21 January 2022

COVID-19: stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging patients to home settings

See advice on appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions for patients recovering or recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19). For those remaining in hospital, being discharged to their own home, or being discharged to residential care.

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

See guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19. This has been updated to reflect the change of isolation period in hospitals from 14 to 10 days for cases and contacts of cases of COVID-19. This includes new changes to self-isolation periods for staff in health and care settings.

COVID-19: New self-isolation timeline explained

Day 0

Symptoms start (for test date if you have no symptoms)

Day 1

First full day of isolation

Day 2 to day 4

Self isolate

Day 5

Self isolate but start lateral flow testing

Day 6 to day 9

End self isolation if you have two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart

Day 10 

End self isolation at 23:59 if you don't have a temperature - not test needed

COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC)

See guidance on infection prevention and control for seasonal respiratory infections including SARS-CoV-2. The IPC principles in this document apply to all health and care settings, including acute, diagnostics, independent sector, mental health and learning disabilities, primary care, care homes, care at home.

COVID-19 vaccination: myocarditis and pericarditis information for healthcare professionals

This information is for healthcare professionals on myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination. Updated the ‘Why are serum samples being requested if myocarditis is suspected after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?’

National Mental Capacity Forum Webinar: Care and the protection of liberty in the face of Omicron

The National Mental Capacity Forum hosted a webinar on 10 January 2022 to explore the challenges care and the protection of liberty face in light of Omicron.

View the online webinar and slides of this meeting, chaired by Baroness Ilora Finlay, with hosting provided by the Autonomy Project at the University of Essex. Speakers included: Neil Allen, Alison Murray, Lorraine Currie and Hilary Paxton.

COVID-19: testing in adult care homes

Find updated guidance on how to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents, staff and visiting professionals. Updated to reflect removal of confirmatory PCR after a positive LFT and updated advice on testing within 90 days of a positive result.

New care home residents receive a PCR test when moving from hospital or from the community into a care home, see the published service model for care homes testing individuals moving into a care home.

Testing is also available for care home visitors (when indoor close contact visits are permitted as per national policy). See further guidance on visiting arrangements in care homes.

COVID-19: admission and care of people in care homes

Updated guidance on how to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak in line with the latest clinical advice from the UK Health Security Agency. See the summary change note in the guidance for a full breakdown of all updates.

COVID-19: testing for adult day care centre workers and service users

The updated guidance sets out how eligible adult day care centres in England can order, test and register regular PCR and lateral flow tests for all staff and service users. Updated to reflect removal of confirmatory PCR after a positive LFT and advice on testing within 90 days of a positive result.

COVID-19 guidance update: Vaccination as condition of deployment across care settings

On 14 December 2021, Parliament agreed regulations, which extend vaccination as a condition of deployment beyond residential care settings to any other Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated activity in health and social care, subject to certain exemptions and conditions. This guidance relates to the way these regulations apply in wider adult social care settings, including home (domiciliary) care, extra-care housing and supported living.

Operational guidance relating to the vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes has also been updated.

COVID-19: advice for pregnant healthcare employees

Find advice for pregnant employees on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Updated to reflect current guidance on work arrangements and face coverings.

Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find updated guidance for providers of supported living settings, for staff members who have developed COVID-19 symptoms, or tested positive on a lateral flow or PCR test.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid’s statement from Downing Street press conference - 19 January 2022

Please read the statement, England to return to Plan A following the success of the booster programme on Thursday 27 JanuaryPlan B measures will be removed following millions getting the booster, which gives strong protection against Omicron.

Registered nursing: report shines light on important care sector role

A new report has been published, featuring a foreword from Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Deborah Sturdy, it provides an overview of current literature and available evidence, paving the way for further exploration about the responsibilities, complexities and responsiveness of social care nursing.

Help shape the way CQC works

CQC would like your views on proposals to change the way their inspection teams work with providers. This includes the introduction of multidisciplinary teams and the relationship providers have with individual inspectors. Share your thoughts on our proposals through a short survey.

14 January 2022

New COVID-19 vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care staff and volunteers 

New regulations require frontline health and social care staff and volunteers, carrying out face to face CQC regulated activity, to be fully vaccinated by 1 April, unless medically exempt.

