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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Communications

Last Updated 13:06pm, 25 February 2021


Introduction

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

Look out for Mutual Aid 'Pop-ups'

Please look out for ‘Pop-ups’ Mutual Aid Locality Forums facilitated by Devon County Council and the NHS to help providers work together in local networks to support local services and the wider system during these challenging times. These forums were discussed at the recent market events with the Assistant Directors for your area on the anticipated impact of COVID-19 as we prepare for the widely anticipated surge in the coming weeks.

The ‘Pop-ups’ are the next step in delivering a collective response to supporting each other in the face of this demand and will be convened at short notice and may be sector-based or involve different types of providers. Invitations will be sent using the most effective local communications methods, such as WhatsApp Groups and the pop-ups may be take the form of an ad hoc series of events or be one-off emergency meetings, as required at the time. The aim of these ‘pop-ups’ events is to ensure we are doing all we can to realise benefits of working effectively with you as valued system partners to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on social care services, including your own, should you find yourself in a situation where your ability to continue to deliver a safe service is compromised.

We hope you will find time to prioritise your attendance at a meeting of this nature should you be asked to attend. It is vital we have your support to achieve maximum resilience during these challenging times, to ensure each part of the system is supporting to deliver care for the residents of Devon.

Please look out for “Pop-Up Mutual Aid’ notifications and to find out more about ‘Pop-ups’ and ensure you get notified please contact us.

Introducing the new national Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care

Deborah Sturdy sets out her aims for the care sector in this vital new role, focusing on COVID-19 vaccinations, infection prevention and maintaining good mental health in the workforce. Read her very first DHSC Social Care blog.

England lockdown: Stay At Home posters

A series of posters displaying information about the National Lockdown in England.

Tier posters: Medium, High, Very High and Stay At Home

A series of posters displaying information about tiers 1 to 4 in England.

National lockdown: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. Find out what you can and cannot do.

Changes to CQC notification

We are making changes to our notification forms to make them easier for you to use and improve the quality of information collected. The death of a service user notification form has now been updated, with other forms being updated soon.
To make sure submitting a notification to us is as easy for you as possible, make sure you are using the latest form either by downloading from our website each time you submit a notification or accessing through the provider portal.
Visit our website for more information on this work and information about what you need to notify CQC about and how you can do it and we’ll let you know through this bulletin as more forms are updated.

Update on CQC's regulatory approach

We’ve updated on our regulatory approach during the pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic we paused routine inspections and focused our activity only in response to risk. This was the right thing to do and we have kept this decision under review.
In response to the very latest position, we want to be clear that for the time being we will continue to only undertake inspection activity in response to a serious risk of harm or where it supports the system’s response to the pandemic.
We will continue to act to keep people safe from harm, protecting their human rights while supporting providers to focus on delivering care, including the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
You can read more information on what this means for providers on our website.

COVID-19: Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings

Guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19.

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.

Patient-friendly information on coronavirus for healthcare

Health Education England’s national NHS Knowledge and Library Services have published accessible, high-quality information on COVID-19 in one place to make it easy for staff and carers across all health and care settings to find trusted information they can use with patients, families, carers and service users, quickly and easily.

Coronavirus local dashboard and data

Report on confirmed cases and deaths at a district level.

DHSC coronavirus social care update

The Department of Health and Social Care has circulated the first Coronavirus Social Care newsletter of 2021, featuring the authorisation by the regulator of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the continued roll-out of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, free COVID-19 PPE for care sector extended to June 2021 and updated COVID-19 guidance for supported living. You can sign up to received regular updates.

Self-isolation period now 10 days

The required self-isolation period for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has been reduced from 14 to 10 days as a result of improved understanding of the virus. Relevant national guidance is now being updated to reflect this change, beginning with this key document.

NHS and public health video

A new weekly video providing the latest coronavirus information and advice has been launched by NHS Devon. This week’s film provides updates on: How hospitals are keeping people safe, Coronavirus vaccine and Flu vaccine for 50-64-year-olds.

The CCG’s will present a new video every Friday which will be published on the CCG’s website and social media.

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.

DCC Adult Social Care Winter Plan

Devon County Council has now produced its Adult Social Care Winter Plan in response to the requirements laid out by government for how local health and care systems should support the providers and users of adult social care services through winter in response to coronavirus It builds on the partnership approach taken since the outbreak of the pandemic through our Provider Engagement Network.

Winter Readiness Toolkit

The NHS England and NHS Improvement South West tool kit is designed to help care homes and other residential care settings plan and prepare for winter infections and outbreaks, and this year’s kit contains new COVID-19 resources, as well as redesigned resources on flu / other respiratory infections and viral gastroenteritis.

Car sharing and contact tracing

Please be aware that staff who car share, even if they are wearing appropriate PPE, are classed as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace.

If staff are car sharing when commuting to work or for double-up rounds etc, please ask that they ensure there is as much distance between all occupants (including the driver and all passengers) as possible and that there are no more than four people are in a car. Staff should ensure they wear government recommended masks for the whole journey and try not to face each other but face out of the car towards an open window.

For Test and Trace purposes, close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey)
  • if you work in or have recently visited, a setting with other people (for example: a GP surgery, a school or a workplace). The use of face masks and other forms of PPE does not exclude somebody from being considered a close contact, unless they are providing direct care with patients or residents in a health and care setting.

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.

Letter to adult social care service users

On 20 March 2020 Devon County Council has written to people who receive adult social care support commissioned by the Council.
It is intended to let service users know that their usual service is likely to be disrupted. It also contains advice on how they can make visits easier for care assistants. We are sharing it with providers so that you know what we have told the people you visit. You may also want to use the information to help manage service users expectations.

Message from the Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership

The chair of the Devon Safeguarding Board expressed her appreciation to providers for their hard work during COVID-19.

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.

Young carers and young adult carers guidance

National guidance and information for people under the age of 25 who are providing care for someone during the coronavirus outbreak.

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