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Victoria House
is registered, and therefore licensed to provide
services, by the
Care Quality Commission
(Provider ID:1-101641817). For more information, visit

Victoria House

Low Grange Crescent
Belle Isle, Leeds,
Yorkshire, LS10 3EB

T: 0113 270 8529
F: 0113 276 5090
E: Click to email

covid-19 updates

Latest News and Covid-19 Updates

See our COVID-19 Certificate | June 2020.
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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Care Home Visiting (March 2021) Policy


This policy revises the arrangements for visiting this care home from 8 March 2021, as a result of Government guidance linked to its roadmap for moving out of the whole country being in “lockdown”.


The care home uses the same definition of “visitor” as in its main policy, ie someone who does not live or normally work on the premises as a paid staff member or accredited volunteer and who comes to the home for a short period of time to see residents or staff.

For the purposes of this policy visitors include people who:

  • visit residents on a personal or social basis regularly or occasionally, eg relatives, friends and others who come to see an individual resident
  • provide professional services to residents such as GPs, community nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, ministers of religion, social workers, advocates, hairdressers, opticians, etc
  • deliver, provide or supply goods and services that have been bought or commissioned by the home, staff or residents, including repairs and maintenance
  • come to the home to see staff members for any reason
  • visit the home on a professional or business basis, eg external managers, inspectors and other personnel from the employing organisation or similar who may not be coming specifically to see individual residents, but who may have some contact with them depending on the nature and purpose of their visit. This policy applies mainly to relatives and friends of residents and others who might need to have direct contact with residents. With other visitors, the home will continue to apply all required infection control measures, including health and safety risk assessments, the appropriate use of PPE and regular testing. In these ways the home is committed to minimising and mitigating the risks of infection into, through and from the home.

Policy Statement

The home’s visiting policy will always be adapted to the changing conditions concerning the spread of Covid-19 and the associated Government policies and guidance. The current policy reflects Government guidance that takes effect from 8 March 2021.

The home understands that any longer-term continuation of these arrangements will depend on how well the pandemic is being brought under control and the success of the vaccination programme. The home understands that there could be a further easing of visiting restrictions from 12 April 2021. The home will also look to open up to outside visits using our Convervatory area once the weather is warm enough to permit this. More information to following using our normal newsletter when that time has come.

The home welcomes the Government’s current position, which recognises that “visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and lifelong relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care”.

The care home recognises that visiting must be made safe to all concerned and continues to apply its infection control measures fully in line with this latest Government and public health guidance.

It acknowledges that, despite the vaccination roll out, care home residents are still amongst the most at risk by virtue of their age and frailty to being seriously and possibly fatally ill if they fall ill with Covid-19; especially as the effectiveness of the vaccination programme in preventing transmission of the virus with new variants appearing and in preventing reinfection is still unknown.

The home is committed to making its visiting policy available and well communicated to its residents and families, so that they understand fully the reasons for any restrictions and arrangements and changes that might need to be made in line with local and national developments regarding Covid-19.

Approaches Taken During Restrictions

The care home recognises that the guidance on visiting has been issued in stages in line with the severity of the threat caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. The continuing thread is that there still cannot be any regular open visiting for care home residents as stated in its usual Visiting and Visitors’ Policy, which is in abeyance until the current national restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 are lifted.

During this period the home has arranged for suitable alternative means of relatives and others who would normally be visiting for keeping in contact with residents and the home through, Visitor POD, telephone, messaging, social media, Facetime, Skype and Zoom. These methods are well established and will continue as options even after the lifting of the current visiting restrictions.

The home has followed the Care Provider Alliance Visitors Protocol (revised February 2021) and the recommendations of such organisations as the Residents’ and Relatives’ Association, which have continued to stress the vital importance of sustained contact with families and friends to care home residents’ health and wellbeing.

The updated Care Provider Alliance Visitors Protocol has recommended that care homes should consider and apply, where appropriate, any of are the following.

