Today the Secretary of State announced further measures to support the social care sector during the coronavirus crisis.

At the daily coronavirus briefing, the Secretary of State Matt Hancock announced further measures to support the social care sector in its response to the coronavirus crisis.

These measures include:

  • Rolling out testing to care home residents and social care workers with Covid-19 symptoms
  • Increasing availability of PPE for social care workers
  • “Badge of honour” for social care workers to recognise their valuable work
  • Clarified that Do Not Resuscitate notices should not be applied in a “blanket fashion”

Responding to the Secretary of State’s briefing, Edel Harris, CEO of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“Any steps to recognise the importance of support workers and the social care sector is very welcome, particularly the parity with NHS colleagues in terms of access to testing and PPE, announced today by the Secretary of State. But beyond well-meaning gestures, such as a badge and new branding, we would much prefer to see funds available so that the hard working frontline social care workforce can be given a pay rise on a par with the NHS to really value the incredible work they do.

“As a social care provider, we are still carrying most of the costs for PPE and additional staff which is clearly unsustainable. We need to see urgent action to push Local Authorities into releasing the additional £1.6 billion they’ve been given to support social care.

"We also welcome the Secretary of State’s clear warning about blanket application of Do Not Resuscitate notices – particularly as we have seen GPs trying to apply those to perfectly fit and healthy people with a learning disability, often without properly explaining what they are.   We urge all healthcare professionals to take heed of today’s crystal clear guidance on this so that people with a learning disability have equal access to important clinical treatments."

Read more about the Secretary of State’s daily coronavirus briefing online here.


For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).

For advice and information on learning disability, including advice on coronavirus and healthcare, please contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email

Or visit Mencap’s website to access easy read information about coronavirus and resources on people with a learning disability’s rights in hospital.

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want and also campaigns to change laws, improve services and challenge negative attitudes towards people with a learning disability. Visit

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life
  • Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.