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A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched by the Department of Health and Social Care to support staff through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Developed in collaboration with NHSX and NHS Business Services Authority, the Care Workforce app will be introduced under the new VARE brand and will act as a single digital hub for social care workers.

According to the government, the app will provide care workers with access to guidance, learning resources, discounts and other support all in one place, with health and mental health support offered through toolkits and resources.

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Aiming to unite the 1.5 million care workers across more than 18,000 care providers in England, the app can be downloaded on Apple and Android supported smartphones or accessed by browsers on any device.

The first-of-its-kind for the care workforce, the government promises the app will act a one-stop-shop for all information and advice needed to protect care workers from COVID-19, as well as learning resources on areas such as infection control.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “As part of our continued work to back the care sector, we have launched a new app specifically for care workers to make sure they have the most up-to-date guidance to keep them safe, connected with their colleagues across the country, which also allows them to access discounts like their NHS counterparts.”

Offers include free car parking and discounts through organisations and initiatives like Discounts for Carers and the Blue Light Card, as well as signposting carers to free to access apps including Silvercloud, Daylight and Sleepio.

In addition, the government outlined plans to turn the app into a networking platform to bring the social care workforce together in one place to share learnings, best practice and inspiring stories.

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said: “It’s more than welcome to see an app like this that’s specifically designed with the adult social care workforce in mind.

“That workforce has many challenges at the moment, including how to keep services running during the COVID-19 situation; but also how to ensure that issues such as safeguarding, mental capacity and rights under the Care Act are not lost. We’ve all been using technology a lot more in the last few weeks and I’m sure that this will be a really useful addition to help the workforce to provide the best care and support that they can during the current crisis.”

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