  • Indoor visits (one regular visitor): From 8 March 2021, residents will be allowed in line with the latest Government guidance a single named visitor indoors, who will be allowed where safe to have some limited physical contact such as holding hands, (otherwise physical contact should be kept to a minimum). Visits can be repeated regularly under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe. These arrangements will require Lateral Flow Testing before entry and the visitors should wear appropriate PPE during their visit.
  • Visitor POD visits: These require safe perspex to residents and their visitors with relevant physical distancing and PPE measures in place.
  • Garden visits: These involve providing independent access to the garden to avoid visitors moving through the care setting to the garden. Providers should consider how to facilitate garden visits in different weather conditions, how to ensure cleaning of areas and any items used between visits and keep everyone safe, whatever the weather. These will begin when the weather is warmer.
  • In-room visits: These visits can take place in line with national guidance in relation to end-of-life visits to ensure the person can die with dignity and comfort, taking into account their physical, emotional, social and spiritual support needs. The range of visits made available will be negotiated between the care providers, their residents, their staff and their visitors. It may be possible for residents and visitors to have visits in a variety of these forms, as circumstance allow.

The care home has and will continue to consider all these ideas to its situation and adopt any that are suitable, practical and are responsive to individual needs and circumstances.

The home has also considered the practicality of suggestions put forward for safe visiting to take place in cold weather conditions, which can also be adapted for warmer weather. These have included the use of “pods” or “lodges” situated in the grounds or in a separate area of the home, use of floor to ceiling screens, awnings, gazebos and open sided marquees.

With any set of arrangements, the home will continue to have in place or be ready to put in place all essential safety measures to:

  • keep physical distances between people of at least two metres (except with visiting arrangements supported by negative test results)
  • ensure high quality infection prevention and control practices before, during and after each visit
  • have separate single entry and exits for visitors with one-way systems and minimum contact with other than those involved in the individual visit
  • ensure good ventilation in every visiting area
  • supervise the arrangements to ensure all safety precautions are being followed
  • use speakers or assisted hearing devices to reduce the amount and spread of droplets when having to talk loudly, (an issue that will also be factored into individual risk assessments).

Revised Policy (March 2021)

The care home continues to adopt the current Government guidance (updated 8 March 2021) by following these principles.

  • The care home welcomes the recognition that visits should be supported and enabled wherever it is safe to do so.
  • The home accepts that it is responsible for setting its own visiting policy and arrangements in line with national and local public health guidance.
  • It will do so based on a dynamic risk assessment taking into consideration the needs of individuals within their home and with regard to the advice of the local Director of Public Health (DPH) through their outbreak management team or group.
  • It will: • continue its policy of “outdoor” visits adapted to the situation as indicated by the risk assessments, including those made using temporary facilities such as pods and gazebos, window visits and drive-throughs and its use of technology to facilitate contact between residents and their families and friends
  • introduce “indoor” visits by named visitors to pre-appointed areas that can be supported by prior LFT testing and/or visitors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 (recommended in the Government guidance).
  • continue with its current approach of taking a flexible approach to visiting required compassionate grounds where a resident is receiving end-of-life care.
  • The home will ensure that all visits are conducted in a risk-managed way that considers the needs of our service users and the practicalities arising from the physical features and layout of the home.
  • It will continue to assess the rights and needs of individual residents, particularly those with specific vulnerabilities as outlined in their care plans and will consider the importance of visits in promoting their health and wellbeing.
  • Residents will be fully involved in the appointment of their “named visitor” and the arrangements for their visits.
  • It will continue to make appropriate best interest decisions with the help of all involved in their care in respect of residents who lack mental capacity and who might be subject to deprivation of liberty authorisations and involving them as fully as possible.
  • It will follow all Government and local public health guidance in respect of the arrangements needed to ensure safe visiting of residents whenever this takes place.
  • It will always ensure safety is never compromised and will adopt Government and local public health advice on any form of visiting.


The care home recognises that its current visiting policy and arrangements will be very much subject to local circumstances and will have to be adjusted to meet any changes in these. These changes include:

  • the circumstances of the care home in terms of, for example, its location, resident needs, current staffing situation and its experiences with the Covid-19 outbreak
  • the local circumstances of the Covid-19 epidemic, including past and current incidence and transmission risks, and the prevalence of any SARS CoV-2 variants. Any arrangements made by the home will apply only when safe to do so, with the approval of the local Public Health authority and on the basis its “dynamic risk assessment”.

