Government allocates further £546m to Infection Control Fund

The UK government has announced a £546m extension of the Infection Control Fund (ICF) to support care homes in the fight against Covid-19.

The ICF, set up in May, has been extended until March 2021 with the additional funding aimed at helping the care sector restrict the movement of staff between care homes to stop the spread of the virus.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the fund will help care providers pay staff full wages when they are self-isolating, and enable staff to work in only one care home, reducing the risk of spreading the infection. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said DHSC will set out further measures to protect care homes in its Adult Social Care Winter Plan due this week.

The National Care Forum, which represents the not-for-profit sector, welcomed the additional ICF funding but said it needs to be understood against a wider set of commitments for winter and any second wave.

"The well documented breakdowns around testing, rising rates of infection and increases in local lockdowns mean that we need these government plans to be shared today – preparation is critical and last minute announcements serve no-one well," added executive director Vic Rayner.

In a related development, Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has warned that care home visits could be restricted to protect residents.

“Be in no doubt we’re going to do absolutely all we can to stop the spread in care homes,” he told the Sun.

“And I’m afraid it’s an incredibly difficult thing, but we are going to have to place some restrictions on people, visitors being able to go into care homes," he added.