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Care Associations welcome expanded scope of UK COVID-19 Inquiry’s Social Care Module 6

Together with Homecare Association and Care England, The National Care Forum welcome the decision by the Rt Hon Baroness Hallett, Chair of the UK COVID-19 Inquiry, to broaden the scope of Module 6. This module will examine the impact of the pandemic on social care across the UK, with public hearings set to start in the summer of 2025.

Baroness Hallett is expanding the investigation beyond just care homes and a narrow definition of homecare. It will now include other groups of people who draw on care and support, such as those with learning disabilities and autism. She is also changing the term “residents” in the provisional outline of scope to “recipients of care”.

As core participants in module 6, the Homecare Association, National Care Forum, and Care England made written and oral submissions asking for this change. Other core participants also supported this.

Commenting on the decision, the CEOs of the Homecare Association, National Care Forum and Care England, respectively, Dr Jane Townson OBE, Professor Vic Rayner OBE and Professor Martin Green OBE said:

“We are very pleased Baroness Hallett listened to our concerns and recognised the importance of broadening the scope of Module 6.

“We urged the Inquiry to recognise that some groups not covered by the original scope suffered far more than others in the pandemic. Mortality rates for people with learning disabilities and autism were 3-4 times higher than for the general population.

“This decision is a positive step towards considering the experiences of everyone affected by COVID-19 in social care settings in the Inquiry. This will increase the chance of learning meaningful lessons to protect those most at risk in the future.

“Whilst this broadening of scope is welcome, we’re concerned that Baroness Hallett has stopped short of recognising the impact of the pandemic on those working in and providing services for the people she has now importantly brought into the scope of the Inquiry. Unless module 6 of the Inquiry considers the experience of all those giving and drawing on care and support, there’s a real risk that the Inquiry might repeat the same mistakes and wrong assumptions that harmed the pandemic response”.

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