Its decisions will continue to be based on balancing the benefits to its residents (and reducing harm because of lack of visits) against the risks of increasing Covid-19 infections and their consequences to a vulnerable group of people.

The home recognises that decisions to allow visiting and under what circumstances will be made in line with local intelligence from testing on the community and of residents and staff, transmission risks in the local community, including from SARS CoV-2 variants, and other information provided by the home, for example, through its Capacity Tracker updating.

When setting up any new visiting arrangements such as a dedicated indoor area, it will ensure that it which can be accessed and used safely without risk to and from the other parts of the home. Any such arrangement will follow all public health guidance on:

  • the numbers of visitors that can be allowed at any one time or over a period of time
  • the number of visitors allowed at any one time (this is currently 1 person only).
  • how the home should support visitors to reduce the risks of their transmitting any infectivity to the care home and of being infected from their visits to the care home, including prior testing, the wearing of face coverings, hand hygiene, etc
  • the infection control measures required for the use of the visiting area, including the wearing of face-coverings and for access and exit
  • the infection control measures to be taken by staff during visiting, including appropriate use of PPE.

Visiting Procedures, including Testing The home will implement the following procedures:

  • allow only 1 visitor at any time that are in line with Government and local public health guidance and will ensure they are tested on each visit
  • ensure visitors are wearing the appropriate PPE and following standard infection control measures such as hand hygiene
  • have a designated entrance to our Visitor POD for people to put on the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the testing procedures
  • have a designated area for the testing to be carried out, which is away from the main visiting area, which can also be used while the tests are being processed
  • ensure the designated area is well ventilated and complies with fire safety and other health and safety regulations and is robust enough to withstand repeated cleaning with chlorine-based agents
  • ensure all physical distancing, face covering and hand hygiene requirements are followed prior to the testing results being available with hand sanitisers being readily available
  • ensure all prospective visitors are made well aware of the requirement to be tested, the timescales involved, the need for their consent, what testing involves and the potential benefits to the visiting experience
  • advise them of what would happen if they tested positive ie the visit would not go ahead, they would need a confirmatory PCR test, which the care home would carry out. If that was also positive they would need to follow Government guidance on self-isolating with other members of their households and the information fed into NHS test and trace
  • have a designated visiting area that does not increase any risk to anyone else in the home and to which all safety measures can be applied.

Testing Arrangements for Essential Care Givers

The home will follow all Government guidance in relation to visitors defined as “essential care givers” as follows.

Visitors who might be engaged in personal care and support as designated “essential care-givers” will:

  • take a rapid lateral flow test before every visit except in the circumstances below. This must include a minimum of two tests a week: one rapid lateral flow test on the same day as the PCR test, and one rapid lateral flow test three to four days later
  • if the visitor is visiting less than twice a week, they will need to make arrangements with the care home to carry out the twice weekly testing. These rapid lateral flow tests must be done on site and visitors cannot self-test at home
  • take a weekly PCR test and share the result with the home. Care homes should use their existing PCR stocks to test these visitors and these should be registered as “staff” tests using the care home unique organisation number (UON) and be returned via courier with other staff tests
  • be subject to additional testing in line with care home staff should the care home be engaged in rapid response daily testing or outbreak testing
  • visitors who have recently tested positive for Covid-19 should not be retested within 90 days unless they develop new symptoms. This means that some visitors will not need to be tested regularly because they will still fall into this 90-day window. These visitors should use the result of their positive PCR result to show that they are currently exempt from testing until the 90-day period is over
  • once the 90-day period is over, visitors should then continue to be tested. They should still continue to follow all other relevant IPC measures throughout these 90 days, including maintaining good hand hygiene and wearing PPE.

Face Coverings and Physical Distancing

The home will follow current Government guidance about the use of face coverings to reduce risks when people meet in enclosed public spaces and will recommend that, subject to other risk factors, residents and visitors wear face coverings and continue to maintain physical distance.

The home in consultation with its public health partners will always exercise discretion in instances where on the one hand residents are frightened or affected adversely by having to or seeing their visitors in face coverings and on the other hand, visitors have reasonable grounds for not wearing them, which can be discussed at pre-visiting planning.

