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May 2021

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 14.05.2021

  1. UK Government Update: List of FREE level 3 qualifications available to eligible adults - The UK Government has recently updated their list of level 3 qualifications that are free if you are aged 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification. A full level 3 qualification is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or 2 A levels. This list will be updated as more qualifications are added. There are currently 44 available qualifications for Health and Social Care - The list of available qualifications can be viewed by clicking here.

To find a qualification provider in your area, please see the list of colleges and training providers able to offer free places for level 3 qualifications. Please Note - Not all qualifications are offered by all providers. Read information on how to apply including the eligibility criteria. If you're 19 to 23 years old you can also access additional qualifications for free. If you're in this age group, contact your local college or the National Careers Service for further information.

  1. CQC Update- COVID-19: Deaths of employees and volunteers in the adult social care sector - Michelle Dyson, Director General for Adult Social Care, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has written to all local authorities and social care providers, encouraging employers to tell DHSC about the deaths of all workers in the adult social care sector, regardless of role or employer, including volunteers. DHSC is committed to doing all it can to ensure that employers, families, and the people who they cared for are given the support they need. Completing this information ensures their response remains as effective as possible. DHSC appreciate that this is another reporting requirement at an incredibly difficult moment for providers and have designed this process to be as light-touch as possible. View the letter here, and if you have any queries regarding this process please send them to ASCcovidinform@dhsc.gov.uk.
  1. How ECC's Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service can help your business - Essex County Council is striving to increase apprenticeships within the county. To provide quality opportunities for learning and development to strengthen the Essex economy. The council's Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service will allow levy payers to use unspent levy to support the apprenticeship training costs for smaller businesses.

Levy paying employers: Don't let your apprenticeship levy go to waste - fund an apprenticeship by gifting part of your levy to another business. Use the Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer service to make the process quick and easy.

Non levy paying employers: Use the Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer service to work with another business and receive help to fund an apprenticeship.

The online system makes the process easy and there is also a dedicated team to support you during this process. Visit the website for further details or contact the team directly at info@essexalts.co.uk

  1. Pain and Palliative Care Forum and Nursing Support Worker Committee - New e-ELCA Learning Pathway - A new learning path for healthcare support workers is now available on e-ELCA. The aim of this learning path is to provide healthcare support workers with a greater understanding and confidence when working with individuals near the end of life and to offer support for their families. It is relevant to all settings including care homes and domiciliary care. Sessions in this path have public access, meaning they can be accessed by logging in with any email address. To access the e-learning please click here.  
  1. Sight And Sound Webinar - Assistive Technology - In partnership with Sight and Sound Technology and Digital Social Care we will be holding a second webinar on Thursday 20 May, at 3pm. This interactive webinar is the second in a series of 6 sessions which will explore the ever-evolving world of assistive technology. The Sight and Sound Technology team will guide you through real life scenarios focusing on individuals with a variety of conditions and specific requirements. As a group we will discuss the suggested solutions and examine how assistive technology can offer support and enable people with a disability in a range of social care settings to maintain their mobility, independence, pursue their hobbies and interests, connect with friends and carers and to operate more effectively in everyday life. The session will end with a Q&A. Register here for the event.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 12.05.2021

  1. UPDATE: UK Government - More restrictions eased for care homes - From Monday 17 May care home residents will be able to have more named visitors and more opportunities to make visits out with no need to self isolate when they return. Please click here to view the UK Government press release.
  1. UPDATE: PHE - How to Work Safely in Care Homes Guidance - Public Health England will be releasing an updated version of their guidance on how to work safely in care homes this week. A webinar will be held on implementing the guidance on May 18 at 10.30 am -12 pm, aimed at individuals working in the sector. Register for the webinar.
  1. REMINDER: Integrated Residential and Nursing (IRN) Framework Refresh and Opening 2021 - The annual refresh process for the Integrated Residential and Nursing Contract (IRN) is now live on Proactis and will close at 12 noon on the 24 May 2021. The proposed effective go live date is 1st August 2021. The IRN Refresh will allow exiting providers to submit revised pricing for new placements and also allow new providers to make a tender submission to join the IRN framework. For more information, including uplift information and help with Proactis, please visit the Residential and Nursing provider hub page.
  1. How affordable is housing in Essex for care staff? - We would like to understand if housing in Essex is affordable to those working in the care sector. This short survey asks questions about individuals' current circumstances and future aspirations for housing. Please forward this on to all your care staff to complete. The survey will run until 28 May.
  1. Provider Forum Meetings - We are preparing to restart the provider forums, which are localised meetings for care providers, ECC and Health. Your input is needed to shape the discussions at these events which are a space for you to raise and discuss issues, talk about lessons learnt and share stories, good or bad. The meetings will now be online to make it easier for as many to attend as possible. Please tell us what topics you would like to discuss, and if you would be willing to talk about any of your experiences by emailing MarketPortal@essex.gov.uk
  1. Train the Trainer: Supporting people who have learning disabilities or autism - The NHS is running a training opportunity for those services which support people who have learning disabilities or autism in the East of England. The training sessions will be on:
      • Thursday 20 May between 10 - 11:30 am
      • Tuesday 25 May between 10 - 11:30 am

To book a space please contact tracey.brennan3@nhs.net

  1. Here for you Hub: COVID-19 Crisis in India - Hertfordshire & West Essex ICS recognises there are a significant number of health and social care staff across Hertfordshire and Essex who may be affected by the current COVID-19 crisis in India. Staff may be experiencing various emotions about this and may be trying to support family and friends in India.

The Here For You Hub would like to offer all health and care staff across East of England the opportunity to attend a webinar with the aim of supporting them with:

      • Reflective space and discussions
      • Identifying emotions
      • Management strategies
      • Support systems

The Webinar will be held on:

  1. Funded nursing apprenticeships for Nursing Homes - We are pleased to be able to offer your staff fully funded Nursing Apprenticeships with places available in the next cohorts starting September and October 2021. We will pay the full cost of the training using our levy funds. This is an excellent opportunity for new and existing staff to develop. Details of the courses available are below as well as contact details should you wish to find out more or proceed. Please note places are limited.

Course

University

Start Date

Application deadline

Contact

Further information

Nursing Associate - Higher Apprenticeship

 

Anglian Ruskin University (ARU)

September 2021

24 May 2021

jo.brown@aru.ac.uk

Nursing Associate Flyer

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner - Higher Apprenticeship

 

Anglian Ruskin University (ARU)

September 2021

24 May 2021

jo.brown@aru.ac.uk

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Flyer

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner - Higher Apprenticeship

 

University of Essex

October 2021

31 July 2021

apprenticeships@essex.ac.uk

Health and Social Care Apprenticeships | University of Essex

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 07.05.2021

  1. National Capacity Tracker - Please ensure that you update the National Capacity Tracker regularly.  This is extremely important with regards to COVID vaccination questions for both staff and residents.  This will ensure that the Vaccination Teams are able to support you and your Home and in addition, assist the National picture on the COVID vaccination programme.

We are aware that some Homes are reporting new incoming residents that are yet to receive dose 1 and in addition, some new residents that are overdue dose 2.  For any help or assistance, please discuss with your local Home Lead.

  1. The ECL Reablement Contract - The ECL Reablement Contract went live on Tuesday, 4th May, and will run for a period of up to 3 years. This contract seeks to embed Partnership working to enable more people to become more independent through working in a holistic, joined up way. 

We will be analysing and optimising reablement and the wider intermediate care system throughout the contract, through having an increased focus on outcomes.  We will seek opportunities to share information regarding contract and system performance with measures including number of people who start reablement, finish their support in a planned way, length of outcomes etc. 

There are a number of principles that underpin the contract, including:

      • Improving outcomes for people in Essex
      • Promoting independence
      • Simplifying the fragmented system of services currently in place
      • Optimising the current Intermediate Care offer

We anticipate seeing significant change to the intermediate care system over the life of this contract as we move towards Alliance based contracting models and value the input from partners, including our long term care providers in securing the best possible outcomes for the people of Essex. More information can be found here.

  1. ECC Share Economy: Library of Things - Essex County Council is setting up a "Library of Things" where residents will be able to borrow items such as gardening and DIY tools, outdoor equipment and home appliances. This service aims to promote the sharing economy, support disadvantaged communities and reduce waste.  We are calling on local businesses to show their support to the project by donating new items to our stock from our wish list.

In return, we will list the business on the Library of Things Sponsor Page (launching in summer 2021), on BLUEPRINT social media channels and the upcoming newsletter, as well as on the Love Essex media channels and newsletter, which reaches 18,000 subscribers across the county. Please contact blueprint.project@essex.gov.uk for more information and to get involved.

  1. 2021 Queen's Nurse applications are now open - applications for the Queen's Nurse title are now open.

General criteria required to apply for the Queen's Nurse title:

      • Currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (please make sure your NMC record is up to date)
      • Minimum of working five years in a community or primary care setting including education
      • Currently working in England, Wales or Northern Ireland with people in their own homes or other community-based settings
      • Must have support from your direct line manager who has managed you for at least six months
      • Must have support from your professional/clinical lead who has worked with you for at least six months
      • Must not be under investigation by the NMC
      • Must not be under investigation by your employing organisation
      • Must not be the subject of any disciplinary proceedings

The application process:

      • Read the guidance and frequently asked questions.
      • Request your Unique Reference Number (URN) by 5pm on Tuesday 18th May 2021 by completing the online form.
      • Follow the instructions in the email.
      • Request evidence in support of your application from your direct line manager
      • Request evidence in support of your application from your professional/clinical lead
      • Request evidence in support of your application from two individual/client/colleague/student contributors (depending on your current role)  
      • Ensure all the completed forms, including contributors' forms, are completed online by 5pm on Tuesday 15th June 2021.

Deadlines:

      • The deadline for requesting a URN is 5pm on Tuesday 18 May 2021.  
      • The final deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 15 June 2021. Application and all contribution forms have to be submitted online by this date. Documents received after this date/time will not be considered.

Workshops
The Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) has developed a 'Race, Equality and Inclusivity Action Plan' for 2021. The plan contains specific  targets, that include increasing the number of new Queen's Nurses who receive the title each year from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. To support this they are holding a workshop for applicants from a BAME background on 17 May or 18 May.

      • If you would like to register for 17th May 2-4pm, please click here.
      • If you would like to register for 18th May 10am-12pm, please click here.

The QNI is fully committed to promoting and achieving diversity and equity in all of our professional networks.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 05.05.2021

  1. Offer to care home staff to increase vaccine take up - Are some of your staff still yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19? Essex & Southend Contact Tracing Service (ESCTS) would like to offer an opportunity to these staff members to speak with a member of their team to talk through their concerns.

We recognise the need to increase vaccine confidence, but as there are many false news stories these conversations will be a safe place to raise and discuss concerns. Please call 01245 904033, selecting option 3 to arrange a call.

  1. Video update on older people residential and nursing services and invitation to ask questions - Essex County Council have produced a video which covers trends in the older people care home market, ECCs strategic direction, support for residential providers and the Integrated Residential and Nursing (IRN) refresh 2021. The video can be viewed here, and a copy of the slides used in the presentation is also available by clicking here.

You can ask ECC questions about anything in the presentation via Slido (details below), which will be open until 10 May. We will then publish the questions and our answers on the provider hub and via the Provider Resilience bulletin.

      • Ask a question via Slido:
      • Go to: https://www.sli.do/?
      • Enter code #: 9323?
      • Ask your question? (closes 10 May)
  1. Recall Notification - A product recall has been issued for BD VenflonT Pro Safety Needle Protected IV Cannula that has been sterilized with ethylene oxide (EtO) - Which can be viewed here. For further information on the recall and links to the searchable database below to search by product lot number(s) or product catalog number(s) - Please visit the website.
  1. UPDATE - Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult day care centre workers and service users - The UK Government updated their guidance to reflect that rapid lateral flow tests are now available to adult day care centre workers and service users, and can be viewed here.
  1. UPDATE - Care Provider Hub Equipment Catalogue - A new item, the Molift Raiser Pro will soon be added to the Care Provider Hub Equipment Catalogue. The ETAC 'Sit to Stand Solutions' guide provides further information on the applications of the product.
  1. Care home residents visiting out from care homes, including to vote - The Department for Health and Social Care has issued supplementary guidance for people living in care homes regarding visits out of their home, to take effect from 4 May. The guidance sets out how care home residents will be able to go out to vote, subject to the below safeguards, without the need to isolate for 14 days on their return. This is in the context of wider guidance for care home residents, enabling them to leave their care homes to spend time outdoors, without the need to isolate on their return.

When visiting a polling station, the following measures should be in place:

      • Residents should be accompanied to the polling station by a member of care home staff to help facilitate a safe journey; and
      • Residents (and staff accompanying them) should adhere to all social distancing measures in place at the polling station. 

The UK Government has consistently advised electors wishing to use a postal or proxy vote to apply early, and the deadline for absent vote applications has now closed. Therefore many people living in care homes will have already arranged to use a proxy or postal vote to exercise their right to vote. However, where people living in care homes are registered to vote in person, care providers should take all reasonable steps to support them to do so, and the supplementary guidance provided by the Government will facilitate this.

An emergency proxy vote can be obtained by 5pm on polling day if adhering to coronavirus advice or guidance would prevent a resident from going to the polling station. This would be the case, for example, where a resident has tested positive for COVID-19 or there has been an outbreak in their care home. If you have any questions on this matter please contact may-21-queries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

  1. Bereavement Support - Now and Next - The East of England Population Health Research Hub in collaboration with the National Bereavement Alliance and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East of England are holding an online event:
      • Bereavement support now and next - What are we learning from the pandemic? A research, practice and policy symposium

The Covid-19 pandemic has directly bereaved hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, and impacted on the bereavement of millions more. Researchers have worked fast to shed light on the support that people need in this context and how bereavement services can be delivered; and service providers have developed new ways of working in response to new needs and constraints. Th event will showcase new findings and develop a set of policy and research priorities to strengthen support for those bereaved now and in the future.

The event will be on Wednesday 19 May 2021 between 2.00 - 5.00 pm, to register for the event please click here

 

April 2021

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 30.04.2021

  1. Do you have a staff member who is passionate about care and would like to be part of our campaign to promote careers in care? - We know it is often difficult to find and keep staff, but through our digital campaign we're already reaching thousands of individuals interested in care roles. Case studies of local staff will help boost the campaign, promote the variety of roles on offer and put positive stories into the media.

We are particularly keen to hear from staff of providers delivering mental health or learning disability services. Please get in touch MarketPortal@essex.gov.uk

  1. Capacity Tracker - Avoidance of Error Messages - A poster to assist care homes and hospices with completion of core elements of vacancy and business continuity information on the capacity tracker to void error messages has been produced, and can be viewed here.
  1. Guidance: Dementia and Old People's Mental Health - The NHS has produced a guidance document for Primary Care Networks and Care Home's regarding Dementia and Old People's Mental Health which can be viewed here.
  1. Availability reminder for referrals at weekends and bank holidays - Please note for Live at Home referrals you should continue to respond 9am-5pm Saturdays, and 10am-4pm Sundays and bank holidays. For residential referrals you should be available to respond 8am-8pm every day. Please could staff who can decide on accepting or declining referrals be available, and if there are specific telephone numbers for SPT to call over the weekend contact the Service Placement Team email - Service.PlacementTeam@essex.gov.uk
  1. Better Security Better Care - Free support for Care Providers - As a part of the National Better Security Better Care programme, HCPA is now supporting registered care providers to meet required legal requirements for Data Protection standards. HCPA offers a free service, providing virtual / face-to-face information workshops and follow up one-on-one support surgeries, where they will work with Providers to complete and publish the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) - A series of questions which allow registered care providers to show they comply with the law / NHS Data Protection Standards, and are meeting CQC regulations. A video detailing the benefits of the service can be viewed here.

For further information please visit HCPA's website, or contact them on 01707 708 018 OR dataprotection@hcpa.co.uk

  1. Supported Living Framework - The Supported Living Framework has been reopened for applications. Providers of supported living services for adults with disabilities will need to register on Proactis in order to access this opportunity. Bids will need to be submitted by 23rd June
  1. Essex Care Search: Register your care home - Essex Care Search is a free online tool which allows care homes to promote and advertise bed vacancies. People searching for care homes through the Essex Care Search website, including users from Essex County Council and Health Partners, can send booking requests for rooms to your home. Essex Care Search provides a number of benefits including:
      • Increased visibility of your care home to people searching for care home beds
      • Free advertising to the public from June 2021
      • A free tool to assist with managing your rooms / beds
      • eEnables the tracking of booking requests from Essex County Council and Health Partners.

You can find out more information about Essex Care Search on our provider hub website.

If you would like to register to use Essex Care Search or would like further information, please contact one of the Essex Care Search team at support@essexcaresearch.org or 03330 322 939.

  1. Co-Production Week for the Direct Payment (DP) Redesign  - Week Commencing 10th May 2021 - As you may be aware the Personalisation and Physical Impairments (PIP) Commissioning Team have been running Personalisation and DP Redesign workshops in collaboration with 'Think Local Act Personal' (TLAP) from late 2020 to early 2021. After a series of workshops we have now amended the feedback received and turned them into statements so that whilst it still portrays the need for change it can be done so in a tangible way going forward.

Due to the positive response of the workshops we thought it would be a good idea to make use of the opportunity and devise some shorter DP Co-Production workshops where we could focus in on some specific themes that have emerged. These workshops are open to people with Lived Experience of using Direct Payments's and for professionals involved in or interested in the DP redesign work. We have put together four 1.5 hour workshops from the 10th May to the 13th May - Please click on the below links to register: 

These will be fully interactive sessions where we will be looking at what is within scope of our work to ultimately shape and define the commissioning intentions for the new ECC DP offer which is across all age groups. Further information detailing how the sessions will be set up and what as a group we will be looking to achieve from this can be viewed here. Detailed pre-reads and agenda's will be sent on to attendees closer to the workshop date. If you have any questions please contact: Tom Henry - Senior Commissioning Officer - Tom.Henry@essex.gov.uk.

 

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 28.04.2021

  1. Reminder: Infection Control and Rapid Test Fund - Responses Due by Friday 30 April 2021 -  Agreements were sent to providers on Friday, 23 April 2021 for this further round of Infection Control funding.  Please email your acceptance or decline to infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk by this Friday, 30 April 2021.
  1. Reminder: Census 2021 - Request to help your clients if they haven't yet completed the questionnaire - Everyone in the UK should have completed their census by now. However we realise some of our most vulnerable residents may not have done so. Please can we ask you to check with your clients, asking if they have completed their Census. If they haven't, or are uncertain, then please direct them to the local helpline on 03456 037 638, stating they want to complete their census over the phone. They will not have to go online or fill in a form, they can simply give their information over the phone.

A trusted friend or relation can help them complete the census if necessary.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 23.04.2021

  1. Infection Control Fund & Rapid Test Fund: Agreements being issued from today - Due to the success of the Infection Control Fund and the Rapid Testing Fund in supporting care providers, these funding streams have been extended until June 2021.  This is a new grant, with separate conditions. The Infection Control Team are issuing agreements to providers and will be sent out from today, via email.  Please look out for this in your inbox and check your junk/spam. The purpose of the fund in summary is:
      • To reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective infection prevention and control practices and increase uptake of staff vaccination
      • To conduct additional rapid testing of staff and visitors in care homes, high-risk supported living and extra care settings, to enable close contact visiting where possible

Further details can also be located on this local authority circular

  1. UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes - The UK Government has released an update to their guidance on how to access test kits and on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents, staff and visiting professionals.
  1. UPDATE: Visiting arrangements in care homes - The UK Government has released an update to their guidance that sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents, to reflect the availability of self-testing for visitors.
  1. UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings - The UK Government has released an update to their guidance on regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria, to reflect the re-activation of the self-referral portal.
  1. UPDATE: Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19) - The UK Government has released an update to their guidance for providers of supported living settings, to reflect the availability of self-testing for visitors.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 21.04.2021

  1. Important: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccination availability 22 & 23 April - There is an opportunity for health and care staff to access their first dose of the Moderna vaccine tomorrow (22 April) and Friday (23 April) from the Towngate Theatre in Basildon Town Centre as well as other local clinic sites. Staff will need to book via the National Booking Service and use slots at the Towngate Theatre over 22 and 23 April.

You will need to self-declare as health and care staff and bring staff ID/payslip to the site to confirm your employment.

  1. UPDATE: National Booking Service - booking functionality reinstated for self-declaring health and social care workers - Earlier this month, functionality for frontline eligible health and social care workers to book their COVID-19 vaccination through the National Booking Service (or call 119) through self-referral temporarily stopped. As of Monday 19 April, this functionality for frontline eligible health and social care workers has been reinstated.
  1. Census 2021: Request to help your clients if they haven't yet completed the questionnaire - Everyone in the UK should have completed their census by now. However we realise some of our most vulnerable residents may not have done so. Please can we ask you to check with your clients, asking if they have completed their Census. If they haven't, or are uncertain, then please direct them to the local helpline on 03456 037 638, stating they want to complete their census over the phone. They will not have to go online or fill in a form, they can simply give their information over the phone.

A trusted friend or relation can help them complete the census if necessary.

  1. Government Consultation on making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for care home workers - please can we encourage you to complete the government consultation on making COVID vaccination a condition of work for people who work in older people residential settings. Read more and access the consultation.

ECC is putting together a response to the survey and would welcome your thoughts on the proposals so we can consider them as part of our submission. If you have any specific input to inform our response please send it via Essex Care Association (ECA) - office@essexcare.org.uk.

Additionally, we'd like to highlight the importance of regularly updating the Capacity Tracker and ensuring the data you input is accurate. The information we receive from the tracker informs decisions and identifies where we need to direct resources. But where data is missing or inaccurate it's likely you will be contacted by us or Health colleagues, which we would like to keep to a minimum.

  1. Councils make it easier to get financial support to self-isolate - Councils across Essex have worked together to make it easier for people who have to self-isolate to get a £500 support payment if they need it. People must, by law, self-isolate if they are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or Essex and Southend contact tracing. Essex County Council and the 12 borough, city and district councils in Essex have made it easier for people on low incomes to apply for a discretionary £500 payment if they're unable to work from home while self-isolating. This includes those who are told to self-isolate because they:
      • test positive for Covid-19
      • are a parent/guardian with a self-isolating child
      • live with someone else who tests positive
      • have contact with someone in their childcare or support bubble who tests positive.

Previously each local council set its own criteria and take-up was inconsistent. Now they have agreed common criteria and simplified the process. The new scheme came into effect on Thursday 15 April.

Employed people who earn less than £500 per week (net), have household savings below £16,000, are not on benefits and meet other existing criteria are now eligible. This includes self-employed and zero-hours contract workers.

Employees who are in receipt of benefits may be eligible for the national scheme.

 Find out more information about support while you are self-isolating and how to apply for payments from your local council

  1. Infection Prevention and Control Audits to assist care homes - As part of our COVID recovery work ECC are pleased to have commissioned Infection Prevention Solutions (IPS) to conduct infection prevent and control (IPC) audits of care homes in Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock). The report from the audit will support you in making changes to ensure the safety of our residents. IPS will also be on hand to provide further information and advice on your report. The 12 month programme is based on supporting care homes going forward with infection prevention and control.

Audits will take place at a time suitable for you with early, late and weekend appointments available as well as during the day.

Please look out for the invitation from IPS.

  1. Care Home visitor status on the Capacity Tracker -Further to the recent announcement that care homes can now facilitate up to two regular visitors per care home resident, please review your visitor status for the question 'Can Residents Receive Visitors' in the Capacity Tracker. Full guidance on visiting can be found at: Guidance on care home visiting.
  1. Mid and South Essex - 3D's Webinar - The Regional Mental Health Team, NHS England and NHS Improvement, would like to raise awareness and understanding of the 3Ds (dementia, depression and delirium) and improve the health and wellbeing of those affected by these conditions; and have commissioned Life Story Network and Tide (Together in Dementia Everyday)  to deliver 2 half days of training.

Using the Teams on-line platform the training is focused on older adults who are living in their own homes, either alone or with unpaid carers, who may be more isolated; and aimed at domiciliary care workers who come into contact with this group. The training will focus on:

      • Person Centred Care and Support
      • Purposeful Activity
      • Responding to Distress
      • Adapting the living environment

Further information on the content of the training is available here, and Life Story Network's resource called 'Knowing me Pro' which elaborates on their personalised approach is available here.  10 places are available on the training and participants would need to commit to attending both half days. The dates of the two half days are:

      • 9.30-12.30pm, Thursday 24 June 2021
      • 9.30-12.30pm, Thursday 1 July 2021

To book one of the 10 available spaces on the training please email Sarah Leet: s.leet@nhs.net by 4May.

  1. Nightingale Bursary: Fully funded courses still available - ECC launched the Nightingale Bursary in August to give opportunities for existing Care Workers to develop their skills. We still have some places available so don't wait as funding will end in July. All the information including how to apply is in this brochure, and you can contact the team via email - acl.businessdevelopment@essex.gov.uk   

 

Important: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccination availability 22 & 23 April

There is an opportunity for all remaining health and care staff to access their first dose of the Moderna vaccine tomorrow (22 April) and Friday (23 April) from the Towngate Theatre in Basildon Town Centre as well as other local clinic sites.

Staff will need to book via the national booking system and use slots at the Towngate Theatre over 22 and 23 April.

You will need to self-declare as health and care staff and bring staff ID/payslip to the site to confirm your employment.

 

Councils make it easier to get financial support to self-isolate (19.04.2021)

Councils across Essex have worked together to make it easier for people who have to self-isolate to get a £500 support payment if they need it.

People must, by law, self-isolate if they are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or Essex and Southend contact tracing. Essex County Council and the 12 borough, city and district councils in Essex have made it easier for people on low incomes to apply for a discretionary £500 payment if they're unable to work from home while self-isolating.

This includes those who are told to self-isolate because they:

  • test positive for Covid-19
  • are a parent/guardian with a self-isolating child
  • live with someone else who tests positive
  • have contact with someone in their childcare or support bubble who tests positive.

Previously each local council set its own criteria and take-up was inconsistent. Now they have agreed common criteria and simplified the process. The new scheme comes into effect tomorrow, Thursday 15 April.

Employed people who earn less than £500 per week (net), have household savings below £16,000, are not on benefits and meet other existing criteria are now eligible. This includes self-employed and zero-hours contract workers.

Employees who are in receipt of benefits may be eligible for the national scheme.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health for Essex said "Thanks to everything the people of Essex have done Covid-19 case rates have gone from among the highest in England to about a third of the national average. But we can't let down our guard. I urge people to get tested regularly, whether they have symptoms or not, and to self-isolate if they or someone they're in contact with tests positive.

"If you carry on going out to work because you're worried about losing money, you could be spreading the virus. These changes to the discretionary test and trace support scheme will help more people to self-isolate."

For more information about support while you are self-isolating and to apply for payments from your local council see essex.gov.uk/support-if-you-are-self-isolating.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 16.04.2021

  1. Census 2021: Request to help your clients if they haven't yet completed the questionnaire - Everyone in the UK should have completed their census by now. However we realise some of our most vulnerable residents may not have done so. Please can we ask you to check with your clients, asking if they have completed their Census. If they haven't, or are uncertain, then please direct them to the local helpline on 03456 037 638, stating they want to complete their census over the phone. They will not have to go online or fill in a form, they can simply give their information over the phone.

A trusted friend or relation can help them complete the census if necessary.

  1. COVID-19 Response Funding Round 2:  COVID-19 Response Fund is now available for expenditure incurred during the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.  New budgets are available by contacting the team and process to claim can be found here. Please download the new revised claim form for all claims.   

The deadline for any claims for expenditure during 19 March 2020 to 31 March 2021 has now passed.  Any claims for this period submitted after 6 April 2021 will be processed using the new budget. For queries, please contact the team on email covid19responsefunding@essex.gov.uk

  1. Capacity Tracker - Guidance - Based on feedback and frequently asked questions from providers the following one page guidance documents have been produced by the Capacity Tracker Support Centres.
  1. Oral Health Training - Community Dental Services (CDS) have been commissioned to support providers with free oral care training to enable early intervention. The training will help providers gain confidence in oral care and enhance skills in delivering mouth care. Please see more information and how to book a place for the specific training dates throughout May 2021 that have been set out to support particular patient groups:
      • Care homes teams/Older people
      • Early years and child care teams
      • Adults with additional needs
      • Children with additional needs

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 14.04.2021

  1. Important information regarding 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccinations for care staff who received their 1st Pfizer vaccination at The Princess Alexandra Hospital - The Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow, CM20 1QX) will cease providing 2nd dose Pfizer vaccinations (to care staff who received a 1st does at the hospital) as of today (14 April). If staff are unsure of appointments and have not received a new one before this date, or are also having difficulties in receiving Pfizer boosters elsewhere, please email paht.shawcovid19@nhs.net for further information and assistance.
  1. Change in Care Home Visitation Guidance - The UK Government has released guidance that care homes can now facilitate up to two regular visitors per care home resident. Full guidance on this and how to do it safely can be found at: Guidance on care home visiting.
  1. North East Essex Home Care / Domiciliary Care Providers ONLY - Free IPC Training - A free 1 hour Microsoft Teams webinar is being offered to North East Essex Home care and Domiciliary Care Providers to help refresh Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) knowledge in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar will be running on the following dates:
      • 6th April at 2pm - Limited places available
      • 12th April at 2pm - Limited places available
      • 20th April at 2pm - Limited places available
      • 11th May at 3:30pm
      • 18th May at 2pm
      • 25th May at 3:30pm
      • 3rd June at 2pm

To book a place on the webinar please contact Amanda Cowan: amanda.cowan3@nhs.net

  1. Bitesize Staff Wellbeing Webinar - Thursday 22nd April, 11:00 - 12:30 - Essex Care Association is aware that staff wellbeing is a big concern for its members right now and so have organised the following 'bite-size' webinar which they hope will be useful. The programme is as follows:
      • 'Here for You' - Judith Friedman of EPUT speaks about the support that is available to all care staff in Essex who are struggling with the impact of the pandemic. Includes the 'reflective practice' work 'Here for You' are doing with care homes.
      • Resources for Wellbeing - Emma White of Skills for Care will talk through the online resources they have for wellbeing, including the Manager's Toolkit.
      • Monitoring and Supporting Staff Wellbeing - Louise Newman of Umbrella (formerly critiQuie) will speak about the easy to use tools they have available.

This will be followed a brief Q&A.

If you would like to join for all or part of the webinars, please email: office@essexcare.org.uk and you will be sent the link.

 

Important information regarding 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccinations for care staff who received their 1st Pfizer vaccination at The Princess Alexandra Hospital (13.04.2021)

The Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow, CM20 1QX) will cease providing 2nd dose Pfizer vaccinations (to care staff who received a 1st does at the hospital) as of 14 April.

If staff are unsure of appointments and have not received a new one before this date, or are also having difficulties in receiving Pfizer boosters elsewhere, please email paht.shawcovid19@nhs.net for further information and assistance.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 09.04.2021

  1. COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Updates: 1st Vaccinations and alternatives for under 30's -  As mentioned in Wednesday's bulletin the National Booking Service is currently not accepting any first vaccination appointments for health and social care workers. Instead you will now need to book your first vaccination appointment through a Primary Care Network-led local vaccination service. There are two vaccination centres that are currently offering appointments for those aged 30 and over: 
      • The Lodge, Wickford - doses are available up until Sunday 11 April
      • The JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester - doses are available Sunday 11 April

Appointments can be booked online via Shift Partner. Further appointments will become available in the coming weeks and we will post an update via the bulletin as soon as we have the details.

Please Note: If you have already received your first vaccination and need to book your second vaccination appointment you will still be able to do this via the online National Booking Service.

Additionally, this week the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new advice, concerning a possible link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine and extremely rare, unlikely to occur blood clots. As a result people under the age of 30 in the UK will now be offered an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab. If you'd like more information about this please take a look at the information leaflet published by Public Health England or visit the Government website. We will continue to keep you updated as and when more information becomes available.

  1. Covid-19 Financial Support: Infection Control Fund & Rapid Test Fund - Due to the success of the Infection Control Fund and the Rapid Testing Fund in supporting care providers to reduce transmission and re-enabling close contact visiting, these funding streams have been extended until June 2021.  This is a new grant, with separate conditions. The purpose of the fund in summary is:
      • To reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective infection prevention and control practices and increase uptake of staff vaccination
      • To conduct additional rapid testing of staff and visitors in care homes, high-risk supported living and extra care settings, to enable close contact visiting where possible

The Infection Control Team will be contacting providers with further details soon and further details can also be located on this local authority circular. Please ensure all final schedules have been returned and the national capacity tracker is completed at least weekly.

  1. Integrated Residential and Nursing (IRN) Framework Refresh and Opening 2021 - The annual refresh process for the Integrated Residential and Nursing Contract (IRN) is now live on Proactis and will close at 12 noon on the 24 May 2021. The proposed effective go live date is 1st August 2021. The IRN Refresh will allow exiting providers to submit revised pricing for new placements and also allow new providers to make a tender submission to join the IRN framework. For more information, including uplift information and help with Proactis, please visit the Residential and Nursing provider hub page.
  1. Webinar Series: Exploring the World of Assistive Technology - Skills for Care, Digital Social Care and Sight and Sounds are holding a new free webinar series designed to inform adult social care providers about the range of assistive technology available to support people who are visually challenged or who have visual processing or other sensory challenges.

Who should attend?

      • Activity Co-Ordinators
      • Personal Assistants
      • Care/support worker
      • Registered Managers
      • Senior Care Staff
      • Individuals who make purchasing decisions around technology
      • Social Workers
      • Occupational therapists

The first webinar will take place on Thursday 22nd April, between 3pm and 4pm. For more information and to book your free place please click here.

  1. Webinar: Apprentice Training Agency (ATA) for Maldon -  If your organisation is either based in Maldon or delivers services in Maldon or the surrounding areas, an Apprentice Training Agency (ATA) can support recruitment within your organisation. ECC are running a session on how an ATA works and the benefits it can offer to your organisation on Tuesday 27th April between 10.30-11am. If you would like to attend this session please email Annette Hall at Annette.hall@essex.gov.uk to book a place.
  1. Webinar: Developing and Commissioning Quality in Care Homes -  My Home Life England are hosting a free webinar which will focus on developing and commissioning quality in care homes during times of uncertainty. The webinar will include contributions from a range of leaders who work with and in care homes at local, regional and national level. The webinar will take place on Thursday 29th April at 11am. For more information and to register for the event please click here or email mhl@city.ac.uk to book a place.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 07.04.2021

  1. National Booking System update for vaccination updates - Affecting first dose appointments - With immediate effect, the National Booking System will not accept any new bookings for first doses from health and social care workers or unpaid carers. This will not affect the ability of health and social care workers or unpaid carers to book their second dose, when they have already had their first dose.  This means that from now eligible frontline health and social care workers and carers who are unknown to the system will need to use alternative routes, including Primary Care Network-led local vaccination services. We are currently establishing from NHS partners the best way for how health and care workers can access these PCN-led vaccination services. 
  1. FREE Essex Care Association (ECA) Membership 2021 - In recognition of the exceptional challenges that the care sector is facing, becoming an ECA member is FREE until the end of 2021. ECA would love for you to have the opportunity to connect with like-minded people working in the same sector; share views, or concerns; and keep up to date with what's new in social care across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. ECA continue to work to influence the Local Authorities to develop contracts with the provider market that are fair, sustainable, and workable for all parties. To apply - Please complete this application form.
  1. UK Government Guidance Update for providers of supported living during COVID-19 - The UK Government has released an update to their guidance resource for providers of supported living settings during COVID-19. The update advises that in the 'COVID-19: Guidance for supported living' resource it has replaced the 'Visitors and support bubbles' section with the new 'Visits in and out of supported living settings' section. The guidance can be accessed here.
  1. UK Government Update - Extension to Free COVID-19 PPE Supply - The UK Government has released an update to their resource page for adult social care providers on COVID-19 guidance and support. The update advises that the resource page has been updated to reflect that free COVID-19 PPE provision for the ASC sector has been extended to March 2022. The resource page can be accessed here.
  1. Video Resources: Reopening Care Homes to Visitors - COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, especially for residents, family and friends unable to visit each other during lockdown. With this in mind, the Better Care Fund team in the North East and Yorkshire have been working alongside Roots and Wings to produce a series of animations that provide support to those working in social care. The first two animations offered information on what PPE to wear in all situations, when providing direct care, and information on how you may need to adapt your approach to suit individual needs. Now, Roots and Wings and the Better Care Fund team are pleased to share two additional videos which offer support to both staff and visitors and provide information on the measures that need to be taken on both sides when visiting care homes. The videos can be found using the following links:

Skills for Care has also created a new web page, which details the funded recruitment and development initiatives that are available.

  1. Reminder: COVID-19 Financial Support - March / Final Reports Due - The March/Final reports for Infection Control Fund 2, Rapid Test Fund and Workforce Capacity Fund are due by Friday 09 April 2021. To have the template resent or if you have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 01.04.2021

  1. National Booking System update for vaccination updates - affecting first dose appointments- We have just been informed that with immediate effect, the National Booking System will not accept any new bookings for first doses from health and social care workers or unpaid carers. This will not affect the ability of health and social care workers or unpaid carers to book their second dose, when they have already had their first dose.  We are awaiting details on when the system will be re-opened to enable health and social care workers who have not had a first dose to make their first appointment. We will update you when we have clarity on the position.

 

March 2021

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 31.03.2021 

  1. Mental Health Awareness Training- Free mental health awareness training for care home and domiciliary care staff in North East Essex will be taking place on 24th May 2021 between 9am- 2pm. The course will teach people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing mental ill health. More information and booking information can be found here. 
  1. Reminder: COVID-19 Vaccinations - Please continue to encourage your staff to book their vaccinations via the National Booking Service website. Please also continue to input your organisation data on vaccinations on the national Capacity Tracker. Latest data shows that 77% care home staff and 70% homecare workers have now been vaccinated - these are above the national average but are below the very high rates of vaccination seen among the general population.  We would continue to encourage care workers to be vaccinated. 

We would like to inform you that our vaccination inbox providervaccines@essex.gov.uk will be closing effective from the 1st April 2021, due to a fall in the volume of enquiries and due to simpler arrangements for booking vaccinations via the national booking service now being in place. If there are any further vaccination queries please direct these to ProviderResilience@essex.gov.uk. Please also let us know if there is any support or help you might value from ECC or the NHS to address any questions and concerns your staff might have about vaccination and we will look to support you to address them. 

