COVID-19 resources

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That's what we do

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

For many children, some life experiences before Harmeny have not always been positive. Many have experienced significant early years trauma and we could not allow this pandemic to rock their foundation; too many bricks had been added to their secure base since they arrived. As I reflect on life at Harmeny since the impact of COVID-19 gripped the world, I could not be prouder of all our adults who have kept the service going around the clock. ‘That’s what we do!’ is a regular response, demonstrating their unconditional commitment. They have, like our colleagues in other residential services, given so much (professionally and personally) and the children will never forget it! I dedicate these memories to form part of our life story….

Last updated on hub: 27 November 2020

Busting bureaucracy: empowering frontline staff by reducing excess bureaucracy in the health and care system in England

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the government response to a public consultation on reducing bureaucracy in the health and social care system. COVID-19 has demonstrated the benefits that lifting bureaucratic burdens can offer and given us some learnings in terms of the best ways to do so. This document outlines the actions that can be taken to drive changes to culture and leadership, simplify assurance and accountability processes and review the system architecture to drive better integration of services. Ultimately empowering people to get on with their jobs and deliver better outcomes. The report highlights eight priority areas for action: data and information will be requested, shared and used intelligently; system and professional regulation will be proportionate and intelligent; day-to-day staff processes will be simple, helpful and effective; the government will legislate to make procurement rules more flexible; GPs will have more time to focus on clinical work and improving patient care; appraisals will be streamlined and their impact increased; there will be greater digitisation of services; and a supportive culture is needed at a national and local level.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

How has Covid-19 impacted on care and support at home in Scotland?

Scottish Parliament

Findings from a survey to understand the impact of Covid-19 on care at home services, and what issues the pandemic has highlighted, improved, or made worse. The survey ran from 10 August 2020 to 7 September 2020 and the Committee received over 700 responses, including 415 responses from family members of those receiving care at home and unpaid carers and 93 responses from individuals receiving care at home. Key findings include: there was a reduction of care as a result of the pandemic; care at home staff do not receive the same support or recognition as NHS staff; concern regarding safety mainly related to access to and appropriate use of PPE as well as testing and training of care staff; ensuring continuity of care was the second most important issue to respondents, with concerns around quality and consistency of care as well as the need for designated carers to reduce the number of staff entering homes; the reduction of visits, activities and respite services, and resulting loss of a routine, increased feelings of loneliness and isolation for those in receipt of care and of anxiety, depression and mental exhaustion for unpaid carers; despite a reduction in care being delivered, staff saw increased workloads, with new tasks required as a result of the pandemic such as additional staff training, increased staff meetings and increased paperwork; access to additional support and services (food and prescription deliveries, access to activities and entertainment) and access to hospital, GP services and medical equipment was critically important to respondents; it was felt that one to one communication between services and service users needed to improve. Finally, it was suggested that more needs to be done to listen to the needs of those receiving care and involve them in decision making.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic

National Audit Office

This report focuses on the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. It examines: responsibilities for PPE supply in England (Part One); the emergency response to PPE shortages, focusing on the performance of national bodies in obtaining and distributing PPE to local organisations (Part Two); the experience of health and social care providers and their workforce (Part Three); and the Department of Health & Social Care’s (the Department’s) new PPE strategy (Part Four). The Government initially considered it was well-placed for managing the supply of PPE in a pandemic, with tested plans and a stockpile in place. But neither the stockpiles nor the usual PPE-buying and distribution arrangements could cope with the extraordinary demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, government’s structures were overwhelmed in March 2020. Once government recognised the gravity of the situation it created a parallel supply chain to buy and distribute PPE. However, it took a long time for it to receive the large volumes of PPE ordered, particularly from the new suppliers, which created significant risks. There were further difficulties with distribution to providers and many front-line workers reported experiencing shortages of PPE as a result. The initial focus on the NHS meant adult social care providers felt particularly unsupported. Government has budgeted an unprecedented £15 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy PPE for England during 2020-21. It has paid very high prices given the very unusual market conditions, and hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of PPE will not be used for the original intended purpose.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

Rapid learning review of domiciliary care in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland. Department of Health

This rapid learning review has collated and considered any learning about domiciliary care issues during the Covid-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland in order to inform current and future planning as the pandemic continues. The review focused on four themes: service user and carer experience; service provision; workforce experience; and infection prevention and control. Work stream leads were appointed for each theme and they undertook a wide engagement with a range of stakeholders and using a variety of methods for collecting data. In addition, a workforce and management survey was carried out to seek feedback on three of the four themes. These were workforce, service provision/business continuity and infection prevention and control. A rapid literature review was also commissioned to add to the evidence from stakeholders. The evidence from the literature review was broadly consistent with the messages from the stakeholder engagement with common themes and lessons learned identified. The review highlighted some of the challenges domiciliary care staff faced such as PPE, training, testing and lack of adequate support. Staff felt overlooked and that domiciliary care did not get the recognition it deserved. The review has also highlighted the wider systemic issues that affect domiciliary care, including pay, terms and conditions of the workforce. Domiciliary care service users and their family carers reported feeling forgotten about and afraid to use domiciliary care because of fear of infection during the earlier stages of the pandemic. For many others, however, domiciliary care was the only service that continued for them. Both situations placed service users and carers under very significant pressure.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

Covid-19 and the Northern Powerhouse: tackling inequalities for UK health and productivity

Northern Health Science Alliance

This report looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the health and economic inequalities between the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of England. It conservatively estimates the economic cost of the increased mortality in the North during the pandemic at £6.86bn and the reductions in mental health in the region due to the pandemic at around £5bn a year. The increased mortality rates remain significant even after accounting for deprivation, ethnicity and the age-structure of the population. Figures show austerity simultaneously put the region in a more vulnerable position by reducing health and wellbeing, and cost the UK around £2bn a year in lost productivity, with over £16bn lost since 2011. Key findings include: an extra 57.7 more people per 100,000 died in the Northern Powerhouse than the rest of England between March and July and this could cost the UK economy an additional £6.86bn in reduced productivity; mental and financial wellbeing was hardest hit in the Northern Powerhouse, as was loneliness; reductions in mental wellbeing in the Northern Powerhouse could cost the UK economy up to £5 billion in reduced productivity; austerity disproportionately affected the Northern Powerhouse, particularly areas of high deprivation which led to reduced productivity; reductions in the core spending power of local authorities in the Northern Powerhouse by £1 per-head cost £3.17 per-head in lost productivity, equivalent to around a £2bn loss in GDP per-year, or £16bn between 2011 and 2018; pre-pandemic child health, a key predictor of life-long health and economic productivity, was poor and deteriorating in the Northern Powerhouse - since the pandemic, adverse trends in poverty, education, employment and mental health for children and young people have been exacerbated; economic outcomes, particularly unemployment rates, were hardest hit in the Northern Powerhouse.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

Special educational needs: support in England

House of Commons Library

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced major reform of the system for identifying children and young people in England with special educational needs (SEN), assessing their needs and making provision for them. This briefing provides an overview of the system introduced in 2014, and also includes, in an annex, a brief history of the movement towards reform that took place in the years preceding the 2014 Act. Topics covered include: support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN); funding system; statistics – tribunals, children and young people with SEND; accountability – Ofsted and CQC inspections from May 2016; impact of the coronavirus pandemic; and reports on the effectiveness of support for children with SEN. [Last updated 11 February 2021]

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

A testing service for homecare workers in England

Department of Health and Social Care

Sets out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff. NHS Test and Trace is making weekly Covid-19 testing available to all homecare workers in Care Quality Commission (CQC)-registered domiciliary care organisations. The guidance prescribes that agency managers should order tests every 28 days for their homecare workers; four tests are delivered for each homecare worker to the agency, for a 28 day testing cycle; each homecare worker should be given four test kits every 28 days; every 7 days a care worker should take a test, register it online, and return it by post between Thursday and Sunday. Homecare workers will receive their results in 2 to 4 days by email and text message (SMS). This approach aims to: identify homecare workers who currently have Covid-19 so they are able to self-isolate if their result is positive; protects those receiving care from infection passed to them by homecare workers who are confirmed positive; and prevents and controls the spread of the virus by identifying asymptomatic cases. [Updated 6 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

Proposal to regulate to stop movement of staff between care settings

Department of Health and Social Care

This consultation seeks views from the adult social care sector on the proposal to stop staff movement between different care settings and between health and care settings is critical to minimise the risk of infection of COVID-19. The findings of a study on the impact of coronavirus in care homes in England indicated one of the common factors in care homes with higher levels of infection among staff was the extent to which those homes employed staff who worked across multiple sites. The requirement would apply to Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered residential and nursing care home providers in England. These providers would be required not to use staff to provide nursing or personal care who are carrying on, or who have carried on within the previous 14 days, a regulated activity in another setting and/or for another health or social care provider subject to certain exceptions. The consultation closes on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

How care homes managed infection prevention and control during the coronavirus pandemic 2020

Care Quality Commission

Effective infection prevention and control (IPC) is essential to protect people from COVID-19. This report sets out the learning relating to IPC from CQC inspections across 440 care home in August and at the beginning of September 2020. Inspectors looked at assurance overall and across 8 questions: Are all types of visitors prevented from catching and spreading infection? Are shielding and social distancing rules complied with? Are people admitted into the service safely? Does the service use PPE effectively to safeguard staff and people using services? Is there adequate access and take up of testing for staff and people using services? Do the layout of premises, use of space and hygiene practice promote safety? Do staff training, practices and deployment show the service can prevent and/or manage outbreaks? Is the IPC policy up-to-date and implemented effectively to prevent and control infection? Across the 440 care homes, the inspectors found: a high level of assurance in the 8 questions; assurance in all 8 questions at 288 of the 440; the 2 areas with the most gaps in assurance were effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and having up-to-date policies.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

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