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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Communications

Last Updated 10:06am, 15 November 2021


Key COVID-19 information sources

If you have any specific issues or questions that you would like to raise please do so as follows:

This page contains information, which we published in the PEN newsletter, but which does not fit into other parts of this website or is relevant to all sectors.

Appreciative Inquiry invitation: Devon aims high in its ambition to fix adult social care

On Friday 3 December, Devon County Council will be hosting our Appreciative Inquiry into the adult social care market, as featured in the PEN newsletter on 11 November.

The Appreciative Inquiry is a conference that will bring together leading figures to discuss adult social care. It will take place from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Participants will include national and local system leaders, care workers, care providers and colleagues from one of our Local Care Partnerships. We will celebrate social care and ask: “How can it be even better?”.

We have made a series of short films with the support of local care workers, care providers and colleagues from the health, care and voluntary sectors which will act as a stimulus for discussion and action. The materials prepared for the event will be made available for wider awareness-raising, training and induction and will help shape a Prospectus For Change which we are preparing to propose action locally, regionally and nationally to address our workforce challenge.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we can only have a small number of people actually in the room but technology means we can invite many hundreds more to join us. The chat function in Teams will enable us to capture your thoughts and the event will be webcast so that the wider public can observe and offer their views.

Please use this link to book your place at this important event.

National Safeguarding Adults Week 15 - 22 November 2021

It’s an opportunity for organisations to come together to raise awareness of important safeguarding issues. The aim is to highlight safeguarding key issues, facilitate conversations and to raise awareness of safeguarding best practice. There is a wealth of resources available to you to enhance your knowledge and understanding of safeguarding, including free training workshops.

Each day we’ll be focusing on a different safeguarding theme to explore how we can create safer cultures.

The government has now updated its national COVID-19 Winter Plan for adult social care into a document which brings together information and guidance on all relevant topics including Infection Prevention and Control, PPE, COVID-19 and flu vaccination, hospital discharge and more, with discrete sections on action for providers.

Pleaser read The adult social care: COVID-19 winter plan 2021 to 2022.

Insurance advice for care providers

The Association of British Insurers and the British Insurers Brokers’ Association jointly published guidance setting out practical steps which care providers can take to access the appropriate insurance cover with reference to the pandemic. If your insurance is due for renewal in the next few months, do take a look.

Making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector

The government has today published its consultation: Making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector. As anticipated this builds on the previous consultation that took place in the summer that led to mandatory vaccination of staff and visitors in care homes unless they are medically exempt.

The government is now seeking views on whether or not to extend vaccination requirements to other health and care settings for COVID-19 and also for flu.

The proposal would include any frontline health or care worker who have face-to face contact with patients and clients through the delivery of services as part of a CQC regulated activity.

The consultation is open until Friday 22 October 2021.

Care and health worker parking permit

Are you in a team using the Care and Health Worker Parking Permit?

For managers and users of the Care and Health Worker Parking Permit.

Parking concessions for health, care and volunteer workers - guidance

The government’s free council car parking scheme for health, care and volunteer workers ended on 21 June 2021.  Extension is now at the discretion of local authorities.

Changes to NHS parking pass

The NHS COVID parking passes were originally intended for temporary use during the COVID-19 emergency response period by NHS staff members, health or social care workers, or NHS Volunteer Responders. Following the publication of the Government’s roadmap for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, from Monday 21 June we will no longer accept NHS COVID parking pass in our Devon County Council car parks, and on street parking in resident only spaces, limited waiting spaces and on street pay & display spaces.

Eligible staff can apply for the DCC care and health worker permit on our website.

After Thursday 21 June 2021 we will enforce against cars we find displaying them in spaces they can no longer use.

COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021

The government has published the ‘Moving to Step 4 of the roadmap’ document. This sets out the essential actions that everybody should take to protect themselves and others while prevalence is high, as we transition towards learning to live with COVID-19.
In care homes, the government will lift restrictions that limit each resident to five named visitors. Specific guidance will advise how visits should be conducted to keep care homes safe whilst also making visits as normal as possible. Care homes will need to retain infection prevention and control measures essential to protecting residents from the risk of infection.

Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings

The government recently announced that from Monday 19 July 2021, double vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff in England who have been told to self-isolate will be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and instead undertake daily testing.

The following guidance on COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings has been updated.

Whether staff have been pinged by the COVID-19 app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation is the default position given that close contact with a COVID-19 positive person has taken place. When contacted by NHS Test and Trace via phone self-isolation is legally enforceable.

Care providers should undertake a risk assessment and be mindful of their health and safety responsibilities when making decisions about staff returning to work from self-isolation. This should only be considered in extremis situations to maintain continuity of care and ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of service users.

Self-isolation to be eased for fully vaccinated adults in step 4

From 16 August, double jabbed individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

  • The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
  • Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern.
  • Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Digital COVID-19 passport scam

The latest coronavirus scam is currently circulating on social media asking people for payment in exchange for a ‘coronavirus digital passport’.

The email claims to come from the NHS and says it will “allow you to travel safely and freely around the world without having to self-isolate” if you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine or have recently recovered from the virus.

The email states “who is eligible” and asks people to click a button at the bottom of the email to access their “digital passport.” The link will then take you to a fake NHS website, where it will ask for personal information and payment details towards ‘an admin fee’.

What to do?

  • If you receive this email please forward it onto PISHING.GOV.UK.
  • If you have disclosed bank account details you should contact your bank immediately and notify action fraud.

Ventilation of indoor spaces guidance

Research has shown that good ventilation of indoor spaces is one of the most effective things we can all do the prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Public Health England COVID-19 action card

This document provides definitions and what actions to take in a COVID-19 situation.

New award to recognise exceptional practice in adult social care workforce

The exceptional efforts of the social care workforce will be recognised through a new award launched by the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care.

The award will mirror the Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May’s awards for the NHS, and aim to celebrate nurses and care workers in adult social care who go above and beyond their everyday roles to provide excellent care, leadership and inspiration.
The award will not be limited to registered nurses and will be extended to include all carers across all care settings, not only care homes.

Gold and silver awards will recognise outstanding contributions to adult social care in line with NHS workforce awards

Limit on mourners at funerals to be removed

Families and friends will shortly be able to gather to pay their respects to loved ones in greater numbers.

Under current restrictions funerals can go ahead with up to 30 people attending, but the government has announced that this legal limit on the number of mourners will be removed as part of step three of the roadmap to take place from Monday 17 May at the earliest.

Instead, the number of people who can attend a funeral will be determined by how many people the venue, such as the relevant place of worship or funeral home, can safely accommodate with social distancing. This includes both indoor and outdoor venues. Capacities of venues will vary, but many will allow significantly more than 30 people to attend.

Limits for other life or commemorative events, such as weddings and wakes, are expected to remain at step three as set out in the government’s roadmap.

Support groups permitted

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
Please read the section on ‘Where and when you can meet in larger groups’ listed under the subheading ‘Support and Childcare bubbles‘ within the ‘National lockdown: Stay at Home’ guidance.

Coronavirus local dashboard and data

Report on confirmed cases and deaths at a district level.

NHS and public health video

The CCG’s presents a new video every Friday providing the latest coronavirus information and advice.

National guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people

Reference-only version of letter from the government to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Letter on extension of CEV cohort including advice on shielding and vaccination.

Councils ready to support most clinically vulnerable

Devon County Council and the District Councils in Devon are ready to support residents who are identified as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

Information about the range of support available to people identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable is published on our website.

Important information - shielding clients

The attached letter (26 May) contains guidance and information on shielding clients during COVID-19. This letter is an addition to an email sent out from DCC’s Procurement Team on 15 May 2020 and addresses providers’ comments and queries.

New appeal to car sharers and people in the workplace

Case numbers are coming down, but we’re still seeing positive cases of Coronavirus in workplaces. This has prompted a fresh appeal from Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, asking people at work, and car sharers in particular, to take extra precautions.

One in three people don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus and it can easily spread in the small enclosed space of a vehicle. So avoid car sharing with those outside your household or support bubble. Think twice before getting a lift to work with colleagues or taking a friend or relative grocery shopping or to a medical appointment, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
If you have to car share, please follow these simple steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:

😷 Everyone should wear face coverings

↔️ Sit as far apart as possible

♀‍ Share with the same small group of people each time

💨 Open windows for ventilation

Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey.