  1. Payments for Sleep-in shifts- Further to the recent Supreme Court ruling on payments for sleep-in shifts, the Council would like to advise that there will be no be change to the rates we pay for supported living and domiciliary care sleep-in shifts under any relevant contracts or current published tenders.  For clarity, these are the rates paid for services commissioned as 24 hr care / live in services and the night-sleeping services.  These services will continue at their existing published rates and will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis. 
  1. COVID-19 Financial Support - March / Final Reports Due: The March/Final reports for Infection Control Fund 2, Rapid Test Fund and Workforce Capacity Fund are now due. The deadlines are as follows:

 

Fund

Report Name

Deadline 

Expenditure Period

Infection Control Fund 2

Schedule 4

09-Apr-21

01 Oct 20 - 31 Mar 21

Rapid Test Fund

Schedule 5

09-Apr-21

02 Dec 20 - 31 Mar 21

Workforce Capacity Fund

Schedule 6

09-Apr-21

16 Jan 21 - 31 Mar 21

 

Helpful information is provided with regards to how to complete the template correctly detailed below:

  • Ensure the latest template is used with the final grant amount
  • Spend should be cumulative of the whole period and not only for March
  • Total spend column should equal forecasted spend and grant allocation 
  • Underspend will need to be repaid to ECC in line with grant terms and conditions
  • Continue to ensure the capacity tracker is updated at least weekly 

To have the template resent or if you have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 26.03.2021

  1. COVID-19 Response Funding Round 2: Launching Soon! - Round 2 of the COVID-19 Response Fund will commence for expenditure incurred during the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.  New budgets and processes to claim will be communicated soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to submit round 1 claims for expenditure between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 by deadline midday 6 April 2021.  For queries, please contact the team on email covid19responsefunding@essex.gov.uk
  1. Informing ECC of deaths of adults in your service - Please could we sensitively remind providers to notify ECC of the death of any adult within their service to ensure that records can be updated accordingly and in a timely way. To notify us please complete this form and send it to SPT.BereavementTeam@essex.gov.uk. Thank you.
  1. Reminder: COVID-19 Vaccinations - Please continue to encourage your staff to book their vaccinations via the National Booking Service website. If you would welcome any support or advice from ECC please let us know - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. Please also continue to input your organisation data on vaccinations on the national Capacity Tracker. Thank you.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 24.03.2021

  1. Capacity Tracker: information is being reviewed daily by system partners - please aim to update your vaccination data daily on the Capacity Tracker and ensure information is accurate. The information uploaded is seen by Local Authorities, CQC, Public Health England and National Vaccination teams as well as Regional teams across DoHSC.

If you need any support please contact the Support Centre on: 0191 691 3729.

  1. Home Care Capacity Tracker: Drop In Sessions - To support home care providers with onboarding and how to update the Capacity Tracker regularly, there are series of brief 30 minutes drop in sessions.  These will be held via Microsoft Teams on the following dates/times.  Click on the links below to join the session at the specified time:
  1. Professional visits to Care Homes- you should now be complying with the recently updated visiting guidance for professional visits, as per the message in last Friday's bulletin. As a reminder the full Government guidance can be found here.
  1. Expiry of Domiciliary financial support arrangements - the arrangements set out in the letter dated 18 March 2020 will end on 3April 2021. ECC had agreed for providers to invoice for all commissioned hours, with a flex down by up to 25% (actual delivered hours of care being no less than 75% of that commissioned) to support care providers.  In addition, ECC agreed an additional 25% contact time for each service user if required, without the requirement to obtain upfront approval - details of the letter can be found here.  From 4th April please revert to the usual process if an increase to a care package is required. For a temporary increase, please use the SVO process via the Service Placement Team. Requests must be received by the SVO Team within 28 days. Please send to SPT.PackageChanges@essex.gov.uk. Alternatively, for a request for a permanent package change, please contact the Countywide Duty Team on 0333 0139994.
  1. COVID-19 Response Fund - Due to the fund ending on 31 March 2021, we are receiving a high volume of claims.  Please note we are working through these and you may experience a delay in your claim being processed.  All claims for expenditure from 19 March 2020 to 31 March 2021, must be submitted by midday on 6 April 2021.  Late submissions will not be accepted. Further information can be found here  or email covid19responsefunding@essex.gov.uk
  2. Care Home Visiting Webinar: 25 March 3-4pm - This webinar will focus on how care providers can facilitate visiting safely, the importance and benefits of enabling visitors to come back into care homes and share some of the practical things that will ensure the risks are minimised. Speakers will include Mark Browne, Head of New Models of Care DHSC, Helen Press, the Head of Quality and Improvement at National Care Provider MHA, Ben Maredia, Director -Ideal Care North Ltd, Liz Jones, Policy Director at the National Care Forum and Karen Spilsbury, Daughter. There will also be a Q&A Panel at the end of the webinar to provide an opportunity for questions to be raised. The webinar is aimed at registered managers, care home providers and local authority and health colleagues to support sector-led improvement and ensure that best practice and innovative ideas are disseminated across the sector. Book your place.
  1. £500 Incentive Payments to Residential Care Providers: Scheme Extended - As part of a programme of work around preparations for winters pressures and an anticipated surge in demand resulting from the second wave of the pandemic, the speedy discharge incentive scheme has been extended until 11 April 2021 for residential care services.  Earlier this month we announced the scheme was extended until 30 April 2021 for domiciliary care. Further information on the scheme is available via email winter.payments@essex.gov.uk
  1. Government announces an extra £341 million for adult social care - the funds will be used to support infection prevention control measures and rapid testing to keep staff and residents safe in day and respite care, care homes and other community care settings. Guidance will follow shortly.
  1. If you received your 1st COVID-19 vaccine dose at Princess Alexandra Hospital please read - 2nd doses have been rescheduled and new appointments have been made if you have booked booster appointments. If you have not received a cancellation or a new appointment then please email paht.shawcovid19@nhs.net with your full name and DOB so that an appointment can be scheduled. Princess Alexandra Hospital will only be vaccinating from now until 30th March then from 8th to 14th April. This is for staff members who received their 1st dose at Princess Alexandra Hospital only.
  1. Infection Prevention Webinar: Protecting yourself and people living with dementia, 29 March, 2-3:30pm - The Department of Health and Social Care and the Better Care Fund team are hosting a webinar focusing on the continued importance of infection prevention and control during the pandemic, with the added challenges faced by social care staff when supporting people with dementia and other cognitive impairment. More information and booking information can be found here.
  1. Reablement: The current reablement at home contract held by ECL is due to come to an end on 3 May 2021.  Whilst it is envisaged that the future model of reablement and intermediate care will look significantly different to the current offer, primarily through a shift toward integrated systems and wrap-round multi-disciplinary support for the individual, our contractual timescales do not allow us to achieve this scale of change in one step.  We are therefore awarding a new contract to ECL in order to maintain a stable foundation from which to develop new models. In taking this decision we are also informed by past experience of the TUPE process, both in Essex and elsewhere, which can risk the loss of the reablement care workforce at a vital time; we are keen to ensure this is avoided, and that the benefits of the programme ECC and NHS partners have initiated (Connect) to refine flows in and out of reablement services and achieve improved outcomes, is delivered. In recognition that future alliance approaches are likely to be at an integrated care system level, the new contract also includes a greater geographical and partnership focus with enhanced visibility of performance at a locality level.  

We believe that by taking this approach to a new contract with ECL, by investing in the Connect Programme and involving Live at Home providers in discussions regarding the Integrated Care Partnerships with the NHS, it will put health and care systems in Essex is a strong position from which to develop effective integrated solutions which are fit for the future. We are also, as part of the same preparation for building new approaches, reviewing ongoing requirements for complementing services, such as the current contracts for In-Lieu-Of- Reablement and Bridging services, which are subject to governance approval.

  1. Reminder: Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET) Dementia Consultation - The consultation is in two parts, the first being the consultation on the priorities and the second is understanding of the current situation for dementia and what the future might look like. The second part of the consultation is accessible on completion of the first and vice versa. Every response is important and will help all of us shape the future vision for People affected by Dementia in Southend, Essex & Thurrock.

 

Princess Alexandra Hospital: If you received your 1st dose at Princess Alexandra Hospital please read below (23.03.2021)

2nd doses have been rescheduled and new appointments have been made if you have booked booster appointments.

If you have not received a cancellation or a new appointment then please email paht.shawcovid19@nhs.net with your full name and DOB so that an appointment can be scheduled.

Princess Alexandra Hospital will only be vaccinating from now until 30th March then from 8th to 14th April.

This is for staff members who received their 1st dose at Princess Alexandra Hospital only.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 19.03.2021

  1. Provider Resilience Bulletin and Inbox Monitoring changes - From next week we will be changing the frequency of the bulletins. These will now be sent twice a week, on a Wednesday & Friday. Additionally the Provider Resilience inbox will be monitored 9am-5pm. We will continue to review the communication and support mechanisms in place to support you to ensure you are supported.
  1. Vaccine Toolkit to support uptake & Facebook Live event and Vaccine supply issues

Vaccine uptake and Facebook Live event: Please see COVID-19 vaccine toolkit to support vaccine uptake for you to share with your staff. Additionally a Facebook Live event covering vaccinations is taking place 24 March at 6:30pm. It's a joint ECC event with Carers First, with support from Essex Coronavirus Action. Danny Showell from ECC's Public Health team will be on the speakers panel. The event can be watched live via this link.

Vaccine supply: You will likely have seen in the news that supplies of the vaccine will be temporarily affected in the coming weeks. The government has assured people that 2nd doses and existing appointments won't be affected but it will mean less appointments available for you and your staff for 1st doses. It is expected that this could become an issue from the end of March so please do encourage your staff to book their appointments before this becomes an issue.

  1. Important Reminder: Professional visits to Care Homes: Guidance to be implemented by Monday (22 March) - please ensure that by Monday you are complying with the recently updated visiting guidance. The full guidance can be found here. The key changes are:
    • Professionals should not be allowed to enter a care home without a negative LFT or PCR result (with some exceptions)
    • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs
    • Professionals who are not part of regular testing will need to be tested at the care home. If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home.
    • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection
    • Visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.

It is vital that professionals are allowed into the home. Please ensure you have taken the necessary steps to allow these visits to take place.

  1. Infection Control Fund 2 / Rapid Test Fund / Workforce Capacity Fund - February Schedule 4, 5 and 6 Overdue - Part of the terms and conditions of the Infection Control Fund 2, Rapid Test Fund and Workforce Capacity Fund is that you return a monthly spend report within the timescales stated in the contract.  If you have not already done so, please can you urgently return the February report to avoid funding issues.  Any questions, please contact email infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 17.03.2021

  1. COVID-19 Vaccinations: Please continue to encourage your staff to book their vaccinations via the National Booking Service website. If you would welcome any support or advice from ECC please let us know - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. Please also continue to input your organisation data on vaccinations on the national Capacity Tracker.
  1. DHSC Adult Social Care update - The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has circulated their new DHSC Adult Social Care update, featuring an intro from Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who pays tribute to the workforce, reflects on lessons learned and says 'collaboration is the golden thread' running through proposals in the recently announced Health and Social Care white paper.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 15.03.2021

  1. COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF) Claims Deadline - Essex Care Providers can access funding through the COVID-19 Response Fund for additional expenses incurred due to COVID-19.  Care providers include CQC registered residential, Live at Home, Supported Living services and Day Opportunities that have Essex County Council funded service users.  Further information can be found here

Please note all claims must be submitted by midday Tuesday, 06 April 2021 for expenditure incurred up to 31 March 2021.

  1. Day Opportunities: Recovery guidance -Following consideration of the current local COVID-19 infection rates and ongoing risk factors in conjunction with Public Health advisors, please be advised that the current closure notification for day opportunities is due to be lifted in a phased manner with effect from Tuesday 6th April 2021 (after the forthcoming Easter Holiday), subject to the conditions within the attached document. Please note that further information regarding the latest recovery phase for day opportunities can be accessed via the Council's Provider Hub.

 

Day Opportunities - Recovery guidance (15.03.2021)

Following consideration of the current local COVID-19 infection rates and ongoing risk factors in conjunction with Public Health advisors, please be advised that the current closure notification for day opportunities is due to be lifted in a phased manner with effect from Tuesday 6th April 2021 (after the forthcoming Easter Holiday), subject to the conditions within the attached document.

In addition, please note that the current invoicing arrangements will remain in place until further notice and providers who deliver managed service provision must continue to adhere to the existing invoicing guidance including the use of frustrated visits, with the notable exception of block contracting arrangements. For the avoidance of any further doubt, please be advised that the use of frustrated visits is designed as a workaround to enable the Council's invoicing system to supress the automated issue of client contribution invoices and does not equate to non-delivery of services. However, as stated in the published invoicing guidance providers are required to record an individual's attendance at each planned day opportunities session and retain an accurate attendance log which the Council reserves the right to inspect to verify the corresponding invoices represent an accurate reflection of the support which has been delivered. In the event of any amendments to the current invoicing arrangements for managed service provision, the Council will provide suitable guidance to affected providers accordingly.

If your organisation supports individuals via direct payments (DP), please ensure that you review and adhere to the published DP guidance

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 12.03.2021

  1. Kickstart Essex: can you help a young person kick start their career? - Essex County Council is a flagship Gateway provider for the government's Kickstart programme, which is giving young people aged 16-24 in receipt of universal credit access to short term paid employment. We need employers to provide these opportunities.

The Kickstart Essex team will support you to access the scheme which will provide funding to offer a young person a 6 month Kickstart job. They will offer wraparound support to help young adults build on their existing skills and move in to sustained employment.

The wage costs of up to 25 hours per week paid at National Minimum Wage (dependent on age), National Insurance contributions and minimum employer auto enrolment pension contributions will be funded by Central Government.

A £1500 grant is also available to support the young adults and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

ECC would be happy to hear from Essex employers interested in offering Kickstart job opportunities under the scheme. For more information please contact the Kickstart Essex Team at kickstartessex@essex.gov.uk

  1. Vaccine Uptake: 73% of care home staff and 65% of home care staff have now received their first jab. We want to see as many care staff as possible access vaccinations. They can book via the National Booking Service website. If you would welcome any support or advice from ECC please let us know - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. Please also ensure your organisation data on vaccinations is updated on the national Capacity Tracker
  2. Care Home Visiting professionals guidance updated - Revised guidance regarding testing for professionals visiting care homes has been published. Please note that these changes should be implemented by 22nd March. The full guidance can be found here.

The key changes in summary are:

    • Professionals should not be allowed to enter a care home without a negative LFT result (with some exceptions)
    • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs
    • Professionals who are not part of regular testing will need to be tested at the care home
    • If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home
    • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection
    • Visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.

Click here for more detailed summary

  1. Dementia and Exercise webinar, Thursday 18 March, 9:30-11:00 - This short training seminar is designed to develop or update knowledge around dementia and the importance of physical activity and exercise. It will explore the different stages of dementia and the exercise considerations for each stage, highlighting the impact that COVID-19 has had, and could continue to have, on the development of cognitive conditions. View the poster for more information including how to book a place.
  2. Care home residents: breast screening appointments - If screening is undertaken in a COVID-19 secure manner, there is no need for care home residents or staff to isolate for 14 days prior to, or following, breast screening visits.

The Discharge into care homes: designated settings guidance states that the 14-day isolation period does not apply to: ".people using hospital services, including emergency departments, outpatients, emergency assessment areas and day case facilities, who are not admitted to a bed for an overnight stay, providing that appropriate infection prevention and control measures are followed whilst in the healthcare facility"

 

Visiting professionals guidance updated (12.03.2021)

Following feedback, the revised guidance regarding testing for professionals visiting care homes is now published. Please note that these changes should be implemented by 22nd March. The full guidance can be found here.

We have worked with care home providers, Dr Jenny Harries the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Public Health England and NHS England to develop this new guidance. The guidance strengthens the existing approach for testing professional visitors to care homes in order to reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission.

The key changes are:

  • Professionals should not be allowed to enter a care home without a negative LFT result, with the exception of the following scenarios:
    • An emergency
    • Overridden by the care home manager following a risk based decision
    • Their entry is required by law, such as CQC inspectors
  • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime.
  • As per the previous guidance, professionals who are not part of regular testing for NHS staff or CQC inspectors (for example, professionals such as podiatrists or engineers) will need to be tested at the care home in the same way as visitors.
  • If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home they visit that day and can use evidence of this test at the next care home they visit that day.
  • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection, in addition to their weekly PCR.
  • Like care home staff, visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.
 

The guidance provides further details and outlines the different forms of test evidence.

This guidance should be implemented as soon as possible but we also understand that professionals and their employers will need time to get to grips with practical issues, such as how they will provide evidence to care homes. Therefore this guidance should be implemented by care homes and professionals by 22nd March, if not before.

Testing is, however, only one part of the approach to reduce risk and it is critical that visiting professionals don and doff PPE appropriately and follow the relevant infection control measures when visiting a care home, including hand hygiene and distancing, in order to help keep care home residents and staff safe.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 10.03.2021

  1. Public Health Essex: Repeat Workforce Testing Scheme - care sector businesses in Essex with fewer than 50 employees that currently don't fit the criteria for one of the government COVID-19 testing programmes can now access regular workplace testing. This scheme will enable local businesses to:  
    • Test their own workforce 
    • Set up a designated testing area on their premises 
    • Support employees to do the test easily and in a supported suitable environment 
    • Identify workers who do not know they are carrying the virus, helping to protect workforces by preventing unknown spread of infection 

You will need to set up workplace testing in one of your office/work locations. There are also some requirements that need to be met and you can find these and details on how to apply here

Please note this is for care sector businesses located in the Essex County Council area and therefore excludes Southend and Thurrock.

  1. £500 Incentive Payments to Domiciliary Care Providers: Scheme Extended - As part of a programme of work around preparations for winters pressures and an anticipated surge in demand resulting from the second wave of the pandemic, the speedy discharge incentive scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021 for domiciliary care services.  Further information on the scheme is available via email winter.payments@essex.gov.uk
  1. Reminder: COVID-19 Financial Support: Overdue Schedules - Please ensure you are returning the monthly schedules by the deadlines stated in your agreements to ICF2schedule4@essex.gov.uk.

Fund

Deadline

Report Name

Reporting Period

Infection Control Fund (2)

08-Mar-21

Schedule 4 - February

01-Oct-20 to 28-Feb-21

 

 

 

 

Rapid Test Fund

08-Mar-21

Schedule 5 - February

02-Dec-21 to 28-Feb-21

 

 

 

 

Workforce Capacity Fund

08-Mar-21

Schedule 6 - February

16-Jan-21 to 28-Feb-21

Any questions, please contact infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

Public Health Essex: Repeat Workforce Testing Scheme (10.03.2021)

Care sector businesses in Essex with fewer than 50 employees that currently don't fit the criteria for one of the government COVID-19 testing programmes can now access regular workplace testing. This scheme will enable local businesses to:  

  • Test their own workforce 
  • Set up a designated testing area on their premises 
  • Support employees to do the test easily and in a supported suitable environment 
  • Identify workers who do not know they are carrying the virus, helping to protect workforces by preventing unknown spread of infection 

You will need to set up workplace testing in one of your office/work locations.

Please note this is for care sector businesses located in the Essex County Council area and therefore excludes Southend and Thurrock.

This scheme will enable local businesses to:  

  • Test their own workforce 
  • Set up a designated testing area on their premises 
  • Support employees to do the test easily and in a supported suitable environment 
  • Identify workers who do not know they are carrying the virus, helping to protect workforces by preventing unknown spread of infection 

This scheme will require your organisation to meet the following requirements:  

  • Your organisation must have fewer than 50 employees 
  • Commitment to operate a test site using Quality Assurance procedures set out by Dept of Health & Social Care 
  • A clean and suitable indoor testing area 
  • Associated PPE 
  • A group of people willing to be Testing Operatives 
  • Ability to handle Clinical waste 
  • Commitment to weekly data return 

Public Health Essex will provide support through detailed training, test kits and ongoing support.  

