Today’s political update covers government plans to expand home testing capacity and an update on Age UK’s influencing work on the Domestic Abuse Bill.
Yesterday the ONS report reported on the number of weekly deaths, which includes the number of people who have sadly passed away due to covid-19 in care homes. This includes CQC data on notifications of COVID-19 related deaths explicitly stated as occurring in care home settings; with 4,443 notified deaths in care homes since Easter. From today, the Government will be publishing not just the number of deaths in hospitals each day, but also in care homes and in the community too. This will supplement the ONS’ weekly publication and will help to inform policy judgement.
The Heath Secretary also asserted that the Government is expanding home testing capacity from 5,000 a day to 25,000 by the end of the week. They are also rolling out testing of asymptomatic residents and staff of care homes and staff in the NHS, and testing is now available to al over 65 and their households with symptoms, and any households of keyworkers that have symptoms
The DHSC have updated their covid-19 guidance to include information about how to work safely in domiciliary care. The guidance includes specificities regarding recommended PPE usage in different circumstances. The full guidance can be read here.
The BBC has reported that the Government had “failed to buy crucial protective equipment to cope with a pandemic.”
The Victims Commissioner has backed the call from parliament’s Home Affairs Committee to make tackling domestic abuse a central pillar of the Government’s strategic response to the Coronavirus epidemic.
Yesterday saw the Second Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill in Parliament. We briefed a number of MPs ahead of the debate on our key asks for the Bill. Dawn Butler MP thanked Age UK for the work we do and Tim Loughton MP used our briefing to highlight that one in five victims of domestic homicides is aged over 60, and there has been a 40% increase in the last two years in the number affected by domestic abuse. There is also a disproportionate impact on those from BAME communities. We will continue to work to influence this important piece of legislation.
Age UK is in continued discussions with DCMS on loneliness and Defra on access to food and supermarket policy.
The External Affairs team has been working with local Age UK partners to write to their MPs to ask the Government for further support during the crisis.
It is not yet clear how the money announced by the Chancellor will be distributed but we can do our best to make sure that every local MP knows that the need for Age UK to be supported now is critical, and that we will not be able to continue to help older people to get through this crisis without government funding. If you have the time, please pick up the phone or send an email to your MPs, you can find a draft letter here to make this as easy as possible for you.
If you have any questions, please contact Robert Henderson or Alison Trew. Please also let us know if you have contacted your MP and asked them to make representations on your behalf.