to offer advice and to ensure they know who to contact if they are unable to access recommended PPE.
Working with care sector representative bodies, Public Health England (PHE) published tailored guidance for care homes on 17 April, as well as a specialised training video demonstrating the donning and doffing of PPE in care home settings. Additional guidance on the use of PPE in domiciliary care was published on 27 April. We will keep under review what other forms of training and support may be required locally to ensure safety and respond to the needs of staff working in the sector.
The support available to direct payment holders to replace care workers who are off sick or shielding is detailed in the published guidance at the following link: