What's New Bulletin 77 - 20 January 2022

This is the seventy seventh weekly provider bulletin, containing information on guidance, procedures and new initiatives. Very urgent or high priority communications may still be issued on an ad hoc basis, but we will try to keep these to a minimum.

COVID RELATED INFORMATION

  1. REMINDER Vaccination a Condition of Deployment – health and social care workforce (for all home support, supported living and extra care providers)
  2. GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT Self-isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after five full days following two negative LFD tests (information for all providers)
  3. GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT Free PPE for frontline extended (information for all providers)
  4. UPDATED GUIDANCE COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings (information for all providers)
  5. UPDATED GUIDANCE Confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is no longer needed (information for all providers)
  6. Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund round 2 – December 2021 to March 2022 (WRRF r2) – 1st allocation (information for all Birmingham providers)
  7. Important changes to Capacity Tracker scheduled for the evening of Monday 24 January 2022 (information for all providers)
  8. Impact of social isolation in care settings (information for all care homes)

IN OTHER NEWS

  1. Fee Increases 2022/23 (information for all contracted providers)
  2. Level 2 Cold Weather Alert (information for all providers operating in the West Midlands)
  3. Department of Health and Social Care: Transforming social care: developing the workforce (information for all providers)
  4. Samaritans' wellbeing support for frontline care staff (information for all providers)
  5. CQC re-prioritises efforts in light of current pressures (information for all providers)

COVID RELATED INFORMATION

1. REMINDER Vaccination a Condition of Deployment – health and social care workforce (for all home support, supported living and extra care providers)

It was announced on 9 November 2021 that vaccination will become a condition of deployment in wider health and social care settings. The regulations have been made and therefore, the 12-week grace period has begun. Please see below for some important dates:

  • 6 January 22 – Regulations made. Start of 12-week grace period.
  • 3 February 22 – 8 weeks before regulations are enforced (and the period required between the first and second vaccination dose).
  • 1 April 22 – Regulations enforced. All staff in scope must be fully vaccinated or have secured a medical exemption.

Impact assessment - Vaccination a condition of Deployment

National guidance will be published in the coming weeks.

Communication toolkit and resources

The Department of Health and Social Care has produced a vaccine communications toolkit for adult social care staff. The communications toolkit can be used to provide information and resources to social care workers in all care settings in England about the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine. It also includes key resources for vaccines as a condition of deployment. Links to available resources are included and these can be used on your own channels, or as a basis for creating your own communication materials.

Q&A sessions for your staff arranged with local GPs

As we have begun the countdown to mandatory vaccination being a condition of deployment for non-care home staff on the 1 April 2022, commissioners would like to invite managers and care staff to a question and answer session regarding vaccinations. This will be an opportunity for staff who have not had both their vaccinations to talk to a doctor about their concerns and have any questions answered.

It is essential that this information is shared with staff in order for them to attend one of the sessions. Commissioners would very much appreciate your support in sharing the details with your staff teams.

Updating the Capacity Tracker

Please ensure you are regularly updating the National Capacity Tracker with your staffs vaccination status. The Department of Health and Social Care and out Commissioners will be monitoring this information closely and we will be making contact with those providers who have low dose 1 take up in the coming days.

The Capacity Tracker can be accessed below

Capacity Tracker

If you have questions or queries regarding how to update the data and where to report specific scenarios, please contact capacitytracker-guidance@dhsc.gov.uk.

If you are experiencing technical issues with Capacity Tracker, please contact necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net or the Capacity Tracker Support Centre on 0191-691-3729.

2.GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT Self-isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after five full days following two negative LFD tests (information for all providers)

From Monday, 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6. Updates to the relevant social care guidance are expected shortly.

The full press release can be found below

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

3. GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT Free PPE for frontline extended (information for all providers)

The offer of free PPE for frontline health and care staff has been extended until 31 March 2023 or until infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure staff and their patients are protected.

The full announcement can be found below:

Free PPE for frontline extended for another year

4. UPDATED GUIDANCE COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings (information for all providers)

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

The full guidance can be found below:

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

The following guidance has also been updated with the same change

COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC)

5. UPDATED GUIDANCE Confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is no longer needed (information for all providers)

The following guidance has been updated to reflect that a confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is not required;

Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Visiting arrangements in care homes - section on “Care home outbreaks’ also updated to reflect that the Omicron variant will be treated the same as the Alpha and Delta variants for the purposes of managing outbreaks.

Visiting arrangements in care homes

6. Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund round 2 – December 2021 to March 2022 (WRRF r2) – 1st allocation (information for all Birmingham providers)

Further to the government announcement of WRRF r2 grant funding, the Council has distributed 1st allocation funds to grant conditions compliant Birmingham based care homes and CQC registered community care locations. Full details of the conditions and lists of allocations have been circulated to providers. If you don't have copies, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk - where payments have been withheld because of non-completion of the Capacity Tracker these are highlighted in yellow on the allocation lists. 2nd allocations are likely to be made in February.

7. Important changes to Capacity Tracker scheduled for evening of Monday 24 January 2022 (information for all providers)

Vacancy Type Reasons for closure

Providers will be able to record additional information, i.e. closure reasons against bed types that are marked closed to admissions on Capacity Tracker. The new functionality will be available to Care Homes, Community Rehab, Hospices and Substance Misuse providers.

Those providers already declaring bed type closures prior to 24/01/22 who do not update their closure information will be prompted to select a closure reason(s) prior to their Business Continuity information update being saved.

Updated validation to COVID vaccination BOOSTER in the UK field

Updated validation will enable Providers to record all their staff, including staff self-certifying as being fully vaccinated abroad, in the COVID vaccination BOOSTER in the UK field.

Occupancy Report

In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, the layout to the Occupancy Report will be changed with new functionality added. Users will be able to filter their selection to a specific date and out of hours admissions fields.

Capacity Tracker/CQC Reconciliation

The next update from CQC into Capacity Tracker is scheduled for 21 January 2022. Following this update, users may notice some changes to denominators within reports.

The Capacity Tracker can be accessed below. If you have questions or queries regarding how to update the data and where to report specific scenarios, please contact capacitytracker-guidance@dhsc.gov.uk

Capacity Tracker

If you are experiencing technical issues with Capacity Tracker, please contact necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net or the Capacity Tracker Support Centre on 0191-691-3729.

8. Impact of social isolation in care settings (information for all care homes)

A letter from coalition of organisations to local authorities and UKHSA Health Protection teams has been circulated to providers. The letter highlights the impact of isolation in care settings and the steps that can be taken to mitigate the risks that arise from visiting restrictions. The letter provides a reminder of current government guidance that every resident should be supported to nominate an ‘Essential Care Giver’ (ECG) be able to visit under all circumstances, including during periods of self-isolation and outbreak.

Accompanying the letter is a simple-to-use ‘ECG Fact Sheet’ which can be issued to care providers in an outbreak situation. Also attached is an ‘ECG poster’ document that can be sent to providers to display in their premises and/or sent out to families, to promote the ECG role.

If you don't have a copy of the letter or the fact sheet, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

IN OTHER NEWS ……………………..

9. Fee Increases 2022/23 (information for all contracted providers)

The Council has concluded its fee setting process for contracted care homes, home support, supported living and Extra care provision for the year 2022/23. Details are set out on a summary document that has been circulated to providers and are applicable from Monday 4 April 2022. We shall shortly publish the fee summary on the Council’s website:

Invoice, payment and fees | Birmingham City Council

10. Level 2 Cold Weather Alert (information for all providers operating in the West Midlands)

A Level 2 Met Office Cold Weather Alert has been issued for the West Midlands. There is a 70% probability of severe cold weather between 6 pm Wednesday 19 January and 9 am Sunday 23 January. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

Cold Weather Alerts

Please share the following information and attached guidance with your staff, service users, communities and partner networks to help ensure that citizens - particularly those who are most vulnerable ­- are adequately prepared:

Weather update

Region

Warning Level

Risk

Comments

West Midlands

Level 2 (Yellow)

70%

Turning cold overnight into Thursday. Widespread overnight frosts expected. Temperatures recovering a little Friday and perhaps more widely Saturday, but a chance of mean temperatures being below threshold until Sunday.

In addition, please be aware that you can sign up to the Met Office email alert service via the following link:

Sign up for Met Office email alerts

11. Department of Health and Social Care: Transforming social care: developing the workforce (information for all providers)

Over 1.5 million people work in social care, caring for and supporting people at the heart of their communities. Everyone working in this sector should be recognised and valued for their dedication to protecting and maintaining the health, dignity and independence of the people they support.

Visit Transforming Social Care to find out more about the Government's long-term vision for adult social care, including creating rewarding career opportunities, where staff have the skills and training to deliver the highest quality of care, and where their wellbeing is prioritised.

Developing the workforce

For further information visit;

Homepage - Social Care Reform: Social Care Reform (dhsc.gov.uk)

12. Samaritans' wellbeing support for frontline care staff (information for all providers)

Please share details of the Samaritans' current wellbeing campaign with your staff. This includes their helpline to support the adult social care workforce. For anyone feeling the pressure, there is always someone to turn to.

Samaritans' wellbeing campaign

Find out more about the support available below:

Mental health and bereavement support for care workers - Our Frontline (mentalhealthatwork.org.uk)

13. CQC re-prioritises efforts in light of current pressures (information for all providers)

On 21 December 2021 we shared an update on our adult social care regulatory priorities. We will be keeping all of our inspection priorities under review, to respond to the Omicron variant and pressures faced by adult social care providers and their teams.

We're currently focusing on:

  • An ambition to complete 1000 infection prevention and control (IPC) inspections in adult social care over the winter period, and respond rapidly to requests to set up new Designated Settings
  • And from January, begin a programme of activity to rate adult social care services that are registered and not yet rated and to inspect providers currently rated as Requires Improvement, to identify where improvement has taken place and re-rate where possible. Supporting the creation of additional capacity in the system.

Our priority will always remain to keep people safe, we will continue to ensure that our approach remains appropriate and proportionate.

The full statement can be found below:

CQC prioritises activity to help create more capacity in adult social care over winter | Care Quality Commission

The CQC are asking providers to share their views on how they have regulated over the last 3 months to help the CQC understand how to develop their regulatory approach and ensure effective delivery. Use the following link to share your views

Quarterly survey on CQC's regulatory approach Q3 21/22 (typeform.com)

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