A 12-week grace period began on 6 January this year, with regulations fully in force from 1 April 2022. This means that staff will need to have received their first vaccination by 3 February, to receive their second dose before 1 April.

Existing care home regulations will also be amended so that new care home staff can be deployed from three weeks after receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine, provided they have arranged and received their second dose within 10 weeks. Further resources are due to be published in the coming weeks.

Self-isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after five full days following two negative LFD tests

From Monday, 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6.

COVID-19: Visiting arrangements in care homes

This updated guidance sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents with changes to reflect the new national guidance on removal of confirmatory PCR tests in the case of a positive lateral flow test. Updated the ‘Care home outbreaks’ section to reflect that the Omicron variant will be treated the same as the Alpha and Delta variants for the purposes of managing outbreaks.

COVID-19: Guidance for supported living settings

This guidance is intended for supported living settings, but many of the principles are applicable to extra care housing and the wider supported housing sector, such as retirement or sheltered housing. Updated to reflect that a confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is not required.

Free PPE for frontline health and care sector extended to 31 March 23

The government has decided to extend the provision of free PPE to 31 March 2023 to the health and care sector or until such time as the UK IPC guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended, whichever is sooner.

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

This guidance is on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19. Updated to remove requirement for people testing positive on an LFD test to have a confirmatory PCR test.

People with a positive lateral flow test no longer required to take confirmatory PCR test

From 11 January, most people with a positive lateral flow test do not need to take a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm they have COVID-19.

Adult Social Care Omicron Support Fund

It provides information on the Adult Social Care Omicron Support Fund, including distribution of funds, reporting requirements and guidance on how this funding can be used by local authorities.

COVID-19 booster vaccinations: all the reassurance you need

As the omicron variant continues to dominate new cases, getting your COVID-19 booster is essential to provide the most effective protection, in tandem with tight infection prevention and control measures. Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care and GP Dr Nikki Kanani MBE provide further reassurance about why the booster jabs are so important including where, when and how to get you and your colleagues vaccinated.

Transforming social care: developing the workforce

The Government has a new long-term vision for delivering adult social care in England that puts people and families at its heart, including creating rewarding career opportunities, where staff have the skills and training to deliver the highest quality of care, and where their wellbeing is prioritised.

Researching NHS funded nursing care: your help needed

The DHSC is conducting research on the NHS funded nursing care (FNC) rate. If your nursing home has FNC eligible residents, please email: fnc@dhsc.gov.uk. Any information you give will provide valuable insights to help calculate future rates.

You will be asked to provide Information about your nursing home, shift hours for a recent payroll period and nursing payroll costs for May and October 2021. Deadline for responses is 5pm 17 January 2022.

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth applauds Samaritans' wellbeing support for frontline care staff

Skills for Care CEO, Oonagh Smyth, applauds the Samaritans' current wellbeing campaign, including their helpline to support the adult social care workforce. For anyone feeling the pressure, there is always someone to turn to. Click the link to find out more about the support available.

Learn: Free Positive Behaviour Support good practice training

This is an opportunity to understand Positive Behaviour Support more fully across a range of topics.  All sessions are held remotely. All talks can be booked at this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/pbs-uk-29508905453

We are especially pleased to tell you about this opportunity because of the upcoming project for strengthen behaviour support across Dorset providers.  If you would like more information about our local project, please email brian.langridge@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

7 January 2022

Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results

The UK Health Security Agency has announced temporary changes to confirmatory PCR tests. From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device test results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings

This guidance outlines the COVID-19 testing available for testing staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care settings with the addition of ‘Step-by-step guide to COVID-19 self-testing: SureScreen 25 pack nose-only test’.

Please see the following testing guidance for a range of specific adult social care settings:

Visiting arrangements in care homes

The guidance sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents. Updated to reflect resident LFD testing following visits out of the care home are required every second day for 10 days, and to add that nominated visitors should remain the same wherever possible.