If you are interested in taking part, please could you assist by sending the following information to covidtesting@essex.gov.uk

  1. Full business name 
  2. Registered trading address 
  3. Total no. of employees 
  4. Total no. of eligible employees (i.e. those who cannot work from home) 
  5. Business sector 
  6. Nominated testing owner (NTO)  
  7. NTO contact details (email and telephone) 

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 08.03.2021

  1. Important: All vaccination appointments cancelled this week at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) - if you or your staff have an appointment this week please re-book via the system.
  1. Reminder: Arranging 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine (health & social care workers) -  we have detailed the processes for booking your second doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Please ensure this information is passed onto your staff as the process differs by site and, in some cases, date of the first vaccination. We hope this information is useful but please do contact us if you have any questions - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. And remember to update vaccination status for each of your employees on the Capacity Tracker (for care homes, domiciliary care services, extra care housing schemes & supported living schemes).
  1. Provider Relationship Survey 2020 Results - the results of the survey can be downloaded or you can watch the video presentation. We will be reviewing the findings in more detail and taking steps to work on the conclusions and recommendations. If you have any questions, or comments, we'd be keen to here from you - MarketPortal@essex.gov.uk.

 

Important: All vaccination appointments cancelled this week at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) (08.03.2021)

If you or your staff have an appointment this week please re-book via the system.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 05.03.2021

  1. Vaccination Capacity Tracker Reminder: please ensure your information is up to date on the Capacity Tracker by 5pm Monday. This is a requirement for us to be able to report vaccination numbers weekly to government. Thank you for your cooperation.
  1. North East Essex providers:BAME Care Staff Webinar - Questions and Answers about the COVID-19 vaccination, Tuesday 9 March 1-2pm - to discuss any concerns or issues about the COVID-19 vaccination. Two community-based GPs, Dr Ayesha Tu Zahra and Dr Lolu Ogunniyi, will be on hand to provide clinical answers to the questions raised. The event will be facilitated by Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE). Click to Join Event
  1. Call to Care: short term workers for adult social care - last month the government announced Call to Care which asks the public to express interest in paid short term work in care. The campaign aims to support care homes and home care services during the pandemic. We have received information of those who have expressed an interest so far in Essex and would like to hear from providers who would like to contact these individuals. Please note you can only contact them for the purpose of recruitment and most will be new to care and therefore require DBS and training relevant to the role. If you are interested email resourcing.team@essex.gov.uk by Tuesday 9 March. Please include where you are based to help the team match appropriate candidates.

 

Important: Social visiting in care homes update (05.03.2021)

Dear Care Home Manager

Please see new letter from Mike Gogarty* in relation to the recently updated guidance from government covering a single constant visitor for care home residents from Monday 8 March. This is in addition to the previous letter dated 24 February* which notified homes of the resumption of COVID-19 secure social visiting which allowed for outdoor, pod and screen visits.

*Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 03.03.2021

  1. Vaccination Webinar: A focus on Fertility, Pregnancy and Maternity - Thursday 4 March 2021, 12pm to 1.30pm - This webinar will be an engaging conversation with BBC contributor Dr Nighat Arif. It will be a safe space to ask questions or share your concerns regarding the vaccination and fertility, or anything related to women's health. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation.

To join the webinar please use this Microsoft Teams link: The Vaccination - A focus on Fertility, Pregnancy and Maternity

Please also see the webinar flyer.

  1. REMINDER: COVID-19 Financial Support February Reporting - Please note the February Schedule 4 for Infection Control Fund (Round2), Schedule 5 for Rapid Test Fund and Schedule 6 for Workforce Capacity Fund are all due by Monday, 8 March.

Any questions, please contact infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. FAQs for Discharge to Designated settings / Care Homes - These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for care homes and hospitals relate to the guidance on Discharge into care homes: designated settings and accompanying Clarification note.
  1. Reminder: 'Here for you' 24/7 psychological support service to support staff working in social care - This service is available to anyone who is struggling with the impact of the pandemic, in whatever way that may be. It has been set up to support all staff, whether they are frontline or not.

You can call the service 24/7 to confidentially talk through any problems you're facing, whatever they may be, on 0344 257 3960.

Please make sure your staff are aware of the service. You can download the poster and use pre-written communications (for newsletters, emails & websites) to spread the message.

  1. 'How Do We Develop The Market For Personal Assistants (PA's)?' workshop - Our fifth and final workshop in relation to the Direct Payment re-design work is almost upon us. The workshopwill be taking place virtually on Wednesday 17 March from 1pm to 4pm.

Full invite and registration details to this workshop can be found on the Eventbrite page.Please click here to register.

You can view the feedback slides from the previous workshop 'What Could a New Direct Payment Support Service Model Look Like?'

Additionally further to the last workshop the Essex Carers Network (ECN) have written a letter introducing who the ECN are and how they can offer support to families who care for a family member with a Learning Disability and or Autism.

  1. New Government Guidance: Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings - New government guidance published 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.
  1. Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) Aspiring Leaders Programme - applications for the bespoke course are now open to all nurses working in the community, primary and social care.
    The programme is designed to support the professional development of nurses to become future leaders in healthcare, to the benefit of the people, families and communities they serve.

Who is eligible to apply?

This programme is open to all nurses working in the community and primary care setting including care home nurses.

Applicants must have a minimum of 5-years' experience working in a community or primary care setting.

Applicants must demonstrate a desire to progress to a leadership position beyond their current role.

The closing date for applications is 26th March 2021 23.59. Find out more and apply

 

ECC Public Health video for care homes - request to remain vigilant (02.03.2021)

Dear Care Home Manager

ECC Public Health have recorded this video urging care homes to remain vigilant* to protect our vulnerable residents from COVID-19. Despite falling rates of coronavirus, fewer outbreaks, the vaccine programme and announcements regarding future relaxing of restrictions there is still a public health risk of catching COVID-19. Please therefore continue to adhere to the current guidance, particularly infection prevention and control measures.

Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do, to protect those in your care.

*Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 01.03.2021

  1. Everyone on the Learning Disability Register to be invited for vaccination as part of cohort 6 - further information can be found in this announcement and these letters between Matt Hancock and the JCVI. We would encourage you to start preparing your clients for the vaccination and have previously shared this document which may help with your discussions. They will be contacted directly by the NHS to arrange vaccination.
  1. Reminder: CARE badges available for you and your staff working in adult social care - order your free CARE badges here. They are intended to be worn be worn as a symbol of pride for the incredible values and skills embodied in social care. Please note,one person per care provider should order CARE badges for their entire organisation.
  1. Census 2021 - please see further information about this year's Census. It includes the Census Helpline which will support those who do not have access to the internet. As a reminder, Census day is 21 March 2021.

 

 

February 2021

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 26.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Capacity Tracker Reminder: just a reminder to ensure your information is up to date on the Capacity Trackerby 5pm Monday. This is a requirement for us to be able to report vaccination numbers weekly to government. Thank you for your cooperation.
  2. Compassionate leadership workshops - NEW COURSE DATES AVAILABLE - due to the popularity of this course, EPUT have kindly put on 4 more dates.  The workshops are aimed at managers / leaders in social care and are reflective sessions which will focus on how positive examples of compassionate leadership can prevent negative outcomes such as bullying and harassment, stress and sickness absence. The courses have been split by service. Find out more including how to book a place. Please note places are limited and are on a first-come-first-served basis.

Service

Date

Time

Domiciliary (OP)

25th March

13.00 - 14.00

Residential (LD) / Mental Health

26th March

14.00 - 15.00

Supported living & extra care

13th April

14.00 - 15.00

Residential (OP)

15th April

14.30 - 15.30

 

  1. COVID-19 Financial Support - Upcoming Reporting Requirements - The following overview shows the upcoming reporting requirements for the 3 funds that are currently running.  All schedules to be emailed to ICF2schedule4@essex.gov.uk

Fund

Deadline

Report Name

Reporting Period

Infection Control Fund (2)

08-Mar-21

Schedule 4 - February

01-Oct-20 to 28-Feb-21

Infection Control Fund (2)

09-Apr-21

Schedule 4 - March

01-Oct-20 to 31-Mar-21

 

 

 

 

Rapid Test Fund

08-Mar-21

Schedule 5 - February

02-Dec-21 to 28-Feb-21

Rapid Test Fund

09-Apr-21

Schedule 5 - March

02-Dec-21 to 31-Mar-21

 

 

 

 

Workforce Capacity Fund

08-Mar-21

Schedule 6 - February

16-Jan-21 to 28-Feb-21

Workforce Capacity Fund

09-Apr-21

Schedule 6 - March

16-Jan-21 to 31-Mar-21

 

Any questions or if you need your template resent, please contact infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Important: Action to check if you have Duraweld Visor (EPVS0143) - you may have been issued Duraweld Visors which were distributed (16th - 24th February 2021) through mutual aid with other health and social care providers or LAs/LRFs.

Action Required

    • Identify if you have any stocks of the affected product codes.
    • Quarantine the product and contact us by emailing productqueries@ppeenquiries.com quoting reference Visor - Duraweld and confirming the volume of product held in order to facilitate collection.
    • If the product has been distributed via mutual aid, please inform receiving organisations of this notice and advise them to contact the DHSC Product Enquiries Team as above

See this alert for more information

  1. North East Essex (NEE) Domiciliary providers: COVID 19 Infection Prevention and Control Bitesize workshops -This 1 hour online programme (Microsoft Teams) is for Domiciliary and Home Care Services and will enable you to refresh your Infection Protection and Control (IPC) knowledge in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Course dates are:
  • 29th March - 12pm
  • 30th March - 12pm
  • 1st April - 2pm
  • 6th April - 2pm
  • 12th April - 2pm
  • 20th April - 2pm

To book a place please email Amanda.cowan3@nhs.net

  1. New animations which demonstrate how to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes:
  1. Doorstep wellbeing visits - new initiative launching from 1st March - Sport for Confidence will be knocking on the doors of some adults known to ECC Adult Social Care who have a learning disability/autism. They will be offering and dropping off free wellbeing information and activity packs to the adults. It will be a very quick visit at the doorstep and no one will be going in the adults' home.  We wanted to make you aware of this new initiative in case you receive any queries about it through contact with adults.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 24.02.2021

  1. Arranging second doses of COVID-19 vaccine (health & social care workers) -  we have detailed the processes for booking your second doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Please ensure this information is passed onto your staff as the process differs by site and, in some cases, date of the first vaccination. We hope this information is useful but please do contact us if you have any questions - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk
  1. Expansion of COVID-10 testing for Supported Living schemes - To support the process of easing lockdown restrictions whilst managing ongoing COVID risks the government is expanding the current testing regime to include all "high risk" supported living schemes from Thursday 25th February.

The definition of a "high risk" supported living scheme is:

    • A closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people, and
    • Where most residents receive personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping)

This includes the majority of schemes that are already receiving tests through the existing arrangements. Providers who do not meet the criteria for "high risk" will be able to access weekly PCR testing.

Testing webinars

There are going to be regular webinars available to providers which will explain the testing process and provide an opportunity to ask questions. To register complete this form.

Read this for more information.

  1. NHSMail Text Messages to inactive users - NHS Digital have advised that text messages are being sent out to inactive users this week. The wording of the text message is below:

'Please log into your NHSmail account before 1/3/21 to keep active and avoid deletion. For help, visit: https://support.nhs.net/knowledge-base/nhsmail-pods-faqs/'

  1. Love to Move session for care homes: 3pm, Friday 26 February - please see details of the free Zoom session provided by Sport for Confidence
  1. Workforce Capacity Fund: Reminder Agreements Due - The Department of Health and Social Care have announced further funding to help Residential and Community Care providers with measures that deliver additional staffing capacity for adult social care.  The Local Authority Circular (Workforce Capacity Fund for adult social care: local authority circular) dated 29 January sets out detailed guidance as to what this new funding can be used for.  

Agreements were sent to providers on 16 February 2021.  Funds will be paid upon the acceptance of the terms and schedules of the grant agreement which must be returned by 12pm Friday 26 February 2021 to email infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Prevention and enablement: share and learn webinar - Please join us to hear more about the Prevention and Enablement Model (PEM). This is a 12-month test and learn which is being delivered by a strategic partnership between Essex County Council Adult Social Care, Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot and Sport for Confidence. The model aims to ensure all Essex residents have the opportunity to be active, live independently and are able to be a part of their community.

Throughout the online webinar partners will share findings, challenges and learnings from the four workstreams; Community Partnerships, Strength and Balance, Physical Activity in Occupational Therapy and Care Homes. They will discuss the past six months of the test and share why prevention has never been more important.

Friday 12th March 2021 11am - 12:30pm

Register for the webinar

  1. Video Carephones update -  All 2,000 of our Video Carephones have now been deployed and we are hearing wonderful stories of how they are being used. Thank you to all the providers who have referred their clients to receive devices and are actively using them in Essex.

We would like to encourage you to maximise the benefits of the devices in the coming weeks and to ensure your clients get the most out of the technology. Please continue to use the Carephones to support your care services and think about other contacts they may be able to add to the devices. This could include health and care specialists eg physiotherapist or occupational health or other friends and family members.

There is now also a group-calling functionality which could support activities or classes.

We will be posting some innovative examples of how people are using the devices, on Facebook and Twitter and would love to hear your stories. Please tweet or post using the tag line and hashtag- How are you using yours?  #LoveMyCarephone

  1. Prime Minister sets out roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions - please see the announcement from earlier this week.

 

Important: Social visiting in care homes (24.02.2021)

Dear care home manager

Please see this notice confirming the resumption of COVID-19 secure social visiting* in care homes in Essex, except those where there is a current outbreak. The letter, from Mike Gogarty, confirms that this is now possible due to the reduction in infections and successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

We are sure you will welcome the recommencement to visits and would like to thank you for all that you have done to care for our vulnerable residents.

*Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

Expansion of COVID-10 testing for Supported Living schemes (24.02.2021)

To support the process of easing lockdown restrictions whilst managing ongoing Covid risks the government is expanding the current testing regime to include all "high risk" supported living schemes from Thursday 25th February.

The definition of a "high risk" supported living scheme is:

".         A closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people, and

.           Where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is CQC regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping)"

This obviously includes the majority of schemes that are already receiving tests through the existing arrangements. Providers who do not meet the criteria for "high risk" will be able to access weekly PCR testing.

Under the new arrangements, PCR tests will continue to be available, and in addition Lateral Flow tests (LFD) tests will be available as follows:

"a) An additional two LFD tests per week for staff:

.           One LFD test on the same day as the PCR test.

.           One LFD test midweek between PCR tests.

b) Daily LFD testing for all staff on duty for 7 days if there are any positive cases found in the setting, (including where the positive case is a resident or found through a PCR test). This would not replace any period of isolation for contacts of positive cases.

c) A confirmatory PCR after any positive LFD tests."

Testing webinars

There are going to be regular webinars available to providers which will explain the testing process and provide an opportunity to ask questions. To register complete this form.

We have been notified of this additional testing by the Dept for Health and Social Care, Essex County Council will be providing them with contact details and information on the sites that require testing in line with the information already held for the current testing programme. Once the new testing programme is underway there will be the opportunity for providers to self-refer for tests if they are not already receiving them, as long as they meet the criteria for a supported living or extra care scheme.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 22.02.2021

  1. Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund (Round 2) Guidance Update - On 19 February 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care clarified that funding under the Infection Control Fund 2 could also be used for reasonable administrative costs associated with: (1) organising and recording the outcomes of COVID-19 tests, and (2) organising COVID-19 vaccinations.  As long as these were not being supported by other government funding streams.   Costs for these can be placed under 'measure 8' of the monthly return.  If you have any questions please email Infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk
  1. People with learning disabilities and the COVID-19 vaccine - Learning Disability England has written this document for people and organisations that offer paid support to people with learning disabilities. It will help you to prepare the people you support to make a decision about having the Coronavirus vaccine.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 19.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: thank you again for all that you are doing to encourage your staff to access vaccinations, and for continuing to update the Capacity Tracker. Please ensure your information is up to date on the tracker by 5pm Monday.

    We would encourage you to get in touch with the team (ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk) should you be experiencing any issues accessing vaccinations.

  1. Definition of clinically extremely vulnerable groups updated - There has been an increase in the number of people being asked to shield in England. Please see more information on Gov.UK.
  1. SET Dementia Consultation - Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET) Dementia Consultation went live on Monday 15 February for a period of 6 weeks. The consultation seeks the view of professionals, the public and partners to test if the priorities of the current Southend, Essex and Thurrock Dementia Strategy 2017-2021 are still the right priorities to support citizens, families and carers across Greater Essex who are living with or affected by dementia to live well. The format of the consultation has been developed in order to support our development of the overarching vision for dementia across Greater Essex.

The consultation is in two parts, the first being the consultation on the priorities and the second is understanding of the current situation for dementia and what the future might look like. Please note there is also an easy read version of both parts available online and to download via the link.

Dementia 2022-2027 consultation

Dementia 2022-2027 EASY READ consultation

  1. Important: Action to check if you have Nitri-Hand Examination Gloves - you may have been issued Nitri-Hand Examination Gloves which were distributed (12 October 2020 - 12 February 2021) through mutual aid with other health and social care providers or LAs/LRFs.

Action Required

  • Undertake a review of your glove stock and identify if you have any of the affected product.
  • Please inform the NHS Product Enquiries Team on productqueries@ppeenquiries.com quoting Ref: Gloves Nitri-Hand and confirming the volume of product in stock.
  • NHS Product Enquires Team will then make arrangements for replacement of any required stock if urgent.

See this alert for more information

  1. Important: Action to check if you have Fang Tian FT-045A FFP3 masks

Action Required

  • Review your stocks of FFP3s and identify whether you have any of the Fang Tian FT-045A FFP3 masks. If you have, these should be immediately quarantined. Some of these masks may have been delivered in boxes with the product marked as FT-045.

For clarity these masks are not items that have ever been supplied by ECC.

See this alert for more information

  1. Level 2 Health and Care Support Worker Apprenticeship Standard: Trailblazer group is seeking adult social care participants - The newly-formed Health and Care Support Worker Trailblazer Group is taking forward plans to develop a single apprenticeship standard at level 2.  The group is seeking wider representation from the adult social care sector and inviting employers to register their interest.  This is a great opportunity for adult social care employers to share their expertise to shape the content of the new standard, including the skills and knowledge apprentices will achieve upon completion, as well as influence the assessment and development costings. Find out more and register your interest here.  Registration closes 12 March.

 

Important: 90 Day Retesting Window for ASC and NHS Staff - Update (18.02.2021)

Dear care home manager

We hope you have seen the advice from UK Government Care Home COVID-19 Testing Guidance which advises on visitation within 90 days of a positive PCR.  The clinical view is that during this 90 day window from a positive test, given the low rate of reinfection during this window, it is significantly more likely that a positive LFD test would be a false result, rather than someone being re-infected, causing people to isolate unnecessarily. Therefore we are now stopping the regular testing using LFD during this 90 day period. The individual should return to the regular LFD and PCR regime once 90 days has passed.

This means that the policy for retesting within 90 days for Adult Social Care is now the same as the policy for NHS staff. The policy also applies to professionals visiting a care home who have received a positive PCR result in the last 90 days.

Please see the following links for further information on changes to testing guidance:

Care home testing guidance for residents and staff: PCR and LFD (England) (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

 ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 17.02.2021

  1. West Essex - Vitamin D Supply for Care Home Residents

Care homes across West Essex have started receiving a free four month supply of Vitamin D liquid drops from The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

DHSC have published this guidance

To help you implement this guidance into your care home, please see the following Frequently Asked Questions found here

The product that is being supplied is called Provitavit: https://www.provitavit.com/Vitamins

  1. Workforce Capacity Fund

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced further funding to help Residential and Community Care providers with measures that deliver additional staffing capacity for adult social care.   The Local Authority Circular (Workforce Capacity Fund for adult social care: local authority circular) dated 29 January sets out detailed guidance as to what this new funding can be used for.  In summary, the condition of grant funding is that it will be used to deliver measures to supplement and strengthen adult social care staff capacity to ensure that safe and continuous care is achieved.

