Social care nationally, and in particular the care home sector, is now at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, and Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "We are incredibly proud of everyone who is working in adult social care in our city.
"They have shown incredible commitment and compassion through what is a terrible time for our country, and on behalf of the council I want to thank every one of them for their fantastic work.
"As a council, we are doing our very best to support local care providers as much as we can – and are committed to continuing to work together throughout this national emergency.
"We have committed to, and are, investing an additional £2m in the sector over the next three months initially, and will be reviewing what support is needed on a regular basis.
“We have offered a range of financial support to providers, and are getting essential personal protective equipment out to providers so they can keep their staff and service users safe. But this is just one small part of the support we are providing now, and will continue to provide throughout this national emergency."
The financial assistance package offered by the council includes increasing the amount paid to care homes and supported living schemes by 10% - on top of the annual increase agreed earlier this year – with home care providers being paid for commissioned, rather than delivered, hours.
The council is also paying providers for arranged home care visits which have been cancelled due to hospital stays and shortened the time it takes to pay providers to 7 days.
The council's Adult Social Care, Health and Safety and Public Health teams have been working closely together with health partners to support care providers around infection prevention, while the city also became one of the first areas in the country to roll out swabbing for coronavirus to residents and staff in care homes, irrespective of symptoms, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, help prevent outbreaks and protect staff and service users.
Councillor Leach added: "We are also doing all we can to ensure care homes, nursing homes, domiciliary care and other workers have the PPE they need.
“We have already provided over 45,000 masks, 55,000 pairs of gloves, more than 40,000 aprons and over 140 litres of hand sanitiser to providers that are having difficulty getting hold of this vital equipment because of the worldwide shortage.
"As well as this financial aid, we offer on call support for all providers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are sourcing agency staff to help providers who may have staff off or in self isolation.
“We know how difficult the situation is in many care homes across the country right now, and we will continue to do all we can to support all our local providers. Once again, I thank them and their staff for their incredible efforts to support our city’s most vulnerable people.
“The City of Wolverhampton Council is here to support all our providers, if you need us, get in touch and we will do what we can to help you.”
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe Be Kind.