PCR home testing for people eligible for new COVID-19 treatments

If you’re eligible for a new COVID-19 treatment, follow this guide on how to do a PCR test at home and register your test kit. Added video showing how to do a PCR home test. The NHS is offering new antibody and antiviral treatments to people with coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill

 

30 December 2021

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

The guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 has been updated to reflect changes to the self-isolation advice for people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result. It is now possible to end self-isolation after 7 days, following 2 negative LFT tests taken 24 hours apart. The first LFT test should not be taken before the sixth day.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes

How to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents, staff and visiting professionals. Testing within 90 days of a positive result has been updated to care home testing guidance.

Heath and Care Visa expanded for care workers

The government has made care workers eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed them on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) for a 12-month period.

The move follows a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee earlier this month. Inclusion on the SOL will stipulate an annual salary minimum of £20,480 for carers to qualify for the Health and Care Visa.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings

Guidance on regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria has been amended. See the 'testing within 90 days of a positive result' section. Regular retesting involves weekly staff testing and monthly resident test. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult day care centre workers and service users

Guidance setting out how eligible adult day care centres in England can order, test and register regular PCR and lateral flow tests for staff and service users has been amended. See the ‘testing within 90 days of a positive result’ section.

COVID-19: guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Updated guidance for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

Vivaldi 3: Boosters strongly enhance SARS-CoV-2 antibody and cellular responses in elderly residents in care homes

Report setting out the results of a study of 124 staff and residents in 19 long term care homes who have received an mRNA booster following 2 doses of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca between May and November 2021.

23 December 2021

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

Find updated guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 to reflect changes to self-isolation periods for staff in health and care settings.

COVID-19 medical exemptions: proving you are unable to get vaccinated

How to apply for official proof that, for medical reasons, you’re unable to be vaccinated or unable to be vaccinated and tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). Added information on care home staff self-certifying that they’re medically unable to get vaccinated.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care

Find information for people who are caring, unpaid, for friends or family during the COVID-19 pandemic with the updated new guidance on daily testing for contacts of positive cases. Included a new section on face coverings and updated information regarding COVID-19 booster eligibility.

Government announces funding for social care sector

A total of £1.4 billion will be made available over three years to help increase the fee rates local authorities pay to care providers. Further funding of more than £1 billion will also be available for local authorities in 2022/23 to fund social care to help councils respond to rising demand and cost pressures.

This funding follows £300 million announced last week for workforce recruitment and retention.

Winter vaccinations: what you need to know

DHSC has issued a letter to the sector setting out the priority queuing policy for social care workers, agency staff and carers at all vaccination centres. This is a letter care staff can take to a centre to support them to have priority access. Please read and cascade the letter to all colleagues who would benefit. 

A heartfelt thank you message for the holiday season from Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care

A new post, 'A heartfelt thank you' has been published on the Social care blog.  Read the post from Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Deborah Sturdy in the Christmas message.

CQC prioritises activity to help create more capacity in adult social care over winter

As many across the health and social care system work incredibly hard to accelerate and deliver the national booster programme, CQC are continuing to keep our regulatory approach under review.

Vaccinations as a condition of deployment in all healthcare settings

Parliament has passed new legislation on vaccination requirements for staff in healthcare settings. From 1 April 2022 it will become a requirement for all staff providing face to face care to have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccination.

Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund: round 3

The guidance sets out the measures that round 3 of the Infection Control and Testing Fund supports, including distribution of funds, conditions and reporting requirements. Change made: Added 2 new local authority reporting templates (annex E): ‘reporting point 2, due 28 February 2022’ and ‘reporting point 3, due 29 April 2022’.

17 December 2021

Relatives can help loved ones leave hospital — local clinicians

Local clinicians are appealing to relatives who can help loved ones leave hospital, as the NHS and social care enters a difficult winter. Patients who are medically ready to leave hospital can recover more quickly at home.

Updated guidance on care home visits and further steps to keep care home residents safe

The Minister for Care has written to Care Providers and Directors of Adult Social Services to outline measures includes updated guidance on care home visiting. This permits three visitors and an essential care giver per resident.

Staff testing will be increased from two lateral flow tests per week to three as well as a weekly PCR test. Fully vaccinated residents visiting outside care homes will be asked to take a lateral flow test on alternate days for two weeks after a visit. Those not fully vaccinated will be expected to isolate following an external visit.

Care home visits over festive period

The Care Quality Commission has issued a statement highlighting the importance of visits to residents of care homes over the Christmas and New Year's period. The CQC outlines how visits can be carried out in a way that mitigates the risks of COVID-19 infection. And its statement also sets out how visits help alleviate potential isolation experienced by care home residents.

COVID-19 vaccinations received overseas

Information for healthcare practitioners on COVID-19 vaccination received overseas has been made available.

Vaccinations - pregnant women

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has called on all pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The Committee note growing evidence showing that pregnant women are at increased risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 and should be considered a clinical risk group within the vaccination programme.

Designated Settings Indemnity Scheme

The Minister for Care this week announced the extension of the Designated Settings Indemnity Support. This offers targeted and time-limited state-backed indemnity arrangements to care homes that are unable to obtain sufficient insurance cover. It is available to those registered, or intending to register, as 'designated settings'.

DSIS initially provided this until the end of March 2021 and was subsequently extended until 30 September 2021. Now, following a further review of DSIS, it has been extended until 31 March 2022, in order to maintain the current level of support for these vital settings.

Critical cyber security alert

A vulnerability has been found within Apache Foundation Log4j2 (‘Log4j2’) that could enable attackers to access IT systems from where they could deploy cyber attacks such as ransomware.

Care providers should notify their IT teams or person responsible for IT, and ensure actions are taken. The primary action is for IT leads to work with their digital/IT suppliers and follow their advice about mitigating cyber vulnerabilities. Further details are available in this NHSX briefing on Digital Social Care

DHSC research on NHS-Funded Nursing Care

The Department of Health and Social Care is conducting research on NHS-Funded Nursing Care (FNC). If your nursing home has residents who are eligible for FNC, they would like to hear from you. 

Any information you can give will provide valuable insights to inform the 2022-23 FNC rate and assess the impact of COVID-19 on FNC and associated costs in 2021-22. Take part in the research: please contact the team on fnc@dhsc.gov.uk, who will be happy to help.

13 December 2021

Temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination of care home workers extended

A letter about self-certification to reflect an extension to 31 March 2022 for people with medical exemptions is available from the Director of Adult Social Care Delivery. Extending the cut-off for self-certification is designed to allow sufficient time for individuals whose formal medical exemption is unsuccessful to be fully vaccinated before 31 March.

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 has been published. This includes clarified wording around the isolation requirement and to reflect the LFD testing requirement after returning from another country for health and social care staff.

Visiting arrangements in care homes

This guidance is for care providers, directors of public health and others who will be involved in planning to enable visits to care homes. It sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents. Change made: added a comma after ‘emergency stay in hospital’ in the 13th bullet point on the page.

Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for adult social care

Information on the £162.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for local authorities and adult social care providers Find new addition to ‘Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund: examples of allowable activity’.

UK's most vulnerable people to receive COVID-19 treatments in the community

Thousands of vulnerable people are to receive antiviral and antibody treatments for COVID-19 to protect those most at risk from the virus over the winter months. The aim is to reduce the number of hospitalisations and the pressures on the NHS. This will be significant for those who have compromised immune systems and for whom the vaccines can therefore be less effective.

Personal protective equipment recommendation for unpaid carers

This resource outlines PPE advice for unpaid carers who do not live with the person they care for.

Adult social care in England statistics: background quality and methodology

The Department of Health and Social Care publish monthly official statistics (experimental) on adult social care in England to provide a range of information on social care settings including on the impact of COVID-19.

Friday 3 December 2021

COVID-19: stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging patients to home settings

Updated guidance for contacts of people identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and on PCR testing has been published. This has advice on appropriate IPC precautions for stepdown in hospital or discharge to home or residential settings for COVID-19 patients.

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace

The guidance on NHS test and tracing in the workplace has been updated with guidance on the Omicron variant. This includes what to do if you or someone you employ is required to self-isolate. 

PPE Customer Service Team/Capacity Tracker

Providers should be contacted by the PPE Customer Service Team if your PPE Status is RED on the NHS Capacity Tracker. If this does not happen, you can request PPE from the PPE Customer Service Team by calling them on 0800 876 6802.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees

Update advice for pregnant employees on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the pandemic to reflect changes around face covering guidance.

Face coverings poster

A poster to remind people to wear a face covering where they are legally required to do so has been updated to include wording on exemptions.

