Coronavirus COVID-19 Care Provider Information
Latest update - 4 August 2020
Covid-19 testing and infection control
We have updated the Covid-19 testing and infection control page in light of the latest DHSC announcements on the whole care home testing programme, LampORE rapid testing, bulk registration of test kits and introduction of Unique Registration Numbers.
Access to the Government online PPE portal is being extended
With effect from 3 August, access to the online PPE portal for emergency PPE top-ups is being extended to large residential care and home care providers. Go to the PPE page for more information.
Other important updates
Skills for Care webinars
Skills for Care are running the following webinar for providers:
- Verification of Expected Death during Covid-19 with remote clinical support on Thursday 6 August 2020 11.30 - 12.00.
More information and a link to register are on the Other Help Available for Providers page.
Health and care workers to self-isolate on return to England from high-risk countries
Government guidance updated on 31 July has confirmed that registered health and social care professionals are now required to self-isolate for 14 days when travelling to England from high-risk countries.
Illustrative guide on PPE in community health and social care settings
This guide from Public Health England on what PPE to wear and when in community health and social care settings is now available on the PPE page.
Extension of temporary zero VAT rating on PPE supplies
The government has extended the temporary zero VAT rating on PPE supplies to 31 October 2020. Find out more in the tax information and impact note on the government website.
Message from Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care - 29 June 2020
On July 1, it will be 100 days since Boris Johnson announced that the UK was going into ‘lockdown’. Although we are still dealing with active Covid-19 cases, the acute pressure is thankfully starting to lift. Nationally, the Covid Alert Level has moved down from Level 4 to Level 3. This means that Covid-19 is in general circulation and local outbreaks are still likely.
On July 4 lockdown restrictions will lift further. Social distancing guidance has changed to two metres where possible and one metre plus control measures if not. It is important that we all continue to follow the guidance, not only while at work, but also at home.
Everyone in the care sector knows too well the human toll of Covid-19 nobody wants to see a wave of infections. So, we can’t afford to let our guard down.
Mental health and wellbeing
It has been a tough three months and many care workers and managers will be tired. Some may have been acutely affected by the pandemic and may need more intensive support. We have been developing an increasing list of resources on our Other help for providers webpage which we hope will be helpful. This includes:
- Identifying the duty of care that adult social care providers need to apply to their workforce and those in receipt of care to ensure their health, safety and welfare, including the recently released adult social care risk reduction framework (published 19 June).
- Links to national guidance and resource packs to support mental, physical and financial wellbeing of managers and their staff.
- Apps, such as the dedicated app for the adult social care workforce, self-help tools, videos, links to wellbeing, mental health, trauma and bereavement support services, free counselling and emergency support lines.
- Access to free psychological first aid (PFA) digital training
- Resources being developed to support individuals in receipt of care services.
Learning Disability Week
Last week was Learning Disability week. I would like in particular to draw your attention to seven commissioned short films by Ace Anglia and Speak which were posted on the Learning Disability England site, designed to promote the resilience of people with a learning disability and how they have used friendships to adapt during the pandemic.
Covid-19 testing and infection prevention and control
Since my last update, a first round of testing of all residents and staff in care homes is near to completion. We are awaiting guidance about testing in extra care and supported living facilities as well as repeat testing in care homes.
Testing in care homes has identified a small number of previously undetected cases without symptoms. This has enabled a rapid response to support affected providers to put control measures in place to prevent further spread of the virus. Evidence of such cases reinforces the need for all providers to remain vigilant in their infection control procedures, especially as the ‘lockdown’ is eased.
Alongside the ongoing efforts of providers, we have also put in place the following measures:
- Every care provider has been supported with information, advice and regular checks with offers of support where required.
- Every care home has had a thorough assessment of their infection prevention and control arrangements, with actions where necessary to strengthen these.
- Every care home has been offered training on the use of PPE, and this is also being rolled out to supported living and extra care facilities.
- Additional clinical support for care homes is available.
- We are maintaining 7-day data surveillance, brokerage and emergency support for providers, which will continue until further notice.