Agreements were sent to providers on 16 February 2021.  Funds will be paid upon the acceptance of the terms and schedules of the grant agreement which must be returned by 12 noon Friday 26 February 2021 to email infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

 ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 15.02.2021

 1. Vaccine National Booking Service now open to all Providers across Essex

Please be reminded that all eligible care workers who have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccination are now able to book an appointment through the National Booking Service website(or by phone: 119).  This is a recent change to national guidance and will be available as an additional booking facility for care staff until 25 February 2021 (unless extended).

The existing booking system will remain operational, but this provides an additional option for you to access an appointment at a greater number of locations most convenient to you.

If you are yet to book your vaccination appointment, we encourage you do to at the earliest possible opportunity. The priority groups will soon be extended to a wider group, and you may experience difficulties in finding a convenient appointment. The service can also be used for booking second dose vaccinations.

If booking through the national booking service or via the previous booking link, you will need still need to bring with your letter of eligibility and staff ID to your appointment.

Please continue to inform your line manager of your vaccination to enable this to be included in data returns and to ensure appropriate cover during your appointment.

If you have any queries please email ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk

  1. Vaccination Updating on the National Tracker for Care Providers

Thank you for those who have completed the national capacity tracker to provide up to date information on vaccination take-up.  The Government has asked that all providers update this information by midday tomorrow (16 February) and then on a weekly basis by 5pm each Monday.  This is to enable progress to be checked on ensuring that your staff are accessing vaccinations.

We would encourage your employees to continue to access vaccinations as soon as possible, which they can do by using the booking information and eligibility letters we have supplied to you already or alternatively by using the National Booking System.

Some providers have still not provided any information to the tracker and it is important that you provide up to date information in order that the NHS can understand progress and any remaining demand for vaccination supplies.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 12.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: Important - additional route to book first vaccinations for frontline staff

Your eligible frontline care workers now have an additional route to book their first vaccination appointment - via the National Booking Service website (or by phone: 119). Initially this will be available for two weeks

Please ensure your staff are made aware of this opportunity as soon as possible.

You can find out more information in this letter from DoHSC.

  1. Household and Community Contact Tracing for COVID-19 Positive Care Home Staff

It is important that the National Test and Trace or Local Contact Tracing staff can reach your COVID-19 positive care home staff to undertake Household and Community Contact Tracing. Without the ability to do this contacts of positive staff outside of the care home may not be identified and continue to spread the virus.

A significant number of care homes are not including their staff contact phone numbers when submitting swabs for testing. This means that contact tracing staff are unable to get hold of any members of your staff who test positive. This will be creating additional work for the care home as you will be receiving emails or calls from contact tracers trying to get hold of your staff.

You can continue to include your generic email address on swabs so that you get the results back, but please include the member of staff's personal telephone numbers on the swabs also.

  1. Infection Prevention and Control webinars - a series of webinars covering IPC are available to residential and community providers throughout next week. The webinars are open to all, but they are aimed primarily at care staff involved in infection prevention and control in care homes and in the community. Find out more information here or book directly via the following links:
  1. Census 2021 - Households across Essex will soon be asked to take part in the nationwide survey of housing and the population. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Information from the digital-first census will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors' surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

Households will receive a letter with a unique access code in the post, allowing them to complete their questionnaire online. Paper questionnaires will be available on request. Census day is March 21.

For more information, visit the Census website.

  1. Princes Trust youth employment programme - please see this flyer detailing the programme which will support young people aged under 30 years to get employment in Health and Social Care. If you'd like to get involved please email Richard.Garnett@princes-trust.org.uk.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 10.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: Important - updating the national Capacity Tracker with vaccination data

Please ensure you have updated the national Capacity Tracker with the latest data on vaccinations for your organisation. This needs to be done by 5pm this Friday (12th February) as the data is being used for national reporting purposes.

It is particularly important you record the following:

a) the number of people offered a vaccination (this should simply be all of your eligible employees);

b) the number of people who have had their first vaccination; and

c) any information on the number not intending to be vaccinated.

Some providers have mistakenly recorded offering the vaccination to zero employees even though some members of their workforce have been vaccinated. An example of how to complete: a provider with 20 eligible staff might record: offered = 20; of which, vaccinated = 18; declined = 2

  1. Important information regarding ECC's 12 Month Underwrite payments for older people Residential and Nursing Placements

In April 2020 we wrote to you to outline our COVID financial support for older people residential services. The support included underwriting ECC funded beds for 12 months, from 18 March 2020. This is to advise you that any underwrite payments you are currently receiving will stop on the 31st March 2021.  Thank you for your continued support and cooperation with this scheme, we will continue to work closely with you as the impact of the pandemic unfolds.

  1. Infection Control Fund & Rapid Test Fund -January Schedule 4 & Schedule 5 Report

Your January schedule 4 report for the Infection Control Fund and Schedule 5 for the Rapid Test Fund are now overdue.  Thank you to everyone who has already sent their monthly return. 

Some tips and frequently asked questions -

    • The month you are reporting for is January 2021
    • Spend should be cumulative each month
    • You are reporting for the fund amount only.  Spend should not be higher than the forecast or fund allocation
    • YouTube video with instructions on how to complete

If you need the template resent or have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Update to government PPE portal: Addition of small bottles of hand hygiene to the order limits for domiciliary care providers.

 

Continued cessation of social visiting in care homes with elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable residents (08.02.2021)

Please see letter from Mike Gogarty*, Director of Public Health, confirming restrictions on social visiting in care homes in Essex are still in place. The letter confirms the criteria which must be met in order for homes to be able to recommence visits.

Please note this advice is only for those services with elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable residents. We previously communicated that care homes without elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable residents can resume social visiting.

*Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 08.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: eligible care home staff and reminder to contact us if you are yet to receive information about booking appointments. Please can we ask Care Homes to consider all the different types of frontline staff to put forward for the vaccine. This is not just for care staff. Please refer to the Eligible Staff table on the provider hub page.  Also just a reminder that all providers on our lists have now been contacted to enable access to vaccinations - if you are yet to hear please contact us at ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk
  2. Compassionate leadership workshops - we are pleased to be able to offer managers / leaders in social care workshops delivered by EPUT. These are reflective workshops which will focus on how positive examples of compassionate leadership can prevent negative outcomes such as bullying and harassment, stress and sickness absence. The courses have been split by service. Find out more including how to book a place. Please note places are limited.
  3. Standards of Education and Practice for Nurses New to Care Home Nursing - please find the 2021 edition here.
  4. Wellbeing Resource Finder (Skills for Care) - Skills for Care has produced a new wellbeing resource finder so you can quickly find trusted resources to support you and your staff wellbeing. Additionally please see a wellbeing guide for Registered Managers.

 

Adverse Weather and Vaccination Appointments - weekend 6 & 7 February

At the moment (5 February) all the large COVID-19 vaccination centres (Chelmsford City Racecourse; Chevington Close, Bury St. Edmunds; Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea; Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich; Jobserve Community Stadium, Colchester; and The Lodge, Wickford) are planning to be open this weekend, despite the forecast snow. All updates will be added on the EPUT site over the weekend.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 05.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: Please contact us if you haven't received vaccine booking details, Capacity Tracker data for Community providers, video from Mike Gogarty about safety of the vaccines, survey reminder & request to share your vaccine experience.

Are you still waiting for COVID-19 vaccines booking information? Our vaccines team have contacted all providers on their lists. If you're yet to receive any contact please email ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk ASAP.

Community Care / Domiciliary Care Providers - Capacity Tracker COVID-19 Update Survey The Capacity Tracker Team have been asked by DoHSC to add additional questions contained within the COVID-19 Update Survey that is completed daily by Community Care and Domiciliary Care Providers.

In order to provide a single, central source of information about the levels of uptake of the vaccine among all social care staff, these questions have been added to the capacity tracker to ensure a consistent mechanism for monitoring and reporting. 

Regularly updated data will help ensure that all frontline staff are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible by addressing delays or blockages in the system. 

If you have not yet registered to access the Capacity Tracker as a user, you can click on the following link: Register - Capacity Tracker

Further support is available via - Email: necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net and Telephone: 0191 691 3729 

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council's Director of Public Health talks about Covid-19 vaccines. Watch the full video which includes information about how the vaccine has been made safely, why it's important for us to have the vaccine and how the new variant of Covid-19 is affecting younger people.

Vaccine Survey reminder - if you haven't already done so please can we ask you to complete our short vaccine survey. The exception is where your service is inputting vaccine data into the Capacity Tracker regularly.

'Share your vaccine experience' - we are keen to hear from your staff about their individual experiences of having the COVID-19 vaccine. We would particularly like to create videos of individuals from the care sector talking about why they opted to have the vaccine and the positive difference it has made. Please get in touch with your stories - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk

  1. Weather Warning for this weekend - A band of heavy snow is likely to bring widespread travel disruption in certain parts of Essex this weekend, and into next week. See the Met Office website for more information. Please ensure your Business Continuity plans are ready for this eventuality.

Should this affect your ability to deliver any of your services please inform us via the following:

Monday-Saturday - service.placementteam@essex.gov.uk / Residential 03330 139972 / Non-Residential 03330 139974

Out of Hours (inc Sunday) - eds@essex.gov.uk / 0345 606 1212 

  1. Introducing the Connect programme - Essex County Council and system partners have committed to transforming services for older people through better connections to the right support in hospital and at home.   The programme, called Connect, is now in an exciting design phase which will define what needs to change and how, through five inter-related projects, all focused on delivering the best (safest and most independent) outcomes for older people. Click here to find out more
  1. Rapid Test Fund: Reminder Agreements Due -The Department of Health and Social Care announced further funding for Rapid Testing to be implemented within residential care homes and residential alcohol and drug services.

Acceptance or decline of the terms and conditions need to be sent by email to infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

The Local Authority Circular (Local Authority Circular: Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund) dated 15 January sets out detailed guidance as to what this new funding can be used for.  In summary, the condition of grant funding is that it will be used to support additional rapid testing using LFDs. Existing regular PCR testing for staff and residents must continue as per care home COVID-19 testing guidance for staff and residents.

If you have any queries on the infection control fund or the financial support available please contact the team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. COVID-19 care planning for older people living with frailty webinar - This talk will address the issues surrounding care planning and end of life care in older people living with frailty, focusing upon acute care but with a system perspective. It will be relevant to a wide range of clinicians and care workers involved in looking after older people. It's the first in a series of webinars and the sessions will be recorded so they are viewable at a time that is suitable for you. If there are any topics for webinars that you would find useful at this time, then please email frailty@nhselect.org.uk.

Please click here to register to attend the first webinar in this series: COVID-19 care planning for older people living with frailty at 11:30 am on Friday 12th February. This webinar will be presented by Simon Conroy, Clinical Lead at AFN and Professor of Geriatric Medicine of University of Leicester.

  1. Mid and South Essex: Housebound residents receiving the COVID-19 vaccination - residents who are housebound will be contacted by their GP who will make arrangements for them to receive the vaccine. If they are contacted by someone else please ask them to check with their GP first.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 03.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: ECC survey and Capacity Tracker data

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Survey - please respond - We realise just how important the vaccination programme is to you, not just to support your clients but also to ensure you and your staff are protected and can continue to help our most vulnerable. To help us understand the current and future take up of vaccines, and identify any potential issues, please can we ask you to complete this short questionnaire. Your answers will enable us to support our Health colleagues in their rollout.

Capacity Tracker (Care homes) - We'd like to highlight the importance of keeping information on the Capacity Tracker up to date, especially in relation to vaccines. All of the information is used to support the system and ensure that vaccine supplies are appropriate and don't go unused.

Thank you for your continued efforts. Should you have any questions in relation to accessing vaccinations for you / your staff please email ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk

  1. Workforce Development Funding - Do you have staff who have recently completed, or who are currently undertaking qualifications? If so you may be eligible for support through the Workforce Development Fund. Funding is currently available from Essex Care Training Partnership who are grant holders for the Skills for Care Workforce Development Fundwhich is supporting adult social care providers in Essex, Southend and Thurrock with the costs associated with staff undergoing qualifications and training programmes. Costs could include employee salaries whilst undertaking training, coaching and mentoring costs, wage replacement costs. Please see this document for more information and eligibility for the funding.
  1. Infection Control Fund (Round 2) - Reminder -January Schedule 4 Report is Due by Monday 08 February 2021 - As part of the terms and conditions of the Infection Control Fund and to meet the mandatory reporting requirements for the Department of Health & Social Care,  please note your January schedule 4 report is now due.  Please ensure you have also returned the schedule 3 from Round 1 of the fund and continue to update the capacity tracker at least once per week. 

If you need the template resent or have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Reminder: COVID-19: Free-of-charge DBS applications and fast-track Barred List check service - In response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place, to provide standard and enhanced DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults' and children's Barred Lists, free-of-charge. Read more about eligibility and how to apply.
  1. Grants available to help Essex residents self-isolate - Essex County Council is providing extra funding to city, districts and boroughs in the county to help people who need to self-isolate to stay at home. Essex residents who test positive for COVID-19 could be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment from the Government. However, many residents who have to self-isolate may be ineligible for the Government payment. It is these people this new fund aims to help.

People may not qualify for Government support because, for instance, they are on zero hours contracts, self-employed and trading for less than one year or self-employed without access to support because of low trading returns. For more information please see this announcement.

 

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Survey - please respond (02.02.2021)

We realise just how important the vaccination programme is to you, not just to support your clients but also to ensure you and your staff are protected and can continue to help our most vulnerable. To help us understand the current and future take up of vaccines, and identify any potential issues, please can we ask you to complete this short questionnaire

Your answers will enable us to support our Health colleagues in their rollout.

Thank you for your time.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 01.02.2021

  1. Vaccination Update: emails to the inbox and new vaccination sites - Thank you for continuing to send questions to the Provider Vaccines inbox. The team are working hard to get through every query, so please bear with them as they get a large number of emails. To help the team get through the enquiries as quickly as possible, could we please ask that you refrain from sending any repeat emails to the inbox. The current waiting time is up to 3 days. Thank you for your understanding.

There remains availability capacity at all vaccination sites. Five new large NHS vaccination centres across Essex are also opening this week: Chelmsford City Racecourse is fully opening from today (Monday 1 February) and in the following days sites will open at Colchester United Jobserve Community Stadium, The Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea, Clacton Hospital and Alastair Farquharson Centre at Thurrock Community Hospital.

  1. Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) webinar tomorrow - this is a reminder that the monthly IPC webinar (first Tuesday of every month) is tomorrow at 2pm. Log in using the link in this flyer
  1. Rapid Testing Fund for care homes - The Department of Health and Social Care have announced further funding for Rapid Testing to be implemented within residential care homes and residential alcohol and drug services.

Agreements and terms were sent to providers on 28th January 2021.  Acceptance of the terms and conditions need to be sent by email to infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk.  Deadline for acceptances is by 12 noon Friday 5th February 2021.

The Local Authority Circular (Local Authority Circular: Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund) dated 15 January sets out detailed guidance as to what this new funding can be used for.  In summary, the condition of grant funding is that it will be used to support additional rapid testing using LFDs. Existing regular PCR testing for staff and residents must continue as per care home COVID-19 testing guidance for staff and residents.

If you have any queries on the infection control fund or the financial support available please contact the team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Day Opportunities: PCR Testing - Providers are advised that the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that all staff, including volunteers and private transport staff who support individuals to attend day centres are required to undertake weekly PCR testing with effect from 1st February 2021. Please find attached a copy of the DHSC slides which detail the requisite process to register and undertake tests. In addition, please be advised that the SCIE guidance has recently been updated with corresponding information regarding PCR testing in day centres including a link to the DHSC webinar which details the testing process in full. Providers are strongly advised to review this guidance which can be accessed via: Practical information: What to consider when re-opening day care services (scie.org.uk)
  1. NECSU Capacity Tracker survey for Care homes: Proxy Ordering Survey round 2 - CQC registered Care Home providers are being asked to complete the survey just once, a short 3 question survey regarding online proxy ordering during February. To find the survey and for further information see this guidance. Additionally you can access these FAQs.
  1. Mid and South Essex: Out of Hours Dementia Support for care homes - please see attached details of the new service which is contactable 8pm - 8am 7 days a week.

 

 

January 2021

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 29.01.2021

  1. Vaccination update: site availability, Q&A session responses, updates to the vaccine hub page with more information about eligible employees, 'Find your NHS number' service, and change to the West Essex vaccination centre

Vaccination sites with good availability - we understand there is currently good availability across all COVID-19 vaccination sites, but particularly - Harlow Leisure Zone, and The Lodge Wickford. There is also availability at Colchester Hospital and the acutes in Mid and South Essex. We would encourage your staff to look to book at these sites to make use of this capacity over the next week. Please note, however, that there are no walk-in appointments available.  Your staff must still book their slots for these sites, and this can only be done via the booking information you have.

Vaccine Q&A responses - Thank you to all those who joined yesterday's vaccine Q&A. We received a variety of questions and you can see the answers to them all here. In response we have put additional information on our vaccine hub page regarding eligibility and therefore those staff who you can put forward to be vaccinated. This includes support staff (eg. chefs, cleaners etc).

'Find your NHS Number' service - as part of the vaccine booking process your staff will be asked for their NHS number. For some this may not be easy to find and so the NHS has an online service which allows individuals to find their NHS number quickly. You will be asked to enter the following details to retrieve your NHS number: name, date of birth and postcode. The response will be sent via text or email.

West Essex vaccination site changes - From 3rd February, vaccinations for care providers in West Essex will be at Harlow Leisure Zone rather than Princess Alexandra Hospital. 1st Vaccinations at Princess Alexandra Hospital will cease on the evening of Tuesday 2nd February (2nd vaccination appointments are not currently affected). Please read more information, including the booking link and re-booking for those with appointments currently booked in for after 2nd February

Please continue to send your vaccine questions to ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. The team are receiving high numbers of enquiries so please bear with them and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

  1. New 24/7 psychological support service ('Here for you') launched to support staff working in social care -  Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) and Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) have launched the new psychological support service, 'Here for you', specifically for staff who work in healthcare, social care, the voluntary sector or not-for-profit sector in Essex or Hertfordshire, as well as those who work in an Essex or Hertfordshire organisation, but are based elsewhere. This service is available to anyone who is struggling with the impact of the pandemic, in whatever way that may be. It has been set up to support all staff, whether they are frontline or not.

You can call the service 24/7 to confidentially talk through any problems you're facing, whatever they may be, on 0344 257 3960.

Please make sure your staff are aware of the service. You can download the poster and use pre-written communications (for newsletters, emails & websites) to spread the message.

  1. Joint Statement on the use of COVID-19 positive staff in care settings - the statement confirms that "under no circumstances should staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms or not, work in a care setting until the legally required period of self-isolation has ended". Read the full statement by the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, Care Quality Commission and the Association of Directors of Public Health.
  1. Updated Guidance: COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings - Added new section on lateral flow device (LFD) testing in asymptomatic staff.
  1. Mid and South Essex care homes: NHSMail update - please see this letter detailing important information and next steps in the transition to using NHSMail accounts. As a reminder by adopting NHSMail you access fast and secure communication between your home and Health partners. About 93% of care homes in Mid and South now have accounts.
  1. North East Essex providers (Residential & Home Care): Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Bite sized Training - This one hour course on Infection Prevention and Control will provide you with up-to-date knowledge to support the prevention and control of COVID-19 within your service. There will opportunity to ask questions throughout as well as a question and answer session at the end.

            Course Objectives:

    • To understand the context and concept of the novel strain of coronavirus causing the global pandemic
    • To understand the characteristics of COVID-19 - how the virus causes infection and who may be at greatest risk
    • To understand how to use standard infection control precautions and the additional precautions needed at this time to prevent transmission
    • To be able to assess risk and make effective decisions
    • To understand how to access further guidance and support

Available dates:

February 8th @ 1pm - 2pm

February 25th @ 2pm - 3pm

March 15th @ 2pm - 3pm

March 26th at 2pm - 3pm

To book, please email Amanda.cowan3@nhs.net with your preferred dates and no.s of staff that will be attending. You will then receive an email with joining details for the session.