Where it has been agreed that face coverings should not be worn, but the visit is not supported by testing, all parties will be reminded of the importance of maintaining physical distancing and hand hygiene procedures, (which apply to everyone at all times).

Visiting Schedules

Under the present circumstances the home recognises that all visits will have to be pre-booked and with limited availability some order of priority might need to be established.

It will base its priorities on the following.

  • The importance to the wellbeing of the individual to have a resumption or continuation of visits and their expressed wishes.
  • The degree of harm that might occur without any visits.
  • The risk factors that are involved including the vulnerability to infection for the person concerned.
  • The degree of compassion that is involved, eg if the person is receiving end of life care or is likely to be receiving it in the near future.
  • The importance of visiting to the person in the context of their overall care plans.
  • The effectiveness of the current contact or visiting arrangements in place.
  • The willingness of prospective visitors to go through the new testing procedures if and when adopted by the home.

The home will ensure that the visiting arrangements will be planned, including times, frequency, and duration, and agreed in consultation with residents and their families and with professionals involved in a person’s welfare.

Communicating with Residents, Families and Visitors

The home will follow Government guidance in respect of enabling visits to be conducted safety and successfully, including supporting visitors on how to prepare for a visit, including where testing is being used, and how to communicate if face coverings are required, for example:

  • speaking clearly from a safe physical distance
  • keeping eye contact
  • not wearing hats or anything else that might conceal their face further
  • wearing clothing or their hair in a way that a resident is more likely to recognise
  • providing reassurance to visitors, including that some people with dementia might struggle at first to remember or recognise them
  • care home staff preparing the resident for a visit, perhaps by looking at photographs of the person who is due to visit and talking to them about their relationship.

The home accepts that the arrangements for each set of visits will vary and need to be highly individualised.

Mental Capacity

In making these arrangements the care home will observe the rights of residents who may lack the relevant mental capacity needed to make particular decisions about their needs for visits and visiting plans. It will make all such arrangements in line with individual needs by following best interests decision — making as set out in the mental capacity laws, and where appropriate in consultation with their advocates or those with power of attorney.

However, it also recognises that people with dementia or without mental capacity for other reasons might also be the ones who will benefit most by the new visiting supported by testing approach from the closer contact that will be possible, and their needs given high priority.

Essential Purpose Visiting

The home considers that it is still important to maintain its essential visiting policy on in-home visits but with a flexible approach in line with Government guidance on visiting on compassionate grounds. If you must visit outside of the regular visiting arrangements for an essential purpose such as being with someone who is receiving end of life care we still ask you to check with the home beforehand to discuss the essential nature of the visit, its advisability and the safety issues in respect of residents and staff that should be addressed.

The home will encourage all visitors to take advantage of local SARS CoV-2 testing facilities to provide reassurance that they are safe to visit, and the rapid testing arrangements that are being introduced.

Visitors’ Risk Assessments

When visiting our care home as an agreed “essential or named visitor” we will still ask you to:

  • check with us before visiting that everything is in order and that you do not have any symptoms for Covid-19
  • check if you might have had any contact with anyone who might have been in contact with an infected person or someone carrying the virus and take a decision about visiting based on your assessment of any risks
  • sign a short disclaimer to this effect
  • be extra careful about being in physical contact with the person you are visiting and other people whom you might meet by:
    - avoiding close contact with people, particularly if they are unwell
    - avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    - keeping to designated areas of the building which we will inform you about
  • carry out stringent hand hygiene practice by always washing your hands carefully before and after any contacts made — using the soap and hand sanitiser gels and paper towels provided
  • help staff to carry out the procedures that have been put in place to keep everyone safe from the virus and its spread
  • report and discuss with us any concerns you have about the health of the person whose welfare is your concern.

We are confident that with these precautions in place we will be able to keep our residents safe.

The home will update this visiting policy in the light of further developments, particularly if there are further cases of Covid-19 in the home or evidence of increased risk from community transmission that has been identified by local Public Health.

Staff Involvement and Training All staff are made aware of the policy and of the changes made over time. They are also consulted in respect of individual risk assessments, decisions and arrangements, the new rapid testing approach and local test and trace programmes.

Registered Manager: Edd Lavelle

Date: 10th March 2021

Staying at home and away from others (Social Distancing).
Published 23rd March 2020.

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures.
Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
Closing certain businesses and venues.
Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23 March. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
The government will look again at these measures after three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

1. Staying at home

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape the risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

These reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.
The Government has also identified a number of critical workers whose children can still go to school or their childcare provider. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided you cannot work from home.

Critical workers and parents of vulnerable children may leave the house to take children to and from school or their childcare provider.

Other critical public services – such as social services, support for victims, support provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, or the justice system – should be provided and accessed remotely whenever possible, but you can leave the house to access them when physical attendance is absolutely necessary. House moves should be delayed unless moving is unavoidable.

2. Closing certain businesses and venues.

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. More detailed information and exemptions can be found here, including the full list of those businesses and other venues that must close, but they include:

  • pubs, cinemas and theatres
  • all retail with notable exceptions – these closures include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for
  • commercial/leisure use, excluding permanent residents, key workers and those providing emergency accommodation, for example for the homeless.
  • Other businesses can remain open and their employees can travel to work, provided they cannot work from home.

3. Stopping public gatherings.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only exceptions to this rule for very limited purposes:

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should try to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This excludes funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

4. Going to work.

As set out in the section on staying at home, you can travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing certain businesses and venues, the government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to, from and for their work – for instance, if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
As set out in the section on closing certain businesses and venues, the Government has published guidance on which organisations are covered by this requirement. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at
At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.

5. Delivering these new measures.

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The government is, therefore, ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them where people do not comply.

If you leave your home or gather in public for any reason other than those specified, the police may:

Instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse.

Instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
take you home – or arrest you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary.

The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures and we expect the public to act responsibly, staying at home in order to save lives.

However, if the police believe that you have broken these rules – or if you refuse to follow their instructions – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days). If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £120 and double on each further repeat offence.

The government will keep this under review and will increase the penalties if it becomes clear that this is necessary to ensure compliance.

Similarly, a business or venue operating in contravention with these measures will be committing an offence. Local authorities (for example, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers) will monitor compliance, with support from the police if appropriate. Businesses and venues that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices and fixed penalty notices. Businesses that continue to contravene the measures will be forced to close down.

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay, you may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

The measures set out in this guidance will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Age UK is calling for the future of social care to be put on a sustainable financial footing urgently.

A paucity of social care support is costing the NHS £587 million overall, equivalent to £640,000 every day, or £27,000 every hour. These figures are based on the 917 days between the last general election on 8 June 2017 and the upcoming election on 12 December 2019.

This is due to many people staying in hospital for longer than is clinically necessary. One of the major reasons for people being kept in hospital is because it is unsafe for them to go home as there is no social care support available for them. This is recorded by the hospital as a delayed day.

Staying in hospital is much more expensive than being supported at home or in a care home. It can also erode older people’s confidence and lead to muscle wastage from staying in bed for long periods.

‘We are all paying the price for the inability of our politicians to fix social care’

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK said: “It is appalling that two and a half million bed days will have been lost to the NHS between the last election and this one, simply because there is not nearly enough social care available to allow older people to be safely discharged.

“The waste of money this represents is staggering, coming in at more than half a billion pounds, but the human cost is arguably even greater, with many older people finding this means their recovery and rehabilitation is seriously delayed or in the worst cases put out of reach altogether.”

She added: “We are all paying the price for the inability of our politicians to fix social care, whether you are waiting endlessly for a much-needed knee operation or facing hours of delay in A and E following an accident at home. When hospitals get jammed up because they can’t discharge older people the effects feed right the way through and mean there are no beds for new patients who need them.”
The average number of people kept in hospital after they were ready to be discharged because of inadequate social care, was 2,750 every day, over the period between the last general election and this upcoming one.

“Fixing this problem is not just the humane thing to do, it is the smart thing to do – it’s clearly ridiculous to not address it when it is more expensive to keep a person with dementia in hospital than for them to get the care they need and deserve.”

Changes to immigration system without addressing funding is irresponsible

UKHCA reacted strongly to the news that changes to the UK’s immigration system will not include a visa option for low-skilled migrant workers after Brexit and employers.

The Government’s proposals are that skilled workers wanting to come to the UK must have a job offer and a salary of £25,600 or more.

There is no recognition that social care needs to be able to recruit from overseas.
Currently, in England (where the figures are available) 16% of the homecare workforce are non-British nationals (7% from the EU). The proportions vary by Government regions and in London non-British nationals account for 38% of the workforce (note 1).

Failing to recognise the problems of recruitment and retention in social care, the Government has said that it wants to shift the focus of the economy away from relying on “cheap labour from Europe” and that employers will need to adjust.

UKHCA has made strong representations to the Migration Advisory Committee (note 2), saying that social care needs to be able to recruit from overseas in order to meet the growth in demand for social care. Otherwise, there could be significant implications for the health and wealth of the nation.

Colin Angel, Policy Director, UKHCA said:
“We are dismayed by the decision Government has made. Cutting off the supply of prospective careworkers under a new migration system will pave the way for more people waiting unnecessarily in hospital or going without care. Telling employers to adjust, in a grossly underfunded care system, is simply irresponsible.
“The Migration Advisory Committee has told Government it needs to sort out social care funding, but there is no sign of that on the horizon.”

UKHCA will continue to work with our colleagues in the Cavendish Coalition to ensure that the Government understands and acts in the interests of older and disabled people using social care.

Growth In Family Carers Propping Up The Care System.

NEW  New research reveals the growth in family carers caring for elderly relatives – and the price they pay.

The Social Market Foundation has calculated that there are 7.6 million people in the UK who provide unpaid care for a relative. That is 1 million more than in 2005. Almost 15% of adults now care for a relative.

Not only are more people caring, but family carers are undertaking more care. Among carers, the proportion providing 20 or more hours a week has increased from 24% to 28% between 2005 and 2015. On average family carers provide 19.5 hours per week of care.

Family carers provide 149 million hours of care each week. That is equal to the work of 4 million full-time paid care staff.

The SMF report, entitled Caring for Carers, was sponsored by Age UK and sets out new details about the people who are providing the care on which the country depends. It found:

  • Most carers are women: 59% of people caring for an elderly relative are women and 65% of people caring for a sick or disabled child are women.
  • 5% of women provide family care, this is up from 14.9% in 2005. The number of women carers has risen from 3.75 million to 4.45 million.
  • 4% of men provide family care, up from 12% in 2005. The number of men providing family care has risen from 2.82 million to 3.19 million.
  • Older people are more likely to be carers. 26% of women aged 55-59 provide care to a relative. Only 16% of men in the same age bracket do so.
  • After the age of 65, the gender gap on care closes 19% of women aged 65-69 provide care, which is the same proportion for men of the same age. Among over-70s, men are more likely to provide care, generally for wives and partners.

The report also shows how the jobs that carers do are changing, and reveals the impact that caring has on the careers of people in different occupations.

  • People working in management and professional occupations make up the largest occupational group of carers in employment.
  • The only occupational social class where the proportion of women providing care rose was management/professionals with 19% of women in professional jobs providing care, up from 18% in 2005.
  • The proportion of women in ‘routine’ occupations providing care fell, from 22% to 21%.
  • Carers are more likely to work less and earn less than those who do not have caring responsibilities.
  • Among people in employment aged 40-64, some 77% of non-carers work full time. Only 61% of high-hours carers have full-time jobs.
  • Caring is associated with lower pay: Carers earn 13% less per hour than non-carers.
  • Women who care earn 4% less than those who do not. Men who care earn 15% less than those who do not.
  • The typical (ie median) man aged 40-64 who does not provide care has a gross monthly income of £2,584. The typical man who provides family care while working is £2,167. That is a monthly difference of £417 or £5,004 per year.
  • For women, non-carers have median earnings of £1,500 while carers earn £1,450. The monthly difference is £50, or £600 per year.
  • Caring has a bigger impact on male earnings because they are more likely to be working full time and earning more before taking up their caring duties than women – reducing their hours of work or changing job, therefore, has a bigger impact on their earnings.

The SMF report makes a number of recommendations for the social care Green Paper, several of which are aimed at ‘nudging’ employers into offering more support for working carers:

  • Employees should record the number of their staff who have caring responsibilities.
  • ‘Care pay gap’ reporting could be required, where employers would publicly report the pay rates of staff with caring responsibilities and that of those of comparable staff without caring duties.
  • Big employers should be required to publish policies for supporting workers who care. Surveys suggest only 40% of large employers have policies setting out how managers should support carers.

The paper also suggests much greater use of ‘care navigators’ to help family carers guide elderly relatives through the complex system of public sector bodies likely to be involved in their overall package of care.

Age UK Highlight The Battle To Get Care At Home.

A report by Age UK, Behind the Headlines – the battle to get care at home’ shows that the provision of homecare services has decreased by 3 million hours since 2015. In some areas, councils were unable to provide basic care and support to older people, with assessed needs, because there was a ‘care desert’ and no care available for the council to purchase in the local area.

The publication presents the following issues that seem to be coming up time and again from all parts of the country: –

  • Long waits to get an assessment
  • Services that are disjointed or simply unresponsive
  • Social services refusing to get involved
  • Fundamental lack of capacity in the system
  • Poor quality services and support
  • Support and services being cut back
  • Help for families providing care being withdrawn

The charity noted that the average spend per adult on social care has fallen 13%, from £439 to £379, between 2009/10 and 2016/17 and said it was not surprising that over the same period around 400,000 fewer older people received social care.

Age UK has also said within the report that older people are experiencing a lack of continuity among carers. The charity received feedback from older people and families who are sent new care workers on such a regular basis that they rarely know who is going to show up on any given day.

Research Suggests Brexit Could Worsen Crisis in Social Care.

Ending free movement within the EU risks exacerbating the social care crisis, according to a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which warned that the UK’s third sector social care organisations were increasingly dependent on hiring EU workers to fill staffing gaps.

IPPR argues that the scale of the impact that Brexit could have on the charity sector workforce will depend on five core considerations: –

  1. The profile of the current EU charity workforce
  2. The future immigration system for EU nationals
  3. The immigration choices of EU nationals
  4. The future demand for EU charity workers
  5. The alternative for charity employers if they are unable to recruit from the EU.

The research found social care charities currently have 90,000 staff vacancies but 87% of all EU charity workers employed in social care would not qualify for work visas under conditions imposed on non-EU nationals. The IPPR suggested charities would be left: ‘facing a perfect storm of high employee churn, skills shortages, low pay, and increasing labour demand’

Call For Social Care To Be Free At The Point Of Need.

Lord Darzi, Professor of Surgery, chair of the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, and former Labour Government minister has published his final report.

The Lord Darzi review, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research has put forward a 10-point plan for long-term funding as well as a 10-point offer to the public which sets out what the health and care system will be able to offer if his plan for investment and reform is adopted. The fourth point reads:

“Make social care free at the point of need. This means extending the NHS’s ‘need, not ability to pay’ principle to social care and fully funding the service as part of a ‘new social contract’ between the citizen and the state.”

Dismay At Delay Of Social Care Green Paper.

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has confirmed that the social care Green Paper will be delayed. Speaking in Parliament, Jeremy Hunt said the Green Paper will be published in the autumn around the same time as the NHS plan. More than seven months ago, the government committed to publishing the paper before the summer recess this year.

The decision has been met with dismay and disappointment. Colin Angel, UKHCA’s Policy Director said,

‘It is very disappointing that the Government chose to announce the delay of the Green Paper on the day that we learned the NHS will receive an extra £20.5 billion. While the delay could allow more time to produce a stronger joined-up document, the Government cannot continue to ignore the deepening crises in social care services.’

Scheme Will Enable EU Citizens To Stay In UK After June 2021.

The Home Secretary has announced that EU citizens will have to complete three key steps to obtain settled status to stay in the UK after June 2021: prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare that they have no serious criminal convictions. The settlement scheme will operate online and via a smartphone app, and through libraries and special contact centres. Most decisions will be made within two weeks or sooner.

The scheme will be phased in from later in 2018 and be fully open by 30 March 2019, with the deadline for applications 30 June 2021.

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