After the national announcement of the £600m Infection Control Fund I wrote to all care homes in Staffordshire on 4 June setting out the conditions of the grant and how to access it. We are in the process of completing a first round of payments to those care homes who have signed up to the agreement. We are reviewing how the remainder of the grant will be distributed and intend to communicate this shortly.
We are awaiting further details on the rollout of the new antibody test which will show if individuals have had the infection. The antibody test can only indicate if a person has been exposed to the virus, it is not yet clear whether a positive antibody test is a marker of ongoing immunity or protective against further infection. Please refer to our Staff Testing and Infection Control webpage for further updates on this and our wider testing programme.
Whilst we await further government guidance on non-essential visits to care homes our Information for care homes, Information for home care and extra care providers and Information for providers supporting people with a learning disability or autism webpages direct you to a new Care Provider Alliance visitor’s protocol in preparation for easing of restrictions to visitors. In advance of any easing in care homes we would advise that residential and nursing homes start to think carefully about risk assessment and about managing risk using effective infection control measures and appropriate use of PPE.
Reopening of adult social care day services
Day services providers have spent three months working hard to offer an impressive array of support to people at home in very challenging circumstances. We are supporting them to begin to re-open day services’ buildings from 1 July 2020, on the basis that they can be operated in way that is ‘Covid-19 compliant’ as required by the Health and Safety Executive. Our commissioners are on hand to receive proposals and to provide support if you have any queries. Please see our Information for building-based day service providers webpage for further details.
Test and trace scam
On our Staff Testing and Infection Control webpage, care providers are advised to read and inform their staff of the Local Government Association test and trace scam alert article warning issued on 20 June 2020, which has identified that criminals pretending to be from the NHS Test and Trace Service have used bogus phone calls, emails and text messages asking for bank card details to cover the cost of the testing kit. It is worth noting that if they are contacted by a genuine contract tracer, people will never:
- Ask for bank details or payments
- Ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
- Ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
- Ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087
Capacity tracker update
We have set out on our Information for care homes web page what information all care homes need to be updating on the Capacity Tracker and have also added guidance to help care homes do this using mobile phones.
There have been some key government infection control guidance updates over the last fortnight (as indicated in the guidance and best practice updates later section). In response to this, we have updated on the PPE page our Adult social care settings: PPE summary document (22 June 2020), our How to work safely in care homes (17 June 2020) and ourHow to work safely in home care (17 June 2020) and our Infection control and use of PPE guidance (24 June) documents accordingly. We have also added Measures to reduce risk of heat stress from Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive to control temperature in the working environment and to enable staff to stay cool and well hydrated in hot weather conditions.
Care Market Development Team
Please see our COVID-19: Staffordshire County Council Care Market Development Team update for information on engagement, training and development events, recruitment and retention and a wide range of information, advice and guidance for businesses available during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR)
LeDeR is a voluntary reporting scheme funded by NHS England aiming to support improvements in the quality of health and social care services and help reduce premature mortality and health inequalities for people with a learning disability.
LeDeR notification of death data from NHS England will be shared with Public Health England (PHE) to support and better understand the impact of COVID-19 on people with a learning disability. Therefore, providers are encouraged to continue reporting through this scheme currently. For more information, please go to our Information for providers supporting people with a learning disability and / or autism webpage.
Guidance and best practice updates
- Care home guidance / best practice - There are three major recent guidance updates for care homes:
Please send us your success stories if you would like me to share them in future updates by sending further details to our Health and Care Engagement mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thank you again for everything you are doing to support vulnerable people in Staffordshire.
Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health & Care
Please see the Covid-19 and adult social care in Staffordshire, Care Market Development Team update pages to find information and links to further information on:
- planned key engagement events (such as Managers Quality Networking Forum and the Staffordshire Dignity in Care Awards)
- training and development opportunities
- information, advice and guidance
- the opportunities and support available to help you with your recruitment and retention needs
There is a range of national guidance documents available via the link below to support you in managing your service and supporting customers:
Additional guidance has been issued on: