COUNTY CARE homes have been promised £7 million by the government to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

This comes following heavy criticism of the government for its handling of the crisis in homes. The funding is part of a £600 million Infection Control Fund aimed at helping reduce the spread of the virus in care homes.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said the money will help care homes and staff get the correct training and equipment.

She said: "I’m glad to see that there is a good stock of personal protective equipment held by the Worcestershire resilience forum, and I have been able to raise local concerns swiftly and effectively.

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“Care homes are an incredibly valuable resource, delivering care for our elderly and vulnerable loved ones, and I welcome this extra cash to make them as safe as they can possibly be during this terrible crisis.”

Worcestershire has nearly 6,000 registered care home beds and the fund comes on top of £3.2 billion that has already been made available to local authorities to support key public services, including social care, since the start of the crisis.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) there were 1,369 death notifications made to the CQC in the week ending May 15, and around 3,500 coronavirus-linked deaths of care home residents in hospitals leading up to May 1.

The Health Foundation said the figures suggest that "action has come too late to stem the avoidable loss of life for care home residents, and social care staff".

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Chief executive Dr Jennifer Dixon said: "While no action plan could undo decades of political neglect, questions should be asked as to how many deaths could have been prevented had action been taken earlier."

A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesman said: "Supporting the social care sector throughout this pandemic is a priority. We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need.

"We are ensuring millions of items of PPE are available to care workers, using our increased testing capacity to test care home residents and staff regardless of symptoms and introducing our new £600 million Infection Control Fund to help prevent the spread in care homes."