Government launches new ten-year vision for adult social care 

A ten-year vision for adult social care published on 2 December is aimed at benefiting people who need care, the social care workforce and unpaid carers. The Government has set out further details on how funding from its reforms would be spent over the next three years.

CQC Inspections using remote technology

Following pilot work and a consultation, ASC Inspectors can now undertake care at home inspections without a site visit for home care and extra care housing services, if  criteria are met. The CQC has developed this methodology as a tool for inspectors so they can gather the evidence for home care services without the need to visit. Its website has more information.

CQC fees scheme for 2022/23

The CQC fees scheme, which covers the costs of regulation, will not change in 2022/23. Since there is no change to the fees scheme, you will not be consulted on fees this year. To find out more about fees scheme, how to pay fees, an update on non-payment of fees, and the fees calculator.

Friday 26 November 2021

Visiting arrangements in care homes

Updated guidance to place more emphasis on the fact that visits should take place wherever is most comfortable for the resident. Visiting restrictions due to an outbreak should only be in place for 7 to 8 days following negative testing, and physical contact should be supported to help health and wellbeing.

Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings

This revised guidance is for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. It is describing circumstances in which staff movement may be cautiously permitted to plan for capacity concerns and to ensure continuity of care.

COVID-19 vaccination: what to do if you are medically exempt 

Although vaccination as a condition of deployment in care homes is now fully in force - and will be extended to other health and care settings from April 2022 - not everyone can be vaccinated against COVID-19 for health reasons.

 If you work or volunteer in care homes, you must apply for official proof that, for medical reasons, you're unable to be vaccinated. Please see the updated guidance explaining the process you'll need to follow.

Infection prevention and control: Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care launches new guide

A new IPC Good Practice Guide, written by Professor Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, has been published on Skills for Care. The guide includes good practice examples of IPC for care home staff, domiciliary care workers and infection control teams. Advice and recommendations are informed by lessons learned from the pandemic and will help keep residents, colleagues and service users safe.

 Supported living services during COVID-19

Updated ‘COVID:19: guidance for supported living’ throughout in line with the latest clinical advice from UKHSA. This guidance sets out key messages to assist with planning and preparation in the context of the pandemic so that local procedures can be put in place to minimise risk and provide the best possible support to people in supported living settings.

COVID-19: providing unpaid care

This guidance is for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who cannot cope without their support. This may be because they have a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, mental health condition or an addiction. A further resource gives advice on PPE for unpaid carers.

 COVID-19 vaccination: booster dose resources

Information on the booster dose for health and social care workers that are being offered a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. You can book online, or call 119 to make an appointment to have your booster. Further information on the booster vaccination is available on NHS.UK.

Survey of care workers' experiences of COVID-19

The Personal Social Services Research Unit is seeking views in a national survey of care workers’ experiences during COVID19. This is the second wave of the survey and everyone delivering frontline care in the social care sector is eligible to take part.
A presentation of the wave one findings highlights the significant impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of the social care workforce.
Those who complete the survey will be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher. 
Take part in the survey.

Friday 19 November 2021

National Safeguarding Adults week

Events are being held for the Ann Craft Trusts National Safeguarding Adults week 2021, supported by Dorset and BCP councils and safeguarding adults boards. Each day the trust will focus on a specific topic, which is an opportunity for us to come together to raise awareness of important safeguarding issues. Events include:

Access resources from the Ann Craft trust and request a place on the free online seminars and use the hashtag #SafeguardingAdultsWeek to help raise awareness.

Vaccination as a condition of deployment in across Adult Social Care and NHS and Care Homes

The DHSC has created a stakeholder toolkit with posters, social media assets and Q&As about the new vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care workers.

Subject to parliamentary timetable, the Department expects the regulations will come into force on 1 April 2022, following a 12-week grace period to the 31 March 2022. This is to provide the sector enough time to implement the requirement and minimise any staffing issues that may present over the winter period.

COVID-19 booster vaccine programme for winter 2021 to 2022: JCVI statement, November 2021

Updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the COVID-19 booster vaccine programme for winter 2021 to 2022. This statement sets out further advice from JCVI on extension of the booster programme to revaccinate adults aged 40 to 49 years against COVID-19 to reduce deaths, serious disease and hospitalisations from COVID-19 over the 2021 to 2022 winter period and through 2022.

