What's New Bulletin 120 - 17 November 2022

This is edition 120 of the 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.

  1. Important: Digitising Social Care and Technology Enabled Care (information for Birmingham Care Homes, Home Support, Supported Living and Extra Care providers)
  2. Become a digital transformer in social care (information for all providers)
  3. First support App for care home teams launched (information for all Birmingham & Solihull Care Homes)
  4. REMINDER NHS mail Weekly Drop-in Sessions, Hosted by The NHS mail team at NHS Digital (information for all providers)
  5. UPDATED GUIDANCE Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services (information for all providers)
  6. Free DBS check service to continue until March 2023 (information for all providers)
  7. Opportunity to be chair of Shared Decision Making Councils (information for all providers)
  8. REMINDER COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination (information for all providers)
  9. REMINDER Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System vaccination message to Carers in Community Settings – Please help spread the message (information for all Birmingham and Solihull Home Support, Supported Living, Extra Care Sheltered Housing providers)
  10. REMINDER BCHC and BSol ICS Personalised Care Training – Shared Decision Making 5 December 2022 (information for Birmingham and Solihull Care Homes)

1. Important: Digitising Social Care and Technology Enabled Care (information for Birmingham Care Homes, Home Support, Supported Living and Extra Care providers)

West Midlands Care Association (WMCA) are working in partnership with Birmingham City Council (BCC) to establish a local picture of Birmingham based care providers digital capability and use of Technology Enabled Care (TEC).

There will be various funding opportunities available to you as a care provider, to adopt one or more digital technologies to meet your future needs. The first step in this process is the completion of the following brief survey (which will only take a few minutes to complete).

It is important that all care providers complete this survey, for which we thank you in advance for your support. Regardless of where you are as an organisation in your transformation to delivering on digital enabled care and TEC this information is vital in helping the WMCA and BCC in determining what support care providers need. Should you have any questions about this survey please contact: Carol Leach, carol.leach3@nhs.net

The survey can be found below:

Birmingham DISC Survey

2. Become a digital transformer in social care (information for all providers)

The Topol Digital Fellowship programme, run by Health Education England, gives successful candidates the skills and financial support to focus on digital transformation or innovation projects which will benefit their organisations. The scheme is now open to clinical and non-clinical staff working in the social care sector. A bursary of up to £15,000 will be available to each Topol Fellow. If you have a great idea for a digital transformation project in social care and would like to find out more, sign up for this special webinar on 21 November.

Find out more about Topol fellowship and how to apply below:

Topol Digital Fellowships (hee.nhs.uk)

3. First support App for care home teams launched (information for all Birmingham & Solihull Care Homes)

Care home teams across Birmingham and Solihull (BSol) now have instant access to training, care guidance and additional support services thanks to a new bespoke App launched this week.

The HealthZone App, which is free, has been developed by Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (ICS) in response to feedback from care home colleagues. This is the first time that a free virtual learning and information tool of this type has been made widely available across BSol care homes.

At the touch of a button, users can view information on areas such as identifying deterioration, care planning and infection prevention and control. Care home teams can also book onto in-person and online training and events via the App, read the latest care homes news and bulletins and access key contact details for relevant essential services. These include enhanced care home health services, social care, community nursing teams, GPs, palliative/hospice services, mental health, urgent community response (UCR), community pharmacy and escalation services.

Camilla Barrow, Clinical Education Lead for Care Homes, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and member of the ICS care home programme group, said: “We know from our research there is a huge appetite amongst care home colleagues for access to high quality, consistent educational opportunities, as well as other areas that can support their day-to-day care of residents. We have trialled the App with several care homes in recent months with very positive feedback about the range of content available and it being easy to use. We are delighted that we are now in a position to be able to fully roll it out and the content will continue to be updated in response to feedback. Our aim is to have a system-wide approach to education and to break down any barriers to learning which may currently exist. The App is part of an even more ambitious plan to expand the care homes education provision further by launching a care homes education training academy next spring, watch this space for more details coming soon.”

To access the BSol Care Homes App, search for the ‘HealthZone UK’ App in your App store, download the App and then simply type ‘BSOL’ into the auto search box.

A poster publicising the App has been circulated to care providers. If you don't have a copy, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

4. REMINDER NHS mail Weekly Drop-in Sessions, Hosted by The NHS mail team at NHS Digital (information for all providers)

The NHS mail team now offer care providers a weekly drop-in session to support with NHS mail queries. There will be no agenda or slides, this is an open session to give care providers the opportunity to ask questions about NHSmail, directly to the NHSmail team, just pop in, ask your question and leave once you have your answer. No registration is required to attend but please note this session is for care providers only and not those in supportive roles for NHS mail.

Please click on the link below to join the session on the day.

Every Wednesday between 11am and 12pm. Click the link below to join the meeting

NHS Mail drop-in session

5. UPDATED GUIDANCE Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services (information for all providers)

This  guidance outlines the COVID-19 testing available for staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care services. Replaced information in How to use your rapid lateral flow tests for MP Biomedicals Rapid Antigen Tests with SureScreen tests.

The full guidance can be found below;

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

6. Free DBS check service to continue until March 2023 (information for all providers)

Fast-track DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks, established at the start of the pandemic to help employers recruit safely and efficiently, will continue until the end of March 2023. Use of this service must be limited to recruiting roles which meet legal eligibility criteria.

Roles eligible for free DBS checks

This applies to healthcare and social care workers in England and Wales, being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of coronavirus, or those being recruited to backfill roles because of the impact of the pandemic.

7. Opportunity to be chair of Shared Decision Making Councils (information for all providers)

The Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Deborah Sturdy, is working with colleagues at NHS England and across all 42 local Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in England, to establish Shared Decision Making Councils (SDMCs). The purpose of these councils is to help provide a better understanding of nursing in adult social care, as well as insight into the wider adult social care sector, to Directors of Nursing in ICBs. Deborah Sturdy is seeking expressions of interest from individuals with an active nursing registration working in adult social care to become chairs of these new SDMCs. This is an exciting opportunity to inform local understanding and recognition of their profession and the wider sector.

ICBs are responsible for planning and funding NHS services in a local area. They also have a wider role in ICSs who have responsibility for decisions around social care and health. It is vital that these organisations hear the voice of nursing in adult social care, and the voice of the wider sector.

For further information about what the role entails and to express an interest, visit the Florence Nightingale Foundation website below.

Florence Nightingale Foundation

8. REMINDER COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination (information for all providers)

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) urges everyone eligible for free flu vaccine and COVID-19 boosters to take up the offer as soon as possible, ahead of what could be a difficult winter. H3N2 - a subtype of influenza type A - has recently caused waves of infection in other countries like Australia, which has also experienced flu circulating earlier than usual.

Free flu vaccine

COVID-19 boosters

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Thomas Waite said: “Vaccines have saved many lives. But we must not be complacent - infections will rise again this winter. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from serious illness and help reduce pressure on the healthcare system.”

Claire Armstrong, Director of Adult Social Care Delivery and Covid-19 Response, Department of Health and Social Care, also wrote to care providers in August, explaining the importance of vaccine uptake for both COVID-19 and flu jabs.

Launch of the COVID-19 Autumn Booster and Flu Vaccination Programme

Find a pharmacy that offers NHS flu vaccination

Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, explains why it’s more important than ever for care colleagues to maintain both their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations as winter approaches.

Taking double precautions ahead of winter

Please encourage your colleagues to get vaccinated: download and share these free resources:

Health and Social Care Workers Winter | Campaign Resource Centre (phe.gov.uk)

You can also visit the Social Care blog for the latest vaccination stories;

Social care (blog.gov.uk)

Vickie Peters, Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Cygnet Health Care, shares what they are doing as a care provider protect service users and staff from the impact of seasonal infections.

Staying safe beyond the pandemic


9. REMINDER Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System vaccination message to Carers in Community Settings – Please help spread the message (information for all Birmingham and Solihull Home Support, Supported Living, Extra Care Sheltered Housing providers)

Please share the below message with your staff and any other paid and non-paid carers you are aware of to help spread the message;

Our community based health and care staff are really important to us all. They enable people to be as fit and as well as they can be in a community setting, and support citizens to retain their independence for as long as possible. Our cared for citizens in our communities need to be protected from avoidable illnesses throughout the winter. One of the best ways of achieving protection for those we care for is for their carers to be vaccinated against flu and COVID this winter. If we all take a vaccination we can stop the people we care for going into hospital and being affected by flu and COVID, which if caught can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, heart attacks and acute respiratory distress.

Let’s work together to stop that from happening.

Everyone who works in a paid or unpaid carer role or a health care role can access a vaccine for COVID and flu this winter across 89 primary care Birmingham and Solihull sites with accessible opening times to suit everyone. You may be able to get flu and COVID vaccinations at the same time or separately but it is important that you have both vaccinations to provide maximum protection for all.

The national website provides access and booking details across Birmingham and Solihull. And remember to book as a carer so that we can see how well we are doing at protecting our citizens.

Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Sites are also listed on the BSol website.

Getting a COVID vaccination in Birmingham and Solihull

Booking on the NBS website is open for health and care staff to book directly

COVID vaccination booking systems

Thank you for caring and thank you for supporting our more vulnerable citizens to stay as well as they can be this winter


10. REMINDER BCHC and BSol ICS Personalised Care Training – Shared Decision Making 5 December 2022 (information for Birmingham and Solihull Care Homes)

Shared Decision Making (SDM) is an essential component of personalised care, enabling patients to participate in shared decision making conversations, improving their motivation and health outcomes, whilst reducing health inequalities, risk and cost.

This trainer-led, interactive virtual session will cover:

  • Benefits of SDM
  • Key elements of a SDM conversation
  • Processes, preferences and risk management
  • The role of health literacy
  • Creating the right conditions for success
  • Application to practice

For more information or to enrol please use the link below:

Personalised Care Training - Shared Decision Making (SDM)

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