Together with RHG and HBF, we wrote a couple of weeks ago to Matt Hancock at the Department for Health and Social Care raising our concerns that retirement housing had been omitted from arrangements to support care providers and residents in extra care housing and care homes. You will be pleased to know that on Friday 24th a broad coalition of representatives from the sector, including ARCO and Housing LIN had a very useful meeting with Helen Whately the Minister for Social Care and officials from DHSC and MHCLG. It is clear that the Minister understands the difference between extra care and sheltered housing and we will be working with her officials to make sure that both types of housing receive full support with reference to PPE, keyworker status for Scheme Managers and Support Staff, Access to testing for Scheme Managers and for patients being discharged into sheltered housing and inclusion of schemes for support services from local resilience teams .Discussion will also cover how proposed arrangements for exit from lockdown might impact on retirement housing schemes.
As a first step DHSC has included frontline workers in all retirement housing schemes in the widened access to testing which was announced on Thursday – AND HAS PROVIDED A SECTOR SPECIIFIC WEBLINK. This is in recognition of the vital role that frontline workers like scheme managers are doing in supporting older vulnerable residents who are coping with isolation and potentially with COVID-19.
We will continue to engage with the Department and provide updates as necessary.