Providers have welcomed a package of support from the City of Wolverhampton Council and partners to help the health and social care sector through what promises to be another difficult winter.
Announced last week at the launch of the new Wolverhampton Cares campaign, it includes an increase in the hourly rate paid by the council to homecare providers and reablement providers, the creation of more 'step down' residential beds to support people who need reablement at home but have no care available, and a commitment to work even more closely with care providers to understand how the council and other organisations can support them.
A recruitment drive is underway for new care staff to work across the sector, with the council increasing the capacity of the HARP team, which provides support to adults in their own homes, and expanding its Carer Support Team so it is able to offer even more support to local family carers.
Meanwhile, the council has also commissioned The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to deliver an occupational health service available to support the health and wellbeing of around 2,700 staff across 70 care homes in the city.
Manny Joshi, Director of Caring Care, said: "The last 18 months have been so difficult for us as providers caring for service users in the community during the pandemic.
"The support we have had from the City of Wolverhampton Council, with personal protective equipment (PPE), regular provider meetings and also the uplift to support us in these challenging times, is so appreciated."
Nikki Garbett, Registered Manager of Prospect Tree Health Care, added: "With the interim uplift we have been able to raise the hourly rate above the current living wage and also pay more at weekends. Our team are pleased we have done this before Christmas and have expressed a good degree of satisfaction."
Councillor Linda Leach, the council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Wolverhampton Cares is our commitment to support the city's care providers, care workers and family carers.
"The health and social care sector is currently under intense pressure, and it's only going to get worse over the next few months, and so we and our partners are determined to do all we can to help get through it.
"It's great to hear that the initial package of measures have been welcomed by care providers, and we will continue to speak with and listen to them to see what else we might be able to do in order to support them through the winter and beyond."
To find out more about Wolverhampton Cares, please visit www.wolverhamptoncares.co.uk.