Friday 12 November 2021

Vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance

All care home workers and other visiting professionals now need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have an exemption or there is an emergency. More information about the exemptions and what is an emergency is detailed in their operational guidance. This guidance is also available in an easy-read version in English.

Infection Prevention and Control Champions Network launched

A new network of adult social care infection prevention and control champions launches 30 November to help maintain and improve standards across the care sector. Run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the scheme is supported by Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care Deborah Sturdy OBE. Lessons learned from the pandemic will be rolled out to help minimise the spread of infections, including COVID-19 and flu.

Make the most of student nurse placements

Skills for Care has launched a first time guidance which supports the understanding of nursing placements within social care settings, thanks to funding from Health Education England.

For employers, it’s a quick and easy way to identify what type of experience their setting can offer to a student nurse and how it maps to the nursing curriculum (future nurse standards of proficiency). It also gives employers a fantastic opportunity to not only develop their training offer but also develop their staff by encouraging them to think about how they could support student nurses in the workplace.

Adult social care in England statistics: background quality and methodology

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) publish monthly official statistics (experimental) on adult social care in England. This publication provides an overview on a range of information on social care settings, with a focus on the impact of COVID-19. Data in these reports includes:

  • first, second and booster doses of COVID-19 vaccinations in social care settings
  • flu vaccinations in social care settings
  • selected infection prevention control (IPC) measures in care homes at national, regional and local authority level
  • staffing levels in care homes at national, regional and local authority level
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) availability in care homes at national, regional and local authority level
  • testing for COVID-19 in care homes at national, regional and local authority level

EU Settlement Scheme

The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for why you did not apply by the deadline. For example, if you are a vulnerable citizen.

The Home Office has announced continuation of funding for many Grant Funded Organisations who are able to provide direct guidance to vulnerable adults who have yet to apply and to those who require support in submitting appeals. All organisations assisting vulnerable adults are encouraged to make contact without delay.

Sign up to EU Settlement Scheme Webinar on (for all organisations supporting vulnerable EU/EEA adults) on 17th November, 24th November or 8th December.

Checking the vaccination status of visiting professionals

From 11 November 2021, all care home workers, and anyone entering a care home, are required to be fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt under the regulations. This includes anyone who is visiting a care home for professional purposes, such as health and social care workers and those providing other services like maintenance, activities or regulatory services. Therefore, please ensure you have measures in place to request the vaccination status of any visiting professionals.

Those who have been vaccinated by the NHS in England can demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination records using the NHS COVID Pass service via the following 3 routes:

  • the NHS App
  • the NHS website – NHS.uk
  • the NHS COVID Pass letter

NHS appointment cards cannot be used as proof of vaccination status.

Read further information on checking the vaccination status of visiting professionals.

Thursday 11 November 2021

Make your data secure

If you were able to attend our recent event, ‘Are you Data Secure? Don't leave your organisation at risk’, we advised that Digital Social Care were preparing some resources to support the data protection implications which providers should consider as part of vaccination as a condition of employment. A draft privacy policy and Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) have been published: COVID-19 vaccination as condition of deployment - Data Protection Support

Wednesday 10 November 2021

COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021

This document outlines the government’s plans for autumn and winter 2021 for England. It includes the government’s “Plan A” - a comprehensive approach designed to steer the country through autumn and winter 2021/22. It also outlines a Plan B which would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS.

Making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes

The government hosted a public consultation from 14 April 2021 to 26 May 2021 on a proposal to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment in care homes with older adults. This is the formal government response to that consultation. Following the consultation, the policy now applies to all care homes.

Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider

Lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need. The general list of providers has now been updated.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Double Vaccination Data for Care Home Workers - Please Update Tracker 

The 11 November 2021 deadline is fast approaching for the requirement of care home staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccination). Please can all care homes ensure your double dose vaccination information is correct on the capacity tracker.

Updated guidance on providing home care

This updated guidance for those who support and deliver care to people in their own homes in England covers topics including personal protective equipment, hospital discharge and testing, and information collection.

Monday 8 November 2021

Restrict workforce movement between care homes and other care settings

This guidance is for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Care home providers should continue to limit all staff movement between settings unless absolutely necessary to help reduce the spread of infection.

