Care Homes: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College, London, that (1) he was “shocked about how badly European – or countries around the world – have protected care home populations” from COVID-19, (2) “infections in care homes and hospitals spill back into the community”, and (3) “the level of transmission and number of cases will remain relatively flat between now and September, short of very big policy changes or behaviour changes in the community”.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Our number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The steps we have taken have been designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed.

Since the start of this pandemic we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care to respond to the pandemic. This includes updated guidance for care homes published on 19 June. This guidance provides advice to care homes on infection control procedures to limit the spread of the virus in care homes, protective measures for staff and minimising workforce transmission. A copy of Admission and Care of Residents in a Care Home during COVID-19 is attached.

Our help to care homes, which includes financial support, infection control training and supplies of personal protective equipment, has meant that nearly 60% of England’s care homes have had no outbreak at all.

As the Chief Medical Office has made clear, the rate of transmission and the number of cases of COVID-19 that we will see in the coming weeks and months will depend of how well we all follow social distancing guidance. The work of NHS Test and Trace and public health teams across the country will allow us to keep on top of any local outbreaks and keep the number of cases of COVID-19 low.

We are continuing to seek further evidence as domestic and international experience accrues and is published, and we are working tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to explore all measures possible to reduce transmission and save lives.

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