  1. North East Essex care homes - does your home use the MEDICATION REUSE SCHEME?  

What is it? - If needed in an emergency, this scheme allows medications no longer required to be diverted to residents who may need them urgently at the end of life.  It is particularly helpful at the moment during this COVID outbreak.

How can you get involved? The pharmacist, or pharmacy technician, at your GP surgery will be able to support you with implementing this policy.

If you have any queries, please email Sarah: swestall@nhs.net  

 

West Essex vaccination changes (28.01.2021)

From 3rd February, vaccinations for care providers in West Essex will be at Harlow Leisure Zone rather than Princess Alexandra Hospital. Please see below for clarification and for booking information.

1st Vaccinations at Princess Alexandra Hospital will cease on the evening of Tuesday 2nd February (2nd vaccination appointments are not currently affected)

  • If you have booked after Tuesday 2nd February, we encourage you where possible to cancel your later appointment and rebook between now and Tuesday 2nd Feb. This will help ensure that no vaccine is wasted. This can be done via your confirmation email or the Staff Health and Wellbeing team will call you to rearrange
  • If you cannot  attend before Tuesday, and you are booked, please either cancel your booking via your confirmation email or email paht.shawcovid19@nhs.net advising them of the date of your booking and that you do not wish to rearrange.

From Wednesday 3rd February, 2021

Please book your vaccine at the Harlow Leisure zone using the link below:

https://hctbookingportal.as.me/

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 27.01.2021

  1. Vaccination update: reminder of tomorrow's vaccine Q&A session - we are looking forward to answering your questions tomorrow. To confirm we are using Slido to receive and answer your questions. You can access Slido via a computer, tablet or phone. Please submit your questions via Slido (details below) either now or during the session, and we will respond to them live between 12-1pm.

To ask a question, or simply join to see questions and answers tomorrow:

We will publish the answers via the next bulletin. If you're not able to make the session or would prefer to email your questions please continue to contact the provider vaccines team on ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. When you email the inbox please could we ask you to include where in Essex you operate. This ensures the team give you the correct information relating to staff vaccinations for your area.

  1. Vaccination Scams - regretfully we are being made aware of more scams relating to the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Scams are targeting individuals and organisations so please be vigilant and only open communications from trusted sources. You can find an example of one of the scams here.

 

Notification of lifting voluntary care home suspension to recommence admissions (26.01.2021)

Dear care home manager

Whenever a care home has a COVID-19 outbreak, part of the care home management's decisions will be to decide if they can safely continue to take admissions.  If the care home management decides to close to admissions, but then feels able to safely re-open before the outbreak is declared over, they need to notify SPT (Email: service.placementteam@essex.gov.uk, 03330 139972) with an outline of how they are mitigating the risks. The care home hubs will support any decisions to recommence admissions.

Important, please note: this is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Local Authority.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 25.01.2021

  1. Vaccination update: vaccination sites with good availability - we understandthere is currently good availability across all COVID-19 vaccination sites, but particularly - Chelmsford Racecourse, Colchester Hospital, The Lodge Wickford and Princess Alexandra Hospital. We would encourage your staff to look to book at these sites to make use of this capacity over the next week. Please note, however, that there are no walk-in appointments available.  Your staff must still book their slots for these sites, and this can only be done once you have received your booking email.
  1. Updated Government guidance for Supported Living, Homecare and Care Homes - new documents added covering IPC, Testing, Vaccinations, Visiting (care homes) and wellbeing:
  1. Supporting people with learning disabilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 - People with learning disabilities will be invited to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the roll out to cohorts 4 and 6. We know that as social care providers you are best placed to enable people to attend their vaccination appointments as you know and understand the needs of the people you support best. We also know that a small number of people may struggle and you may need some additional advice and support to enable people to be vaccinated. The Essex Learning Disability Partnership (ELDP) - our specialist learning disability health provider - can provide advice and support where specialist input is needed. Their contact details are below.      
 

Mid Essex

01376 308700

hpft.mwcommunityldteam@nhs.net

 

Castle Point & Rochford

01277 637211

epunft.ldreferrals@nhs.net

 

Southend

01277 637211

epunft.ldreferrals@nhs.net

 

Basildon & Brentwood

01277 637211

epunft.ldreferrals@nhs.net

 

Thurrock

01277 637211

epunft.ldreferrals@nhs.net

 

North-East Essex

01206 363255

hpft.necommunityldteam@nhs.net

 

West Essex

01376 308700

hpft.mwcommunityldteam@nhs.net

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 22.01.2021

  1. Vaccination update: further clarity on processes to book vaccines for social care staff - Following the release of a Standard Operating Procedure last week we are now able to provide you with further clarity on the process for social care staff to book their vaccinations. Please read carefully as there are some differences depending on where you work.

As of today the following provider groups will start to be contacted. Each provider will receive an email which details the process for staff to book slots. Please note:booking information won't be released to all providers at once as it will overwhelm the booking systems

    • Domiciliary
    • Reablement
    • Mental Health
    • AWD (residential and supported living)

From next week the following services will start to be contacted:

    • Shared lives
    • Day opportunities

Eligible staff- All frontline care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work (for example in people's own homes, day centres, care homes for working age adults or supported housing)

Not eligible:Administrative staff who do not have any direct contact with clients, and unpaid carers

ECC email - Each STP (West; Mid & South; North East) has a different process for registering to book appointments. No matter which of the processes you are asked to follow you will receive an email from ECC that:

  1. Confirms that your staff are eligible for vaccinations
  2. Confirms you must prioritise your staff based on the JCVI definition of a frontline worker
  3. Includes x2 attachments for you to share with staff. The first is a letter of eligibility they must bring with them to their appointment and some information on consent.
  4. Includes a link to the provider vaccines inbox if you have any queries

Booking slots - ECC will be providing Health colleagues with contact details for providers which they will use to contact you. The booking process will vary slightly by area:

    • NE Essex - you will be contacted by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
    • MSE - you will be invited to book a Covid-19 vaccination on the ShiftPartner booking platform
    • West Essex you will be asked to complete a spreadsheet
  1. Slido details for next week's vaccine Q&A session - Further to our message on Wednesday regarding the vaccine Q&A session next week (Thursday 28 January, 12-1pm) below are the Slido details to ask a question for the session.

Go to: https://www.sli.do/

Enter code: A483 (you can submit your questions from Wednesday, 27 January)

As a reminder you can view the Public Health video which gives you more information about the vaccine, and addresses a number of concerns raised. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact the Provider Vaccines team ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk.

  1. North East Essex: Free Mental Health Awareness training for care home staff, 22nd February 9am-2pm - this is a half day online MHFA England Mental Health Awareness training course. It will cover how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing mental ill health. Read more information about the course and how to book a place.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 20.01.2021

  1. Vaccination update: Public Health webinar and Q&A session - ECC's Public Health team has produced this recording covering a number of concerns raised in regards to having a covid-19 vaccine. For clarity this video doesn't cover the process for booking vaccines. To help answer your vaccination questions we are holding a live Q&A session next week. This will follow a similar format to previous live Q&A sessions whereby we will use Slido to respond to your questions. The answers will then be published in the subsequent bulletin. Vaccine Q&A session: 28 January, 12 - 1pm. Slido details to follow.
  1. Government update on the roll out of 4 monthly course of vitamin D to care settings - the Government will provide a free 4-month supply of daily vitamin D supplements for residents in residential and nursing care homes in England to help support their general health, in particular bone and muscle health. This one-off 4-month supply will be delivered directly to residential and nursing care homes from this month. Read more here.  
  1. Indemnity support for designated settings - The Government has announced it will provide indemnity for care homes approved to safely receive Covid-19 patients discharged from hospital. This will be a "time-limited state-backed indemnity" for care homes registered or intending to register as "designated settings" who are unable to obtain sufficient insurance cover. Read the statement here.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 18.01.2021

  1. Provider Vaccinations update: new email address, updates on access and side effects - as mentioned in Friday's bulletin we have set up a dedicated email address for your vaccination questions - ProviderVaccines@essex.gov.uk. Any emails regarding vaccinations sent to Provider Resilience will be forwarded to this email address for an answer. Please also be reminded of the dedicated provider hub page which details the latest information regarding vaccinations for the social care market in Essex. Further updates are as follows:
  • Social Care Providers: We received the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) from government late last week. We will, as per the guidance, be in contact in the coming week to provide you with information on how your care staff can access vaccinations.
  • Care homes (OP) - you should have received emails from the NHS with the booking links to send to staff. If you haven't received contact yet please contact the Provider Vaccines email address. Additionally we are calling homes to check you have received the emails.
  • Side effects - Covid-19 vaccinations, as with all vaccines, can give individuals short term side effects (find out more about covid-19 vaccinations). It is therefore recommended that you encourage your staff to stagger appointments so no more than 25% of your staff are having vaccinations at one time.
  1. Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund - Guidance around the testing fund (announced on 23 Dec) was issued on Friday. We're working through the guidance and will confirm to you how this will be distributed ASAP via the bulletin.
  1. REACT Mental Health Train the Trainer training for social care managers - Skills for Care have managed to access some places on the course for social care managers. Please see overview slide, further information document and expression of interest form. Application need to be completed by 22 January.
  1. West Essex Homes: Change to the EPUT dietetic service for nursing and residential homes due to the covid-19 pandemic - this EPUT letter advises that until further notice they will be offering a reduced dietetic service to Nursing and Residential Care Homes across West Essex.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 15.01.2021

  1. Thank you message and video from Councillor Spence and Nick Presmeg - please see attached thank you letter showing our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of care providers in Essex in response to Covid-19. Included is a link to Councillor Spence's video which we would very much like you to share with your staff.
  1. Vaccinations Update: FAQs and new vaccination Hub Page - We are continuing to do everything we can to support the NHS in their rollout of the vaccinations. Thank you for your continued patience and also for your questions regarding vaccinations. We are still working through the processes with the NHS for social care staff to receive their vaccines and will publish these as soon as we know. In the meantime we have answered some FAQs below and included a link to the new web page. Additionally we will soon have a dedicated email address to answer your vaccination questions. We will put details of this in Monday's bulletin.
  • If I deliver care services but don't contract with ECC, how will the NHS know how to contact us?Please email us and we will make sure your company details are passed on
  • How do the NHS know our staff are priority to receive the vaccine? ECC is assisting the NHS with contact details for care providers. We are awaiting confirmation of the process for sending the staffing lists of those who have given consent and expect to be in contact in the coming weeks.
  • How do we put our support staff forward for the vaccine?I have already got the consent forms signed by our support start, stating whether they would like the vaccine or not. We are awaiting confirmation of the process from each NHS CCG and will publish the information as soon as we know.
  • Do the service users we support wait to be contacted by the NHS regarding when they will receive the vaccine or do we as the provider need to put them forward for it. Service users who are not residents of care homes will be contacted directly by the NHS
  • How will the GP's know who is a care worker to ensure they are vaccinated at the correct time? It's unlikely GP's will need to be sent this information.
  • Are foster carers and staff operating in the independent fostering sector in the priority lists? As foster carers provider frontline care they are considered part of the priority list at this time
  • When will Day Services staff be vaccinated? Day centre staff also provide frontline care so will be considered as part of the priority list at this time.
  • How do I get my care agency (not CQC registered) staff vaccinated? Please email us and we will make sure your company details are passed on. We may come back to you for further information if you are not CQC registered.

Provider Vaccine Hub Page - We have set up a vaccine page on our Hub to provide you with the latest information regarding vaccinations for care staff.

  1. PPE update: Warehouse and Ordering - Effective immediately we have extended the opening hours of our PPE warehouse in Colchester for PPE collections. It will now operate weekdays 8am - 3pm. Please continue to order through your usual routes and, if eligible, through the government portal.

We will have an on call system at weekends for urgent PPE requests, please continue to make your orders in the usual way. Should you have an urgent need, you will be given a time to collect your order by the team member. Please note that the warehouse is not open for ad hoc collections at weekends.

Please do try and place your orders and collect them in good time to ensure that you have the PPE you require.

For more information please see our dedicated PPE Hub page

Government PPE Portal

As a reminder, access to the Government PPE portal has been extended, and will now be in place until 30th June 2021 for those who are eligible.

Since 11th January, the Government PPE portal will now be able to provide FFP masks and gowns for providers who are undertaking Aerosol Generating Procedures

  1. Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service website launched - Essex County Council is striving to increase apprenticeships within the county. To provide quality opportunities for learning and development to strengthen the Essex economy. The council's new Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service will allow levy payers to utilise unspent levy to support the apprenticeship training costs for smaller businesses. This is an online service that allows companies looking to donate unspent apprenticeship levy funds (maximum of 25%), to view details of opportunities created by smaller organisations looking for funding. Organisations can specify their objectives and based on these are matched with other appropriate organisations. The online system makes the process easy and there is also a dedicated team to support businesses during this process. Visit the website for further details www.essexalts.co.uk or contact the team directly at info@essexalts.co.uk
  1. Infection Control Fund - 2nd Payment  - ECC are currently checking that the mandatory requirements of the fund have been met across all providers and are working on distributing the second payment of the fund.  These checks will soon be completed and your second payment will be made.   Please ensure your schedule 4 reports are returned and the capacity tracker is completed every week to avoid payment delays. 

Any questions, please contact infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. COVID-19 & BAME communities Webinar (Skills for Care): Examining the recommendations from the COVID-19 & BAME Communities Advisory group in more detail - the webinar is being held on Zoom on 19 January at 10am to help further support our BAME colleagues who have been disproportionately affected by COVID 19.  Register here.
  1. Red Bag Scheme for care homes - For those of you using Red Bags we are sure you are aware of their importance to provide crucial patient information on admission to hospital. Therefore can we ask that you make sure all the information is up to date so that it doesn't cause any delays.
  1. One Step programme - online, self-led training on Palliative End of Life Care (PEoLC) - This programme is aimed at, although not exclusive to, care homes, domiciliary and housing care organisations and their staff. Individuals can complete at their own pace and all resources are fully accessible without any cost. The programme comprises of four units: Identification, Assessment, Discussion and Engagement. For further information about the programme, please email lynne.Partington@eolp.org.uk or visit the Six Steps website
  1. Webinar:how video groups can help support COVID vaccination - the event will help you to understand how clinical teams are using video groups to help them gain informed consent for the vaccine quickly and efficiently; with a specific focus on care home residents. The webinar will discuss the implications for consenting other priority groups to ensure maximum uptake of the vaccine. Please do sign up by following the link below and you will be sent joining instructions:

Thursday 21 January 2021: 12.30 - 13.30

Register here (places are limited)

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 13.01.2021

  1. Care staff vaccinations update - further to our update in Friday's bulletin we know many of you are yet to receive appointments for your vaccination. You will be called in as soon as there is enough vaccine available and vaccines will be offered in a range of settings. In Essex you may be offered an appointment at your local hospital, through a GP-led site, or from next week through a Mass Vaccination centre. If you work in a Care Home you may be able to get the vaccine when your residents are vaccinated.

In Essex we have 25 sites currently offering vaccines, with a further 12 sites due to come online in the coming week. We are confident that with this new capacity, and supply of the vaccine, you will be able to source appointments shortly.

For those that have been contacted, you may have received booking links to access appointments. It is important that you continue to check these sites as appointments will become available going forward. Where possible, please can you encourage your staff to book slots throughout the week.

North Essex Care Homes (older people) - you should have received an email from Health colleagues regarding access to bookable slots for your staff. The email will contain a booking link and we are advised there is currently good capacity, including this weekend. Please send the booking link to your staff so they can register and book an appointment. They should be able to do so from tomorrow.

For more information there are many sources but the following links will be particularly helpful:

NHS Vaccine information

North East Essex Vaccine website - The Suffolk and North East Essex ICS has today launched a brand-new website which aims to offer residents a single, comprehensive and accurate source of information about Covid-19 and vaccinations.

  1. Important:Resumption of social visiting in care homes without elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable residents - Please see letter from Mike Gogarty detailing the changes to visiting
  1. Domiciliary Care - Contingency Care Arrangements -Further to the bulletin dated 8th Jan 2021 regarding contingency arrangements for the delivery of care, if you are experiencing staff shortages and as a result of this are adapting your services or reducing the level of face-to-face care and support for any Adults, please could you notify ECC either via your Contract Manager or via Procurement.adults@essex.gov.uk. We will then be in touch to discuss your individual circumstances.
  1. Announcement: Free COVID-19 PPE for care sector extended to June 2021 - The Government has extended the provision of free personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 needs to social care providers until the end of June 2021 (previously March 2021).
  1. Grant for Increased Care Home Testing - Essex County Council is aware that the government has announced a further £149 million to support increased care home testing of their staff.  We are still awaiting further guidance on the grant from the DHSC. Once we receive further details, we will make an announcement as to how these funds will be distributed to care homes.
  1. Please help us show the impact of coronavirus through your stories - inaccurate information is detrimental to the work of those working in the Health and Care system on the frontline dealing with the pandemic. In Essex we would like to show the effect covid-19 has had on real people's lives with a peer to peer campaign to create empathy and improved understanding. As workers directly involved in the pandemic response we would very much like to use your authentic experiences for this campaign. To give you an idea of what the campaign might look like, please see an example of a campaign run by Bradford City called Behind the Mask. If you or someone you know would like to be involved please contact us via ProviderResilience@essex.gov.uk.
  1. REMINDER: Infection Control Fund 2 - NECSU Capacity Tracker - Eligibility and criteria of the Infection Control Fund 2 requires providers to have completed the national Capacity Tracker at least once per week.  Some common errors and tips for completing are -
  • Access the questions from the heart logo only where you will see the ICF tabs. 
  • All three separate tabs need to be completed. 1) Business Continuity.  2) ICF Weekly.  3) ICF Monthly
  • Ensure you are saving the page.  Your entries will not be recorded unless you save.
  • The system will not record any questions answered with 'None'  'n/a' or 'No'.  You should be inputting the number 0 in these cases.
  • Further guidance can be found on the care provider hub

For queries with the capacity tracker, you can contact the help desk on email necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net  or telephone number 0191 691 3729 

  1. Day Opportunities Updated Guidance - Further to the Council's recent correspondence regarding the implications of the latest phase of the ongoing pandemic for day opportunities providers, please be advised that the authority has issued further guidance to clarify the extent of the closure notification and the applicable risk stratification task which all day opportunities providers must undertake during this period. Please review this document to ensure that your organisation is aware of the latest guidance for day opportunities provision during the current phase of the pandemic.
  1. ECC's care recruitment campaign: please continue to advertise your vacancies - our digital and social media recruitment campaign is continuing to direct thousands of people towards the national recruitment campaign site. These individuals have been specifically targeted based on their interests and many will be looking at the vacancies being advertised. If you are recruiting, or looking to recruit soon, please do the following:
  1. PPE portal: how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) - Updated order limits for domiciliary care providers, residential care homes and children's residential special schools to include FFP masks and gowns.
  1. My Care Record - ECC is proud to be one of a number of health and social care organisations across the region to be signing up to My Care Record. My Care Record enables health and social care professionals supporting our adults, to access the information they need from records held by other health and care services. We are currently undertaking a 12 week public campaign to inform and engage with our adults on this programme of work so if you would like to know why we are involved and what this means for the adults you support, you can find out more at www.mycarerecord.org.uk. We will be sharing more information on My Care Record as the campaign progresses so look out for further updates.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 11.01.2021

1.    New infection prevention and control webinars in care homes announced - The Department of Health and Social Care and the Better Care Fund team are hosting a series of webinars on Infection Prevention and Control in Care Homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, infection prevention and control has been a priority for care homes and local systems across England.

