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6 November, 2020 Open access

Government’s coronavirus response needs increased focus on care provision in the home and support for family carers as we enter winter months

Directors of Adult Social Services call for discrete new winter funding, including £1.2 billion for family carer breaks

The almost exclusive focus of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response on the NHS needs to be expanded to also support care provision at home and family carers this winter, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has said.

In a statement on what it considers should be the government’s priorities for adult social care this winter, ADASS highlights that the pandemic has meant more people want to receive care and support in their own homes leading to increased demand for domiciliary care, increased use of direct payments to employ personal assistants, and greater responsibilities falling on family carers to provide an increasing proportion of care and support.

As a result, ADASS calls for additional 'discrete' funding of £480 million to enable provision of more home and community-based care and £1.2 billion to provide greater support to family carers.

Commenting on the call for more funding, ADASS President James Bullion said -

'To date, the response to the pandemic has centred almost exclusively on the NHS and to a lesser extent on care homes. As we enter the new lockdown, there must be a greater focus on the majority of people who receive care and support in their own homes, and the millions of unpaid family carers who provide the majority of care and support for their loved ones.
That is why we are calling on the government to provide £480 million to ensure that older people and working-age disabled adults continue to receive the care and support they need in their homes over the winter, and a further £1.2 billion to ensure that unpaid family carers get the breaks they need over the coming months, to enable them to continue providing vital, life-saving care and support.

This is not a nicety. It is a necessity. Without a stronger focus on care at home and greater support for family carers, those of us who have care and support needs will not receive that care, and our family carers will face an intolerable winter.

During the first wave of the pandemic, much was made of the need to protect the NHS. The reality is that we only protect the NHS by equally protecting social care, and we will only protect the NHS and social care by protecting family carers.'

For more information, see ADASS Statement: Why the Government must prioritise adult social care this winter.