Sefton Council has written to the Borough’s Care Homes thanking owners, managers and their staff for their continued work supporting some of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter, from Sefton Council’s Executive Director for Adult Social Care and Health and the Chief officer of NHS South Sefton NHS Southport and Formby Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs) informs Care Homes that the partnership is exploring ways of continuing to support providers experiencing significant hardship, as a review of the financial support given to Homes to date is carried out.

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Recognising the vital role that they and their staff have been playing to support some of the most vulnerable people during this unprecedented time, the Council has provided Care Homes with £4.5 million of additional financial support.

“Additionally, practical support has included ensuring that none of the Borough’s Care Homes has run out of PPE and supplying them with free smart phones to have virtual appointments and to help keep their residents in contact with loved ones.  All homes have a daily call with the Council or CCG, at which managers and owners can highlight and seek support with problems they are facing.

“Although the weekly placement payments that Home have been receiving finished at the end of June, the Council remains committed to assessing how it can continue to support those providers experiencing significant hardship. Homes will also be receiving further payments from the Infection Control Fund in order to support pressures associated with staffing and PPE costs.

The decision to end the £50 per resident “placement payments” at this point is also so that the Council can review the impact of the COVID19 funding provided to date to the Sefton care homes sector and has also been based upon information contained in financial returns that Care Homes have submitted and the letter thanks Homes for their ‘transparency and openness on the use of public funds’.

Cllr Cummins added:
“We realise that like all areas of life in Sefton, the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have a considerable impact on Care Homes and we are reminding any providers facing significant financial pressure that if they contact us, we will respond directly.

“We are also planning a meeting with Care Home operators to discuss excess voids and a coordinated way of improving levels of bed utilisation.”

Joanne Rose, from Green Heys Care Home, said:
“We’ve had support from every department at Sefton Council, from social workers to commissioners. They have stayed in regular contact to see how we were getting on, without judgement and with recognition of what we were experiencing.  They were able give us names and numbers of people who could advise us, on staffing, for instance.

“Letters of support from the Director of Adult Social Care, addressed to the team, was especially appreciated by team members – giving recognition that it’s not just leaders and managers that were working hard, everyone was struggling and putting their heart and soul into helping people recover from COVID, or to die comfortably.

“Also, the weekly “Teams” meeting with commissioners and colleagues across Sefton have been very useful and encouraged some sharing of resources, helping us all to be stronger and more informed in our approaches to dealing with the virus.”