While great progress is being made in testing and delivering a vaccination programme, the risks remain and the new variant of COVID-19 potentially increases the risk as infection is spread more easily. The series will be made up of four webinars: a national webinar - to be held on 15 January 2021 - followed by three regional webinars, covering the North of England, the South of England and the Midlands region.

Book your webinar place here

  1. Skills for Care Webinar: Driving and evidencing improvements in difficult times 26 January 2021 | 14:00 - 14:30 - This webinar will look at how to maintain focus on quality improvement to ensure services continues to strengthen the quality of care, including how processes have been adapted during the pandemic. It will also look beyond the pandemic to sharing tried and tested approaches to gather evidence, identify areas for improvement and progress towards achieving these. Adult social care providers will be sharing insight and introducing some new resources. Booking your webinar place here 
  1. Learning disability and/or autism - Upcoming event and consultation guide (Skills for Care)

12 February 2021 | 10.00 - 12.00: The Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism - Stakeholder forum #2

The event will update anyone working to support people with learning disabilities and autism about the progress to date on the work currently taking place with partners to design, develop, trial, and develop the training. It's the second in a series of stakeholder forums and will give stakeholders the opportunity to highlight issues arising from the trial.

It's aimed at self-advocates and user led groups, campaigners, health and social care employers and self-advocacy groups which support autistic people and people with a learning disability, training providers to these services, commissioners of these services are all welcome to join.

Book your place here

  1. NHS Newsletter:Older People's Mental Health and Dementia Newsletter COVID-19 Vaccination Issue - this special issue features guidance and resources relating to the vaccination process for COVID-19 and dementia. It includes FAQs, easy-read books to help explain vaccination to people living with dementia and several resources and webinars on consent for vaccination and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 08.01.2021

1. Important: Mutual aid for emergency staff shortages in care homes & actions for domiciliary providers

You will all be aware that the health and social care system in Essex is now at a critical position because of COVID-19.  We are already seeing significant pressures caused by high levels of staff absence, and the risk this poses to the safe care of the people we care for; it is vital that all providers are prepared to seek or supply mutual aid to others in their locality.  This letter provides more detail about our expectations.

In addition, we may soon be in a position where we will require domiciliary providers to redeploy their staff to other settings. We wrote to all domiciliary providers before Christmas about the need to RAG rate clients.  Please can we ask that you ensure these ratings are up-to-date.  Given the gravity of the situation we are now facing it is possible that we will ask you to redeploy staff covering those people rated lower risk (green calls) into other care settings.  This could be higher priority home visits in your locality which are normally served by other providers or support in other settings such as care homes. We know that we are likely to have some difficult weeks ahead of us and we are likely to have to make some hard decisions.  We know that we can continue to rely on your support and dedication to ensure we keep the most vulnerable in our communities safe.

2. Support services for you and your staff - these are extremely difficult times for you and your staff and we know you are under considerable pressure and stress. We have collated a list of services to help you cope during Covid-19 and would really urge you to use them. There are various options including support via text and phone.

3. Retesting after positive covid test - There has been confusion over the use in covid-19 testing with lateral flow devices in those who have tested positive.  This confusion has been added to by some of the guidance on the Gov.UK website which appears to be in error.  Please follow the following approach:

  • Do not retest for covid-19 (either with a PCR test or a lateral flow devise (LFD)) within 90 days of a positive test unless covid-19 is clinically suspected.

4. Covid-19 Vaccinations Update - We wanted to provide an update regarding vaccinations as we have received a number of queries relating to when they will become available.

In the UK, there are 2 approved COVID-19 vaccines. They both require 2 doses to provide longer-lasting protection. Both have been shown to be effective in clinical trials and have a good safety record. The JCVI  has recommended that the NHS first offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19. This includes older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers. When more vaccines become available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

The COVID-19 vaccines will become available as they are approved for use and as each batch is manufactured. This means that appointments will become available over time and the vaccine and staff become available to deliver the vaccine. You may not receive an appointment straight away, but as a care provider in Essex you will be some of the first to receive the vaccine.

We realise you are anxious to get your staff and residents / clients vaccinated and rest assured we will be in touch with further information as it becomes available. If you have any questions please contact us through the provider resilience inbox - ProviderResilience@essex.gov.uk

If you would like to know more about the vaccine please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

5. Direct Payments Frequently Asked Questions - If you support any customers via direct payment, you may find some useful information and guidance in our updated DP provider FAQs. The key messages are as follows:

If you provide support to people who pay via direct payment, please contact them to reassure them that you are still able to offer them a service. If the service you are offering needs to change please contact the Direct Payment holder to agree any changes as the contract is between you and the Direct Payment holder and not the Council. If you are not able to offer a service but would still like to receive a retainer payment this must be agreed with the Direct Payment holder and evidence of this agreement must be in place before you send an invoice. The Council is comfortable with Direct Payment recipients paying retainers to their providers to ensure their service is retained and sustainable. However, the Direct Payment holder must ensure that they have sufficient budget if they need to have their needs met in alternative ways before agreeing a retainer.

There is lots of useful information including our policy for charging when services can't be delivered. You can also access the standard FAQs documents and further information below:

If you would like to be kept up to date in regards to changes to our direct payment offer please email DP.Covid19@essex.gov.uk and we will add you to our mailing list to keep you informed of changes and updates.

6. Updated Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing home care - Updated to reflect guidance on shielding: clinically extremely vulnerable people should now shield at home.

7. NHS Vaccine Fraud Alert - Fraudsters are targeting vulnerable people with scams relating to the covid-19 vaccinations. One example is sending random texts requesting banking details in relation to Covid vaccines (You can find out more here). Please can we ask that you remain vigilant regarding scams targeting the vulnerable. Thank you.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 06.01.2021

  1. National Lockdown restrictions now in place - access further information on the new rules.
  1. Important: Follow up letter re care home visits - further to yesterday's letter informing of a cessation of care home visits please see follow on letter in response to questions we have received. We hope these answers provide clarity.
  1. Webinar on preparing for vaccinations in care homes for older adults - JCVI Cohort 1 - on Thursday 7th January 2021 from 12.30 - 1.30 pm  - a webinar for care home managers and local authority leads supporting vaccination in care homes for older adults.  The webinar will provide an overview of arrangements for roll out of vaccinations to all care homes for older residents, and speakers will share their experiences of early implementation.  The session will cover topics such as: latest national guidance and available vaccines, practical preparations, consent, vaccination in an outbreak, and the role of local authorities in supporting rollout. The registration link is HERE and bookings will close at 9.00am am on Thursday 7 January. Joining details will be circulated by 11.30am on Thursday 7 January to only those who have pre-registered. Apologies for the late notice.
  1. Infection Control Fund (Round 2) - Reminder -December Schedule 4 Report is Due

As part of the terms and conditions of the Infection Control Fund and to meet the mandatory reporting requirements for the Department of Health & Social Care,  please note your December schedule 4 report is now due.  You will receive a reminder email today with a recap of what is required.   Please ensure you have also returned the schedule 3 from Round 1 of the fund and continue to update the capacity tracker at least once per week. 

If you need the template resent or have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

 

Important: Notification of cessation of care home social visits (05.01.2021)

Dear care home manager

In light of yesterday's government announcement of national lockdown restrictions now in place please see attached update from Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health regarding cessation of social visiting in care homes*.

We acknowledge the distress which these restrictions will cause and thank you for your continued efforts. We will continue to provide further updates via the regular bulletins.

*Important, please note: this public health advice is directed at care providers in the Essex County Council area. Providers based outside of Essex, including those in Southend and Thurrock should follow the advice of their Director of Public Health.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 04.01.2021

  1. IMPORTANT: Care home hospital admission pathway - message from Health colleagues

TO:  Care Homes and Nursing Home Managers

Following on from the letter sent 29 December from Dr Ronan Fenton (System Medical Director, MSE Health and Care Partnership) to the GPs and the declaration of a major incident, you will be aware of our immediate system pressures. 

We are working at pace to improve hospital flow and are seeking your support in identifying opportunities and solutions to manage acute episodes of ill health and specialist interventions in the community.

A new pathway has been developed by system clinical leaders to support more responsive care delivery in care homes with an enhanced level of support that is required at this time and to reduce avoidable crisis admissions to the acute hospitals from care homes, see attached. 

The purpose of this pathway is to ensure that patients are managed in the most appropriate environment. 

The pathway involves senior clinicians collaborating on decision making regarding individual patients together with enhanced clinical support for residents best managed outside of hospital.  Key members from your local clinical hubs will be in touch next week to speak with you about it too.

Staff who are concerned about the clinical condition of a resident and considering involving the Emergency Services should follow this guidance until further notice.

2.    Supporting hospital discharges: £1,000 Incentive Payments for Care Providers - The Essex health system is currently experiencing significant pressures from covid-19 related demand, especially in Mid and South Essex and West Essex. To support the acute hospitals we ask that providers make every effort to support quick and timely discharges of patients that are medically fit, including during weekends and bank holidays. To recognise the extra demands on providers, we are doubling the winter fast track payment to £1,000 for all new discharges from 31st December to 31st January inclusive.

3.    Day Opportunities: Closure Notification - In the wake of the recent rapid increase in the infection rate of COVID-19 and corresponding pressures on acute hospital provision across Essex which has prompted the enactment of a major incident status in the county; please be advised that the Council has elected to enact a further closure notification for building-based day opportunities providers with effect from Monday 4th January 2021. In addition, please be advised that a copy of this closure notification can be accessed here and we will publish any additional guidance regarding this matter as soon as practically possible. 

  1. Self Care & Recovery Sessions: New Dates January through to March 2021 - Your wellbeing during these times of extreme stress and pressures is extremely important. Amanda Waring's sessions are designed to give you a little bit of time out to focus on yourself and to recalibrate your own wellbeing which often gets side-lined whilst looking after others and meeting the ever changing demands the pandemic has created.  There are sessions specifically for Managers and separate sessions for your staff.

One manager's feedback from attending the Self Care & Recovery Sessions:

"I have found from my own experience in the last few weeks 'I am COVID worn'. This course came along at the right time, an opportunity for 'self-care'. This is the first holistic training session based on my own wellbeing in the last 10 years - if not the first, which is sad when you think about what we all do.  Such a kind, timely, thoughtful and caring training session to give to those in care."

To book please complete the attached booking form and return to quality.innovation@essex.gov.uk. For more information please see the course overview.

 

 

December 2020

 

Day Opportunities: Closure Notification (31.12.2020)

In the wake of the recent rapid increase in the infection rate of COVID-19 and corresponding pressures on acute hospital provision across Essex which has prompted the enactment of a major incident status in the county; please be advised that the Council has elected to enact a further closure notification for building-based day opportunities providers with effect from Monday 4th January 2021. In addition, please be advised that a copy of this closure notification can be accessed via here and the Council will publish any additional guidance regarding this matter as soon as practically possible. 

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 24.12.2020

The update yesterday (23rd December) had the incorrect email address for the Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team.  The correct address is eds@essex.gov.uk and post the below has had the email details updated. Please note this is the only change to the update issued on the 23rd December, all other details and information remains the same through the Christmas and New Year period.

  1. Important: Communications and Emergency contacts for the Christmas period - please make note of the following regarding contacting ECC between Christmas and New Year
  • Provider Resilience bulletins - this is the final bulletin of 2020. The bulletins will commence again 4 January 2021.
  • The Provider Resilience inbox will be monitored until 3.30pm on 24 December. We will resume monitoring of the inbox 30 & 31 December. For urgent and out of hours enquiries please continue to contact the Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email eds@essex.gov.uk  Please be assured that we have colleagues on rota to be able to support you with urgent situations.
  • The Service Placement Team can be contacted by email service.placementteam@essex.gov.uk. Please see the SPT Christmas and New Year rota for contacts between 26 December 2020 and 3 January 2021.
  1. PPE Access Christmas to New Year - We have detailed below how to order PPE for critical need between Christmas and New Year. Please note that the Lexden warehouse is shut from 24 - 29 December inclusive.
  • 24- 29 December - contact Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email eds@essex.gov.uk
  • 30 - 31 December - warehouse is open as usual
  • 1 January - contact Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email eds@essex.gov.uk
  • 4 January - normal service resumes

For warehouse orders please be reminded of the forms and location of the warehouse:

Order process and forms

Location of the warehouse and contact details

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 23.12.2020

  1. Important: Communications and Emergency contacts for the Christmas period - please make note of the following regarding contacting ECC between Christmas and New Year
  • Provider Resilience bulletins - this is the final bulletin of 2020. The bulletins will commence again 4 January 2021.
  • The Provider Resilience inbox will be monitored until 3.30pm on 24 December. We will resume monitoring of the inbox 30 & 31 December. For urgent and out of hours enquiries please continue to contact the Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email emergencydutyteamoutofhours@essex.gov.uk. Please be assured that we have colleagues on rota to be able to support you with urgent situations.
  • The Service Placement Team can be contacted by email service.placementteam@essex.gov.uk. Please see the SPT Christmas and New Year rota for contacts between 26 December 2020 and 3 January 2021.
  1. PPE Access Christmas to New Year - We have detailed below how to order PPE for critical need between Christmas and New Year. Please note that the Lexden warehouse is shut from 24 - 29 December inclusive.

For warehouse orders please be reminded of the forms and location of the warehouse:

Order process and forms

Location of the warehouse and contact details

  1. Updated Guidance: Visiting arrangements in care homes Tier 4 - Under Tier 4 guidance visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. The visiting care homes guidance has been also updated to cover visiting in Tier 4. The change is in the "Overview of visiting practice" which now says that all care homes (regardless of Tier and except in the event of an active outbreak) should seek to enable outdoor visiting and screened visits.
  1. Domiciliary Providers: Preparation for COVID-19 vaccination of staff - although we are yet to confirm when your staff will be vaccinated we have been asked to request you start making preparations. This will support Health colleagues in managing demand and allow the process of vaccinations to run smoothly and at pace. Please can we ask that you:
  • Request staff complete the covid-19 vaccination consent form
  • Put together a list of those giving consent (template) (you don't need to send this to us)
  • Consider the Covid-secure logistics of releasing staff to receive their vaccine, while maintaining staffing levels. Practical and implementable plans should be in place
  • Be ready to provide each staff member with a letter confirming their employment in the care sector
  • Keep staff records of vaccination and report via the Capacity Tracker (this functionality may not be available straight away)
  1. Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) support - Following visits to care homes to support with infection prevention and control, some common problems and themes were identified. The attached table shows where the problems were and solutions on how to fix them. Please be reminded that monthly IPC webinars are available on the first Tuesday of every month. The next one is Tuesday 5 January at 2pm, you can log in using the link in this flyer.
  1. Updated Guidance: Arrangements for visiting out of the care home - This guidance applies to residential care settings for older people and adults of working age (not supported living). Change made: Updated to include information about visiting out of care homes in Tier 4.
  1. Six Steps To Success In End Of Life Care- This free to access programme is aimed at anyone who is working within health and social care, and especially for those working in care homes, residential homes and home care. Unlike the original Six Steps programme, this is a self-directed programme of study and can be completed without a facilitator.
  1. Finally, from all of us here we would like to thank you for your dedication and immense efforts to keeping our most vulnerable residents as safe as possible during this extremely challenging year. Through your professionalism and your amazing staff you have had to endure so much in a short period of time, and in an ever changing environment. For this, we can only thank you. We realise there are still tough months to come in 2021 but we hope the vaccination programme, and continued efforts, will lead to better times ahead in the not too distant future. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

 

PPE Access Christmas to New Year (22.12.2020)

There is now limited time to place PPE orders prior to the 24th December (when the Lexden warehouse is closed) for pick up. We have detailed below how to order PPE for critical need between Christmas and New Year

24- 29 December - contact Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email emergencydutyteamoutofhours@essex.gov.uk

30 - 31 December - warehouse is open as usual

1 January - contact Emergency Duty Out of Hours Team on 0345 606 1212 or email emergencydutyteamoutofhours@essex.gov.uk

4 January - normal service resumes

For warehouse orders please be reminded of the forms and location of the warehouse:

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 21.12.2020

  1. Most of Essex moves to Tier 4 - You'll be aware on Saturday the Prime Minister announced that, because of the continuing rise in COVID-19 infection rates and the associated increase in hospital admissions, most of Essex would move to Tier 4 - the highest level of alert. This means all parts of Essex which were previously Tier 3 moved into Tier 4 yesterday (Sunday 20 December). You can read more about the new Tier 4 restrictions on the Government's website. For Christmas, those in a Tier 4 area cannot meet other people indoors over the Christmas period, unless you ordinarily live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas for Tier 4: you cannot form a Christmas Bubble in Tier 4.

Areas of Essex which remain in Tier 2 (Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford) have been urged not to let down their guard and will also see some tighter restrictions over the Christmas period.

The tier restrictions will be reviewed on Wednesday 30 December.

  1. Important: Domiciliary providers - Ensuring support for our most vulnerable over Christmas - the recent government announcement regarding changes to the proposed Christmas covid rules will inevitably change some caring arrangements. Additionally pressures on staff may mean some services will have to adapt to ensure they care for the most vulnerable. Please ensure you have an up to date RAG rated list of your service users so you know who to prioritise should staffing numbers mean you can only support the most vulnerable face-to-face. The RAG guidance can be found here. For others you will need to ensure their needs are still met (eg. phone calls)

We would like to remind you of the 25% flex arrangements for commissioned hours as detailed in this letter (you can also access FAQs here). Please note that these arrangements have been extended to 3 April 2021. ECC will:

    • Enable you to flex down up to 25% of commissioned hours on the premise that all service users are safe and appropriately cared for
    • Pay for up to an additional 25% contact time for each service user without the requirement to obtain upfront approval
  1. Day Opportunities - Implications of the revised tiering within Essex -In the wake of the recent introduction of the revised tiering across Essex, please be advised that the Council has published further guidance to support the continued, safe delivery of day opportunities during the ongoing pandemic.
  1. Care Home Capacity Tracker Business Continuity Video - this YouTube video tutorial has been produced for updating the Business Continuity page in the tracker in relation to the new validation that has been added.

5.    Updated Guidance: COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable (Tier 4) - Change made: Added new shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable in Tier 4.

 

 

Day Opportunities - Implications of the revised tiering within Essex (21.12.2020)

In the wake of the recent introduction of the revised tiering across Essex, please be advised that all social care providers must adhere to the Central Government guidance regarding Tier 4.

Please note that this guidance retains the exemption for formally organised support groups of up to 15 participants to take place in premises other than a private home which applies to most day centres as per the corresponding SCIE guidance.

