Message from Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care
(Director of Public Health and Director of Adult Social Services)
18 June 2021
1. Cases of Covid are increasing nationally and in Staffordshire. Our 7-day case rate has risen to 45 per 100,000, below the West Midland’s (55) and England (77) rates.
2. In positive news, the case rates in Leek and Staffordshire Moorlands are coming down, and we are continuing with with surge testing and pop up vaccination sites to further reduce the spread of the virus.
3. Our testing webpages have been updated to include an overview of the recommended testing regime for each adult social care setting and other useful information.
4. With less than one week to go, please don’t’ forget we will stop ordering test kits on behalf of care homes on 25 June 2021. If we have not already ceased ordering we will be in touch in the upcoming days to advise of your UON and last date ordered
5. A recent study published highlights the effectiveness of the vaccination against the Delta variant. SAGE currently advises that an uptake of 80% in staff and 90% in residents (first dose) in care homes is required to offer adequate protection. In the light variants and mutations this figure will likely be subject to review and change.
6. According to capacity tracker, 89% of staff have received dose 1, whilst 75% of staff in care homes across Staffordshire are reported to have received dose 2; please ensure you keep the capacity tracker up to date with this information.
7. The outcome of the recent national consultation about mandatory vaccinations for staff in care homes, has been published. In brief, the regulations will be amended to make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of deployment for any individual working in a CQC-regulated care home providing nursing or personal care in England, subject to exemptions. The regulations will require care home providers to deploy only staff who have received a complete course of their Covid-19 vaccination in line with government guidance, unless they are medically exempt. They will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), and those deployed by the care provider including agency and volunteers. It will include those providing direct care and those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, CQC inspector and hairdressers and beauticians. The regulations will not apply to family and friends visiting a care home resident. The Government will launch a further public consultation on whether or not to make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in healthcare and the wider social care sector. The publication currently indicates a 16 week grace period.
8. It is critical we continue to encourage all staff to have the vaccination; PHE have produced a suite of new and updated resources to support adult social care providers. If you have questions, queries or concerns about the vaccination or the outcome of the consultation please visit our vaccination webpages or contact us.
9. As part of limited changes coming into effect from Monday 21 June 2021, the Prime Minister announced a further easement of restrictions on visits and admissions to care homes.
a. Residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends outside of the care home, including overnight stays with loved ones, without having to isolate for 14 days on their return to the care home.
b. The role of the essential care giver has been strengthened, meaning every resident can nominate a person close to them to fulfil this role and they can continue to visit in the event of an outbreak in the care home.
c. Residents admitted from the community will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival where specific criteria is met; to ensure safety, residents will be required to undergo an enhanced PCR testing regime, including a test prior to admission, a test on the day of admission and a further test 7 days later. The admissions guidance has not yet been updated to reflect to this change.
Updates and useful information
10. CQC have confirmed they are working towards a date of 21 July 2021 for publication of data in respect of notifications received from individual care homes relating to deaths of people with Covid 19 between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Further information can be found on the CQC webpages.
11. Don’t forget, the deadline for EU citizens to apply for settled / pre settled status is less than 2 weeks away. Make sure any people you provide support to or staff members have completed their application before 30 June 2021.
12. DHSC have distributed a letter in respect of the Full Support Healthcare Easimask FSM25 – a copy of the letter can be located on our PPE webpages. It is important to note, the mask is not currently available through the PPE portal.
13. The Social Care Minister commented on the fifth annual report of the Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme published by the University of Bristol. This annual report considers reviews of deaths notified to LeDeR (2018 to 2020) including issues related to Covid 19, summarises learning and makes recommendations to address inequalities at a local and national level and prevent premature mortality. A copy of the report and useful summary of key changes can be found on the LGA webpages.
14. IMPACT is a new centre, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Health Foundation, that aims to support best use of evidence in adult social care in order to improve outcomes for those who use services and their carers. Led by the University of Birmingham, the programme is currently seeking the views of anyone involved with or connected to adult social care to help develop and test its ideas.
15. Business continuity data has been updated by 90% of care homes, whilst 66% of domiciliary care providers have submitted updates in the past seven days, both of these figures are unchanged from the previous 7 day period. Answers to the weekly infection control questions by care homes were provided by 65% of care homes (down from 70% last week). Please ensure you update your business continuity and infection control information daily or more often as necessary as this helps us with placements and with Covid-19 related support.
16. We remain contactable 7 days per week. For details of how to contact us, please go to: How to contact us for further details.
There is a range of national guidance documents available via the link below to support you in managing your service and supporting customers: