Update from the First Minister

21 May 2020

Extra budget for health and social care & volunteering support

The First Minister announced that the supplementary budget, that will be published next week, will allocate more than £2.4 billion in support of COVID-19 efforts. That will include: nearly £0.5 billion extra to the health and social care budget. Welsh Government has provided £24 million to support the third sector and volunteering efforts during the crisis. Over 17,500 new volunteers have been recruited, more than double the previous number, and because there is an existing national system for volunteers, Wales has been able to make rapid use of that willingness to help.  So far, 7,000 volunteers have been deployed to help directly in the coronavirus effort. One of the purposes for which these volunteers have been deployed has been in helping to get food and medicines to people in the shielded group. If you require access to this service, more information is available here.


Shielding, food boxes, home delivery slots & payment for those in social care

There are now 130,000 people on the shielding list, with nearly 13,000 added by GPs since the system began. Fifteen million pounds has been provided to make food boxes available to people in the shielded category and thousands of boxes have been delivered to those individuals, and 77,000 priority home delivery slots have been made available for that group to be booked with supermarkets. Those who work in Wales’ social care system will receive a £500 payment; the 64,000 people delivering personal care in residential and domiciliary care services will be eligible to receive this.


Capacity for beds & Test Trace Protect Strategy

An additional 368 beds have been created through field hospitals, with a further 4,666 available if required; as of 18 May, 220 extra critical care beds were available; testing capacity has increased to over 5,300 a day, and 11,000 tests are being carried out every week—capacity will increase further in the weeks ahead; and 98.4 million items of PPE have been issued since 9 March, of which, just under 30 million have gone to staff in care homes and in domiciliary care. This week, the Minister for Health and Social Services announced changes to testing in care homes and in the wider community. Wales is moving to a wider system of surveillance of the circulation of the virus, beyond key workers and key settings, through the ‘Test Trace Protect’ strategy. More information available on this here.


Welsh Government survey, ‘Coronavirus and Me’ for 7-18 year olds

Welsh Government has launched a new survey asking people between the ages of 7 and 18 for their views during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Coronavirus and Me’ asks about their health, education, the impact on social aspects of their lives, and the needs of specific groups. It has stated that understanding the experience of young people will be vital to its work on moving out of lockdown, and on planning for the future. More information about the survey here.

If you have any specific issues relating to Wales, please get in touch with Emma: emma@geneticalliance.org.uk