Please be advised that as per the Council's previous guidance, all day opportunities providers are expected to offer a blend of building based and outreach provision during the ongoing pandemic. In view of the recent Central Government guidance to implement Tier 4 restrictions in the majority of Essex, with the notable exceptions of Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford; there may be cases whereby staff and/or clients would need to travel across tiers to access their building based day opportunities provision. In order to mitigate the risk of infection within day opportunities centres or further transmission of the Coronavirus across Essex, day opportunities providers should review the structure of their building-based sessions and staffing with a view to preventing the delivery of support across different tiers. In addition, day opportunities providers must liaise with clients to discuss the support options during this period and inform the Council's Adult Social Cares Connects team if any individuals are unable to access support during this period to mitigate unmet need via:

Telephone: 0345 603 7630

Textphone: 0345 758 5592

Email: socialcaredirect@essex.gov.uk

Please be advised that the Council will continue to monitor any further developments regarding the national guidance and local infection rates with a view to providing any additional guidance which may be required in relation to the safe provision of day opportunities during the ongoing pandemic.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 18.12.2020

  1. Important: Update to isolation periodsfor social care staff

The National Guidance has been further updated regarding the isolation periods for social care staff. Please disregard the message in Wednesday's (16.12.2020) bulletin regarding staff isolation. Below are the new isolation periods:

  • Health and Social care professionals who are contacts of a positive case are now required to isolate for 10 days only.
  • Household contacts of positive health and social care professionals also need to isolate for 10 days
  • The only thing constant is residents in care homes and inpatients in hospitals who are contacts of positive cases will need to isolate for 14 days.
  • Any individual (health care or otherwise) who requires hospitalisation for COVID will be advised 14 days isolation.
  1. Mass Vaccination Consent in Essex - we have outlined Essex' position in relation to mass vaccination consent. The document covers decision making, including for those who lack capacity. Ultimately, obtaining valid consent, addressing mental capacity assessments, best interest decisions, and administration of any vaccination requirement including restraint, are the responsibility of Health.
  1. REMINDER: Infection Control Fund (Round2) - November Reporting Overdue

In order to meet the mandatory reporting requirements for the Department of Health & Social Care, please see below recap of what is required:

  • Complete the November return in the new template sent on 9 December 2020
  • Send completed template to IFC2schedule4@essex.gov.uk
  • Ensure the capacity tracker is updated weekly

If you need the template resent or have questions, please contact the Infection Control Fund team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. New Guidance: Discharge into care homes: designated settings - this guidance builds on the letters previously sent to directors of adult social services about arrangements for the designated settings scheme.   The adult social care winter plan included a commitment to deliver a scheme of designated settings for people leaving hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are transferring to a care home.  Every patient must receive a COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to discharge and if they test positive be discharged into a designated setting that has additional policies, procedures, etc to maintain infection control.  People should undergo a 14 day period of isolation before moving into a care home from a designated setting.  Immunocompetent (those with a normal immune response) patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR, and have already completed their 14-day isolation period, should be exempt from testing prior to hospital discharge within a period of 90 days from their initial illness onset or test (if asymptomatic), unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms.

The guidance covers:

  • Advice on setting up designated settings with information for local authorities and providers.  Local authorities must ensure there are sufficient designated settings available. 
  • Information on discharge arrangements and supporting individuals to ensure that their care needs and preferences are catered for.  Hospital discharges should follow the principle of Home First.  Local authorities should "ensure they are involved in the discharge process for anyone being admitted to a care home for the first time." 
  • Additional information on data collection, funding, visiting and infection prevention and control requirements. 
  1. LeDeR report into the deaths of people with LD in the first wave of COVID - the attached report includes actions for providers to help prevent avoidable deaths amongst people with LD. With inpatient numbers of LD COVID infections rising again, and some deaths also, it is vitally important the services take note of the lessons learnt from wave 1.
  1. Resident vaccination consent form - our apologies for the broken link in Wednesday's bulletin. Here is the correct link for the resident vaccination consent form

7. Government PPE Portal update - Change made: Updated order limits for GPs, domiciliary care providers, pharmacies, dentists, orthodontists, optometrists, community drug and alcohol services, and residential drug and alcohol services.

  1. Get paid to help St Helena Hospice to promote the My Care Choice Register in north east Essex

Research has shown that those people at end of life who register their care choices on the My Care Choices Register (MCCR) are more likely to die in their preferred place of care.  This is so important, however, more recently the number of people registering their choices has decreased but with your help, St Helena would like to improve this.

With training, senior care home staff are able to access the MCCR.  The next training dates are Weds 20th Jan at 2pm and Fri 29th Jan at 11am. 

If you register two staff to attend this training a reimbursement of £100 will be made.  For every advance care plan that is then reviewed before 31st March 2021, a £30 incentive will be paid (NB: we have a finite budget, first come, first served).

To register your interest or ask any questions, please email MCCR@sthelena.org.uk as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your support.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 16.12.2020

  1. Updated 17.12.2020 - Change to isolation periodsfor staff - In the early stages of the pandemic we advised we would implement a longer period of self-isolation in Essex, in some circumstances, than were applied nationally. We will now be following the National Guidance and any supplementary guidance from the Public Health England team. Below are the isolation periods for Essex:
  1. Care Home Capacity Tracker: Vaccine Data Guidance -  we understand there have been some error messages when homes are trying to enter Covid-19 vaccine data.  In response, the following guidance has been released:
  • Make sure that your data in each columns for first dose and second dose in the CV vaccine section match up e.g. if you have 10 residents, and 5 staff, then there needs to be 10 and 5 in both dose sections. People cannot have had their second dose yet as there needs to be a 3 week gap, so therefore you just need to make sure you're putting numbers against the correct row - i.e. have had the dose, have not had the dose (which will be the case currently for second dose section), or unknown.
  • Please make sure the numbers in the covid vaccine section also match with your flu vaccine data - e.g. if you have 10 staff and 5 residents in your CV vaccine section, you should also have 10 residents and 5 staff in total in your flu section.
  • Please make sure this info also matches up with your workforce section (also under the business continuity section). The information in this part was recently zeroed because we changed the format from FTE to headcount, so this could be another reason it will not let you save if you've not yet updated this part.
  • Finally, please make sure that you have completed the "total number of residents" questions, which is found at the bottom of your vacancy section (as above, the tracker won't let you save unless you have updated this box too).
  1. Care Home COVID-19 vaccination: consent form for social care staff and adults - for those care home staff and residents awaiting vaccinations please make sure all who wish to have the vaccine complete a consent form and are added to an internal list, which should be kept within each home (see links below). This will support Health colleagues in managing demand and allow the process of vaccinations to run smoothly and at pace.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 14.12.2020

  • Tier 3 Restrictions for parts of Essex coming into effect from 00:01 on Wednesday 16th December - The areas affected are: Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Braintree, Chelmsford, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea. Please see this poster which provides an overview of Tier 3 restrictions as well as government guidance on what can and can't be done in Tier 3.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 11.12.2020

  1. Infection Control Fund (Round 2) -IMPORTANT CHANGES to Monthly Reporting - After listening to provider feedback, we have simplified the monthly schedule 4 reporting for the Infection Control Fund (Round 2). Please note the following changes -
  • An excel template has been emailed to all providers which has to be completed monthly.  This template is pre populated with your information for ease and also provides a step by step video guide. 
  • Previous online forms could not be saved.  This new form can now be saved for your future reference.
  • Previous schedule 4 forms do not need to be resubmitted.  ECC Infection Control Fund team will update any previous online forms on your behalf.
  • Email forms into ICF2schedule4@essex.gov.uk.  This email is for your schedule 4 submissions only and is not monitored for queries. 

We apologise for this late change, but we do assure you this new version is much easier to use and will provide central government with the reporting required.

If you need your template resent or have any questions, please contact the team at infectioncontrolfund@essex.gov.uk

  1. Lateral Flow Testing and care home visits letter from Director of Public Health - please read this letter regarding the importance of adhering to infection, prevention and control measures alongside the Lateral Flow Test kits (rapid tests) for care home visits.
  1. £500 Incentive Payments for Residential, Nursing and Domiciliary Placements to support Hospital pressures - the county's hospitals are under increased strain currently and so we would appreciate your co-operation in supporting rapid discharges, especially at the weekend. You can find details of our incentive payments to support rapid discharges and unmet need on the provider hub.
  1. Updated government PPE portal information - Change made: Updated order limits for the Christmas period. Added a video about using the portal.
  2. Covid-19 Testing for Supported Living and Extra Care: The Department of Health and Social Care are expanding their covid-19 testing programme for Supported Living schemes. The initial offer was a one-off testing programme for eligible providers and sites; this is being expanded to regular tests being available every 28 days. Access details of the scheme and eligibility. Please note that eligibility for this scheme is limited to supported living and extra care schemes where residents share facilities and the support is CQC regulated (ie includes personal care).
  1. Care Homes Infection Prevention & Control COVID 19 PREVENTION Tool - The NHS has created this IPC tool for care homes. The purpose of this tool is to help identify if a home is well prepared for dealing with a resident suspected or confirmed as being infected with Covid-19 and minimise the spread of infection.
  1. Vaccine updates from West and Mid/ South CCGs:

West Essex CCG - Some residents may have received a phone call, text message or letter from one of these centres inviting them for a vaccine.   We would suggest that any individual invited to a centre should consider, along with those important to them and the home, if having the vaccination outside of the care home is the best option at this time.  Some care home staff may have received a similar invitation and this may be a good option for them.  For those who decline or for other care home staff and residents who have not yet received an invite, invitations will be offered for vaccinations once local sites and timescales for administering within care homes have been developed.This will take place when the vaccine supply becomes available and can be transferred safely.

Mid / South - Basildon Hospital had a finite amount of vaccines for their first batch and these have all been booked already. Sorry for anyone who has had problems accessing the Hospital's Shift Partner booking site.

Some residents may also have received a phone call, text message or letter from one of these centres inviting them for a vaccine.   We would suggest that any individual invited to a centre should consider, along with those important to them and the home, if having the vaccination outside of the care home is the best option at this time.  Some care home staff may have received a similar invitation and this may be a good option for them. For those who decline or for other care home staff and residents who have not yet received an invite, invitations will be offered for vaccinations once local sites and timescales for administering within care homes have been developed. This will take place when the vaccine supply becomes available and can be transferred safely.

In the meantime please make sure all residents and care home staff who wish to have the vaccine complete a consent form and are added to an internal list, which should be kept within each home.  This will support in managing demand and allow the process of vaccinations to run smoothly and at pace.  We will be in touch when there is a booking process in place.

If you have any questions, please contact your CCG Care Home Hub Lead.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 09.12.2020

  1. Covid-19 Vaccinations: Update and useful informationfor care homes -

Mid and South Essex - We know some of you have not been able to book your COVID vaccines yet. The initial appointments offered to care homes in mid and south Essex have now been booked up. Should more slots become available we will let you know.  

North and West Essex - You will be keen to know when you can book in vaccinations for your staff. We should be receiving further confirmation about when the vaccines will be available to care homes in the North and West of the county and how you can access these over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here's a leaflet which explains about the vaccine, how it might make you feel afterwards and the process to follow. Additionally the government have published the following documents:

We'll be sending more information out, as and when it becomes available.

  1. 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.
  1. Flu vaccinations for care home staff - please see this letter urging all care home staff to get their free flu vaccination. It asks that you contact your local community pharmacy directly and make arrangements for your staff to be vaccinated. You can also email england.pharmacyeast@nhs.net if you have any problems in engaging with your local pharmacy or if there are issues in your staff being vaccinated due to vaccine availability.
  1. Community Providers: Capacity Tracker User Guides - the following guidance has been produced fordomiciliary care services, extra care housing schemes, supported living schemes who are now inputting covid information into the Capacity Tracker tool:
  1. Care worker survey 2020 Findings - This year's care worker survey results are now available. View the summary slides and a video summary. The responses will be used to inform ECCs future workforce activity to help adult social care providers. If you have any questions or comments on the findings please email MarketPortal@essex.gov.uk
  1. Government Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes - Sets out how care homes and visitors can prepare for visitor testing with lateral flow devices (LFDs).

7.    Important changes to Capacity Tracker (Care homes) - please see below changes:

    • COVID vaccination questions to be added to Capacity Tracker for Care Homes
    • Workforce - now capturing headcount - You will no longer be asked to provide daily workforce data using a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) measure. Instead we will be asking you to provide daily workforce data that tells us the number of people who have worked in the care home that day, regardless of the number of hours they have worked.  On Thursday evening, current data captured in Workforce will revert to 0 to enable you to input the new headcount information.
    • Costs and Vacancies - now capturing Resident numbers Providers will be asked to complete the new field "Total number of Residents today" within the Costs and Vacancy section. This will help provide a more accurate view of progress with flu immunisation and COVID vaccinations of residents
    • Flu ImmunisationsThe question relating to experiencing delays or issues with flu immunisations has been split out to identify if there are issues being experienced by residents or staff or both.

Have a query?
Please contact Capacitytracker-guidance@dhsc.gov.uk for any questions or queries regarding how to answer the questions
Please contact necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net for any technical issues with Capacity Tracker

  1. Vaccination Scam Warning: Essex Trading Standards has been made aware that some residents in the Basildon area have received texts asking them to book their vaccination appointment - clicking the link in the text then takes personal details and requests payment. The vaccination is free and you will never be asked for payment. We would ask residents to be vigilant if they receive a text or call such as this, not to give any personal information and report it via Citizens Advice here or call 0808 2231133. Please also make sure older or vulnerable family and friends are aware of this scam so they don't fall prey to it.
  1. New group calling function available on Video Carephones

Our Alcove Video Carephones have, over the last few months, supported hundreds of your customers to stay connected with their friends and family and care services.

We have listened to feedback and are incredibly excited to announce a fantastic, new group calling feature which launched on all Video Carephones from 3 December.

With Covid restrictions continuing through the Christmas period, the new feature will allow people to enjoy even more interaction with their loved ones and help prevent loneliness and isolation.

Group calling allows users to speak to and see more than one person at the same time and also to participate in group sessions such as exercise classes, therapy sessions or activities such as arts and crafts, coking or bingo.

The functionality brings the Alcove Video Carephones in line with other software, such as Zoom, but without the complicated logins and software requirements. It means people who do not have access to mainstream technology, or cannot use complicated functionality, can benefit from group calling and are not digitally disadvantaged.

This is another brilliant step forward in the way we deliver care technology to residents and we continue to evolve and improve services.

 

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 07.12.2020

  1. Video explanation: Lateral Flow Testing for Care Homes - please see this video recorded by Public Health which covers using them for visiting, and interpreting the results (including risks and mitigation). You can access the slides from the recording here.
  2. COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes: programme launch & actions for care homes - Helen Whately, Minister for Care, has written to care homes [for older adults], local authority chief executives, and directors of adult social services, outlining plans for getting the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) to care home staff, from the first day vaccinations are available. Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations confirmed that adult social care is in its top priority groups for vaccination. Group 1 is 'residents in a care home for older adults and their carers' and Group 2 includes 'frontline health and social care workers'.

Actions for Care Homes

The steps here are for two purposes. Firstly, so that your care home staff can be part of the early wave to be vaccinated in Hospital Hubs, but secondly so that when the vaccine is available you will be ready for it.

In preparation care home managers should:

    • put together staff lists, including basic details (name, gender, date of birth, NHS number, GP details) for each staff member
    • be ready to provide each staff member with a letter confirming their employment in the care sector
    • keep staff records of vaccinations and report via the Capacity Tracker (as you do with flu vaccination)
    • consider the covid-secure logistics of releasing staff to receive their vaccine, while maintaining staffing levels within their home. Practical and implementable plans should be in place from early next week
    • take steps now to ensure that staff understand need for obtaining consent, so that they in turn can help residents and families to complete the necessary forms when a vaccine is ready to be delivered within a care home. Once issued, these forms will provide additional information about the vaccine they are receiving

The NHS is working on a standardised consent form, as you will need to gain consent to vaccinate. When the form is released, please use it to gain consent. You may want to start talking to residents and their families now about the vaccination. 

  1. First vaccination centre opens at Basildon Hospital, starting from Tuesday 8th December, for care home staff in Mid and South Essex -  Care home staff in Mid and South Essex can now book their vaccination at Basildon Hospital online at https://covid.shiftpartner.com/. If you are registering for the first time please select 'Care Home' as your organisation to make sure you can select a Covid vaccination when booking.

Other vaccination locations will follow within the borough. We cannot confirm exactly when this will be but it is currently expected to be in a few weeks time.

The service at Basildon is provided by GPs, paramedics and registered nurses. All care home workers will be expected to have some form of ID proving they are a Care Home worker and when booking will be asked to confirm that they have spoken to their line manager before they book their appointment. For those who might like a bit more detail there is information that the MHRA has published for both healthcare professionals and recipients of the vaccine which is available here. Also below are some FAQs around the Vaccine which you may find useful.

Care home workers in North East Essex will be able to access vaccinations at Colchester Hospital. Details on when and how to access this will be shared as soon as it is available.

Information for care home workers in West Essex will be shared once the vaccination centres have been determined.

  1. PPE Warehouse Update: We can now confirm that our relocation of the PPE warehouse to the new site is complete. All details of the new location are on our update of 25th November. Please remember that requests placed in the 2 week period following the 7th December will automatically be doubled by the team to ensure that you have enough PPE for the Christmas period. You do not have to change your usual order, we will do the calculation here. That will make your next collection 4 weeks later, and it will be collected no earlier than the 4th January. Again further information is in the update of 25th November.
  1. Government PPE portal update - Updated order limits for domiciliary care providers.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 04.12.2020

  1. Video explanation: Why an individual with covid-19 doesn't need a negative test at the end of their isolation period -  Please see this video recorded by Public Health
  1. Reminder: Laptop Recycling Scheme - Do you have a laptop you could donate to help a child/young person to access learning? During the first lockdown some young people did not have laptops to access work that was being set at home and this scheme looks to close the tech gap. If you have any devices you would be willing to donate please contact: TSLaptopDonations@essex.gov.uk. For more information about the scheme please view the flyer and copy of letter to suppliers.  
  1. Reminder: ECC's Annual Relationship Survey 2020 - Click here to access the survey or use the QR code below. Your feedback is extremely valuable and the data obtained from your anonymised answers will be used by senior managers and directors to help plan future activity. If you have any questions about completing or accessing the questionnaire, please call the survey helpline on 0800 0092 117 or email helpline@enventure.co.uk 
  1. Dementia Support Groupfor families and friends - The Alzheimer's Society are putting on support groups for family and friends who have a loved one in a Care Home - please see attached flyer for more details.

 

ECC Covid-19 Bulletin 02.12.2020

  1. The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.  The vaccine has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from coronavirus, before being offered more widely.

We expect the vaccine will first be offered to:

    • people who live in care homes and care home workers,
    • people aged 80 and over
    • health and social care workers in England

The final decision on who will get the vaccine first will be available soon. We're currently working with colleagues on the logistics to be able to roll out the vaccination programme around the county and will publish more information as soon as we have it.

  1. Reminder: relocation of PPE warehouse - Following our update on 25th November, we would like to remind you that we will be relocating our PPE warehouse over the next few days. Please note that the warehouse in Witham will no longer be in use after today, Wednesday 2nd December, and no collections will be able to be made on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th December. Collections will resume on Monday 7th December from the new location in Colchester.

Directions to the new warehouse are available on the update of 25th November.

  1. Get ready for visitor testing - Rapid testing kits are being delivered to all care homes in England to be used for visitors. CQC registered care homes will start to receive these tests in December with the aim to have sufficient quantities to test up to 2 visitors per resident. Please also see the updated guidance: Visiting arrangements in care homes

To prepare for visitor testing you should:

  • decide where your designated entrance or outside dry space will be, for donning personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • decide where your testing and results waiting area will be, away from your main area, so visitors can social distance while waiting
  • find storage space for your test kits
  • take part in a webinar (care homes will receive links by email)
  • complete the online training (care homes will receive links by email)
  1. Financial support available for covid related costs including roll out of testing and vaccinations -
    • the Infection Control Fund (ICF) is available to help cover additional staffing costs associated with the roll out of testing and vaccinations. You can find out more about round 2 of the fund here.
    • ECC's Covid-19 Response Fund can help with costs over and above those covered by ICF. Further information regarding this fund can be found on the provider hub.
  1. Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) webinar recording - The NHS have produced this recording to help you understand the main points of good infection, prevention and control. This presentation supports the monthly webinars for staff working in the care sector. You can join these sessions on the first Tuesday of every month from 2pm - 2.40pm.
  1. New Guidance: Arrangements for visiting out of the care home - Sets out how care homes can support residents of working age on visits outside of the care home.
  2. Updated: COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people - Reference-only version of letter from the government to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

 

 

You can find previous news articles in the news archive

 

Last Updated: 21 April 2021

 

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