As the coronavirus lockdown continues we’ve asked Iain MacBeath, Director of Adult Social Services at Hertfordshire County Council, for an update, particularly around social care provision and the Coronavirus Act (explained more in point 1 below). We also asked whether there will be any big changes that carers should be aware of. Iain told us:
1. The Government passed legislation in March to allow councils to ration care and do less care assessment work – only to be enacted if lots of social care staff became sick. Whilst many staff have been self-isolating over the last nine weeks, we have coped overall and Hertfordshire has not had to enact these laws or reduce people’s care packages. And we do not plan to change that.
2. Some people have however chosen to reduce their care package because family members are furloughed / not working and are available to care for them. People are also worried that having care workers in their homes may increase the risk of catching the virus. We are planning for when family members return to work and more care might be required again.
3. The council also had to close a number of day services and social clubs for older people to comply with social distancing rules. We are looking at when we can re-open them and are keeping in touch with people who used to them to make sure they are ok.
4. We have seen the number of referrals to adult social care, of safeguarding concerns and for people needing help to get home from hospital reduce by around a third. We believe there will be an increase in all of these areas when the lockdown is eased and people are more confident in meeting up again.
5. The council and local NHS is doing everything it can to support care homes including offering financial support, training in infection control, staff and mutual aid support, buying PPE and providing mental health and wellbeing support for all care staff.
6. Although people are worried, a lot of positive things have happened during the pandemic including thousands of people volunteering to help, using new technology to communicate and local businesses supporting health and care. We want to continue as much of that as we can when the pandemic is over.
You can see the original guidance from Hertfordshire County Council and Iain MacBeath when the Coronavirus Act was introduced and carers contacted us concerned about what it meant for the support they and others received at www.carersinherts.org.uk/news/item/392-responding-to-carers-concerns-regarding-the-coronavirus-act-and-social-care-provision
If you or the person you care for live in Hertfordshire and you have a query related to adult social care services please call 0300 123 4042 and for Children’s Services call 0300 123 4043.
There is also more information about Hertfordshire County Council’s services during the COVID-19 pandemic on their website via this link www.hertfordshire.gov.uk
For social care support and services on the Hertfordshire County Council website via this link - FAQs around social care provision.