Clean the car between journeys, paying attention to touch points such as door handles.

Car sharing advice poster

Devon County Council has produced a simple poster with car-sharing advice for display in workplaces and elsewhere. It reminds any car-sharers to: wear face coverings, share only with the same small group, keep windows open, wash or sanitise hands before and after journeys and clean the car after journeys, including internal and external handles.

Torbay and South Devon Speech & Language Therapy Referrals

There is a new referral criteria, swallowing assessment criteria, and referral form for care homes to access this service.

Hospital discharge assessments and self-funders

New hospital discharge service guidance came into effect from 1 September 2020. Social care needs assessments and NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments of eligibility therefore recommenced on 1 September 2020.

People who were government-funded under previous guidance must be reassessed and transferred to the new funding arrangements by 31 March 2021. This means that individuals who are self-funding are likely to be contacting providers from now on regarding their future payments and invoicing.

Proactive media support for providers

If any provider has a story to tell in their press and social media and wants support to reach their chosen audience then DCC and NHS Devon will do our best to help. Whether it’s good practice you wish to share, a celebration of success or even a statement to counteract misinformation spread by others, then if you send us your ideas we will see what we can do to support you in telling your story. Please send ideas to Jean Almond, and if your ideas are contained in a newsletter then you can send her the publication, identifying which issue you think is worthy of media attention. Likewise, if you are using social media and think your posts could be shared more widely always remember to tag them with the relevant DCC ‘handle’: Twitter – @DevonCC, Facebook – @OfficialDevonCC, Instagram – @devoncountycouncil, LinkedIn – @devon-county-council. The #WeAreDevon can also be added to posts. Jean’s email address for good new story suggestions is: jean.almond1@nhs.net

Letter to unpaid carers

We recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time for carers, so we have written this letter to them (24 March) to outline the support that is available to help them to continue caring during the current coronavirus situation.

Safeguarding Adults – Provider Forum Response

During the COVID-19 crisis, it is particularly important to safeguard adults with care and support needs. It is suggested that adults with care and support needs may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect by others during this time from those seeking to exploit disadvantages due to age, disability, mental or physical impairment or illness. This is a time when we must all be extra vigilant and try to pick up any early signs that something isn’t right.

The Coronavirus Act
The Coronavirus Act (2020) and associated Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities (see Annex D) do not alter or affect the safeguarding protections within the Care Act (2014).

Safeguarding Adult Concerns
You must continue to raise safeguarding adults concerns in the usual way, by either contacting Care Direct 0345 155 1007 or by completing a safeguarding adult referral accessed via the Devon Safeguarding Adult Partnership website.

Immediate Protection Planning
During Covid-19 it is especially important that you are clear about the risks, actions taken to manage immediate risks. That these actions are clearly recorded, evidencing the action you have taken to support immediate protection planning.

Undertaking Safeguarding Enquiries
Safeguarding adult enquiries and whole service safeguarding enquiries will continue to take place as per due process. Most meetings, due to COVID 19 social distancing measures, are likely to be held via teleconference. In high risk cases, it is likely to be necessary to undertake essential / non deferrable face to face visits to the client/provider.  In exploring the need to undertake essential / non deferrable visit, the safeguarding adult enquiry lead will refer to DCC guidance about essential and non-deferrable home visits.

Staying safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published a range of useful materials that aim to help us all to protect ourselves from cyber threats including a Top Tips for staff on staying safe online infographic, a free eLearning module, access to the Cyber Protect team and the Action Fraud 24/7 reporting service.

Find out more at the NCSC website and report incidents to the Action Fraud national cyber crime reporting centre

Free access to Microsoft Teams using NHSmail

In order to access online support from the NHS, providers must have an NHSmail account. The usual requirements for such accounts have been relaxed by NHS Digital and providers can have a recognised secure email system which will allow patient identifiable data to be shared with healthcare services, plus access to Microsoft Teams for video-conferencing and related activities.

The NHSmail account request process, including support with applications, is detailed on the Digital Social Care website.

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