Lancashire winter plan to ease social care pressures

Friday, December 3, 2021

A plan has been put into action to ensure adults in Lancashire needing social care services continue to get the support they need this winter.



These services are provided by Lancashire County Council, plus independent and voluntary sector organisations who are contracted to deliver services such as home care, crisis support and residential care.

These organisations face extra challenges this winter as demand for social care has increased significantly in recent months, coupled with ongoing pressures in the social care workforce relating to attracting and retaining staff.

County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Our adult services staff and care providers continue to do a tremendous job in very difficult circumstances. Winter is always busy, but this year we have the added pressures of a predicted spike in both Covid-19 and flu cases.

"A key part of our plan is to further strengthen infection control measures to cope with these viruses. We're supporting the care market to ensure that the Government's £10m Infection Prevention Control, Testing and Vaccination Grant is shared out fairly between providers.

"We're also supporting with vaccination and booster programmes, testing, and providing PPE to reduce the risks to vulnerable adults and the staff that support them.

"Our outbreak support team is also in regular contact with care providers to identify any problems quickly and update our Care Capacity Tracker so we can deal with issues as they arise."

Extra measures being put in place this winter include:

• Making an additional 1,200 Crisis and Home First hours available to support people to return home quickly from hospital and to help people remain in their home and avoid an unnecessary admission to hospital or residential care.
• Working with our voluntary sector to increase the number of people they can support with non-personal-care tasks
• Improving the use of the county council's 115 rehabilitation beds, which help to support people to live independently. The authority is updating equipment and taking on more staff to ensure this service can meet extra winter demands.
• Inviting homecare providers on the county council's procurement framework to trigger a 'price review' for how much the council pays to cover unforeseen costs.
• Sharing out the Department for Health and Social Care Workforce Recruitment and retention grant across eligible care providers – worth between £3m and £4m to Lancashire.
• Using one-off personal budgets where appropriate to enable informal care to take place for people being discharged from hospital, or purchase one-off items that cause delays to people returning home
• Reviewing people receiving homecare, whose social care needs may have changed to free up capacity.
• Supporting the North West Association of Directors of Adult Services (ADAS) campaign to recruit more people to the home care sector.

County Councillor Gooch added: "We always increase our provision in the winter using tried and tested measures to ensure we can cope with the extra demands on the care system. However, we're also looking at additional alternative options this year because of the numerous challenges we face.

"Supporting home care providers is a particular priority. Demand for these services has increased by 15% over the last 19 months. There are now 6,000 people using the services provided through the council's home care framework.

"Although we hope most people won't see a change to their care service, there may be some cases where support is delivered in a different way than usual as visiting times and staff supporting people may change. We realise how important it is for people to have their care delivered consistently and we're doing all we can to support providers and people who use care through this challenging time.

"The situation effecting social care is not unique to Lancashire, with councils and providers up and down the country working together to cope with the extra challenges this winter will bring.

"Cabinet discussed the winter plan at its meeting on 2 December and were happy with how it is working to support the care sector."

For more information and to read the winter care plan, see agenda item five at the cabinet meeting agenda and minutes page


Tagged as: Health and Social Care


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