People urged to get COVID-19 boosters as almost 10m people jabbed

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid urged eligible people to get their booster vaccines to top-up their immunity over winter. The National Booking Service will be updated on Monday 8 November to allow those eligible for a booster vaccine - people over 50 and those most at risk of COVID-19 - to pre-book their jab five months after their second dose. People will also be able to book by calling 119.

Prepare for Liberty Protection Safeguards

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has produced a video on the new Liberty Protection Safeguards due to come into force next year. The SCIE wants providers to consider how the safeguards can promote practice which aligns with human rights and the Care Act 2014's principles and duties. 

Watch SCIE's LPS video
.

Read LPS fact sheets to find out more.

Friday 5 November 2021

Adult social care: coronavirus (COVID-19) Winter plan 2021 to 2022

The government’s ambitions for the sector and the challenges facing adult social care this winter. The winter plan 2021-22 sets out the:

  • key elements of national support available for the social care sector during winter 2021 to 2022
  • principal actions that local authorities, NHS organisations and social care providers across all settings (including those in the voluntary and community sector) in England should take this winter. Its aims are to ensure that high-quality, safe and timely care is provided to everyone who needs it

Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for adult social care

The main purpose of the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund on the £162.5 million is to support local authorities to address adult social care workforce capacity pressures in their geographical area through recruitment and retention activity this winter in order to:

  • support providers to maintain the provision of safe care and bolstering capacity within providers to deliver more hours of care
  • support timely and safe discharge from hospital to where ongoing care and support is needed
  • support providers to prevent admission to hospital
  • enable timely new care provision in the community
  • support and boost retention of staff within social care

A workforce ‘Made with Care’ has just been published on the Social care blog. Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, is delighted Made with Care, the Government’s new social care recruitment campaign in England, has now launched to encourage many more people to pursue careers in social care. She explains why careers in care are rewarding, flexible and transformative.

First oral antiviral for COVID-19, Lagevrio (molnupiravir), approved by MHRA

The antiviral was found to be safe and effective following a stringent review of the available evidence and is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection, following a positive COVID-19 test and within five days of symptoms onset. 

It works by interfering with the virus’ replication prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease. In clinical trials, Lagevrio was found to be effective in reducing the risk of hospitalisation or death for at-risk non-hospitalised adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 by 50%.

Thursday 4 November 2021

National adult social care recruitment campaign adverts launched

The Department for Health and Social Care has launched a new phase of its national adult social care recruitment campaign, 'Made with Care'. Advertising, including on TV, will reach millions of people. It will direct job seekers to the website www.adultsocialcare.co.uk, where they can find out about careers in the sector and search and apply for jobs near them.

The DHSC is asking providers to run their own recruitment activity up until March, using campaign resources and adding jobs to the national site. The Department said that during the last campaign period, its advertising increased the numbers of people searching for adult social care roles near them on its website by 70%.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees

Advice for pregnant employees on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the COVID-19 pandemic has been updated. The updated guidance reflects changes surrounding shielding requirements and to provide more information on vaccines.

UHD Booster offer of free parking

Everyone who works in social care and are attending the vaccination clinics for a booster vaccine at University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) will get free parking.

Throat and nose test (Innova 25) for care home staff: COVID-19 rapid test kit instructions

A step-by-step guide for COVID-19 self-testing for adult health and social care staff is available. Rapid tests are only for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19. The guide provides information on:

  • staff training

  • kit distribution

  • staff results

  • prepare the test

  • take a swab sample

  • process the sample

  • read and report the result

Watch a video demonstration on how to do a COVID-19 rapid test at home.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Requirement to be vaccinated to enter care homes to come into force

The DHSC has produced a letter for home providers to share with visiting professionals, tradespersons, and volunteers about the new regulations on COVID-19 vaccinations coming into force on 11 November 2021. Download the letter from the Skills for Care website.

The Department has also created a new poster for care homes on the requirement. The poster inform visitors about who needs to show they are vaccinated or exempt under the new regulations.

Over eight million people in the UK receive COVID-19 booster jabs

More than 820,000 boosters have been administered in the last three days, as the Government urges people to get their booster as soon as possible.

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