What's New Bulletin 139 - 6 April 2023

This is edition 139 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. REMINDER Information about the roll out of the spring 2023 COVID vaccination campaign (information for Birmingham and Solihull older adult care homes)
  2. UPDATED GUIDANCE changes to social care testing policy implemented from 3 April 2023 (information for all providers)
  3. Capacity Tracker: Updated and Streamlined Guidance on IPC and Testing for Adult Social Care (information for all providers)
  4. Urgent Community Response (UCR) (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)
  5. Skills for Care: Celebrating International Nurses Day in our region 12 May 2023 (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)
  6. Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulatory activity: What’s happening now (information for all providers)
  7. Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Skills for Care: Health and wellbeing strategies - what works well? (information for all providers)
  8. REMINDER Adult Social Care Workforce Data (ASC-WDS) (information for all providers)
  9. REMINDER Important update about the tendering of care homes, supported living and home support sensory services for Birmingham City Council (information for all providers)

1. REMINDER Information about the roll out of the spring 2023 COVID vaccination campaign (information for Birmingham and Solihull older adult care homes)

Care Home Consent Form, COVID Vaccination Service Clinical Screening Form, and Care Homes Checklist Mar 23 have been circulated to providers, to support the roll out of the spring 2023 COVID vaccination campaign, which commences on 3 April for older adult care homes. If you don't have copies, please email: marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

From 17 April, 75s and over and immunosuppressed residents, are also included. The campaign will end on 30 June.

The following cohorts are not included in the upcoming campaign:

  • Under 75s except immunosuppressed
  • Non-older adults care homes
  • Social and health care staff

It is imperative that care home staff ensure consenting begins as soon as possible to avoid potential delays on the day of visit.

2. UPDATED GUIDANCE changes to social care testing policy implemented from 3 April 2023 (information for all providers)

The Department of Health and Social Care and the UK Health Security Agency have recently announced changes to COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures across adult social care.

This includes a focus on testing for those who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, as well as changes to outbreak and admissions testing in care homes. For more information, please read this recent letter to the sector and review the updated guidance below;

ASC Infection Prevention and Control changes for 23/24

The guidance below sets out how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in adult social care settings in England. It has been updated;

to reflect changes to testing policy implemented from 3 April 2023,

Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement

Information previously contained within the ‘COVID-19 testing in adult social care guidance’ has been included.

Moved ‘COVID-19 testing: terms and conditions’ and ‘COVID-19 self-test for staff, service users and visitors in adult social care settings: privacy notice’ from COVID-19 testing for adult social care services.

The guidance below outlines the COVID-19 testing available for staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care services. A notice has been added to ‘COVID-19 testing in adult social care’ about upcoming withdrawal of guidance.

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

3. Capacity Tracker: Updated and Streamlined Guidance on IPC and Testing for Adult Social Care (information for all providers)

Updated and streamlined guidance on IPC and testing for adult social care is now available via the link below:

COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As set out in the letter from Claire Armstrong on ASC IPC changes, this takes effect from 3 April 2023. Please note PCR tests will not be processed from 1 April and LFDs should be used instead of these.

Letter from Claire Armstrong on ASC IPC changes

Need further help?

For log into the Capa city Tracker and check the What's New page.

Capacity Tracker

Please contact capacitytracker-guidance@dhsc.gov.uk if you need non-technical assistance on how to answer the questions in Capacity Tracker.

Please contact necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net for Capacity Tracker system support.

Our Support Centre is open 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays - 0191 691 3729.


Upcoming provider training dates (joining instructions have been circulated to providers - if you don't have a copy, email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk)

  • Care Homes - 12 April 2023 1:00pm
  • Homecare, Community, Hospice and Substance Misuse - 26 April 2023 1:00pm

4. Urgent Community Response (UCR) (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)

UCR services are available to care home colleagues seven days a week 8am-8pm and can be contacted on: (t) 0300 555 1919 option 2 (Birmingham), (t) 0121 424 5666 (Solihull).

UCR offers an alternative to calling an ambulance and helps to avoid unnecessary hospital admission or readmission. The Birmingham & Solihull Urgent Community Response (UCR) team provides a rapid response service to people in their own surroundings within two hours. The service is available to patients aged 17+ with complex care needs or whose health has suddenly deteriorated through a fall, infection, frailty or exacerbation of an illness. UCR can accept referrals from primary care, NHS 111, A&E/same day emergency care, frailty assessment units, ambulance services, self-referral, carer referral or community-based health and social care, including care homes.

Urgent Community Response Service

Reasons for referral: Falls, Skin change, Mobility, Observations, Pain, Fever, Breathing, Appetite, Behaviour, Elimination.

5. Skills for Care: Celebrating International Nurses Day in our region 12 May 2023 (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)

We think it’s vital to shine a spotlight on nurses and nursing associates working in social care to recognise the hugely important role that they play in the lives of people who draw on care and support. To do this, we’ll be celebrating International Nurses Day on 12 May 2023 and we’ll be posting on our social media channels from 8 May. Join in the conversation using #WeAreSocialCareNursing and #IND2023.

As part of our International Nurses Day celebrations, we're hosting a face-to-face event for the Midlands region on Tuesday 23 May 2023, 10:00-14:30, Leonardo Royal Hotel, Birmingham.

The event is specifically for registered nurses and nursing associates working in a social model of care. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with other nurses in your region, share good practice and contribute to professional discussion and debate, as well as taking the time to recognise the contribution you make. The event will be attended by Deborah Sturdy, the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, who is keen to hear your views.

International Nurses Day event - find out more and book your place

6. Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulatory activity: What’s happening now (information for all providers)

The CQC have now published their plans from 1 April 2023. You’ll find the full update on their website;

Our regulatory activity: What’s happening now - Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk)

In adult social care the CQC will:

  • Continue to inspect and monitor both residential services and services in the community as planned, prioritising services where there is new and emerging information of concern.
  • Continue their programme of inspections to reflect improvement to help create more capacity. So far, the CQC have completed over 530 inspections, which has created capacity in over 70 residential care services.

Across all sectors the CQC will prioritise inspections of services for people with a learning disability and autistic people where we've not received updated information in the last 12 months or we haven't inspected for 3 or more years.

7. Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Skills for Care: Health and wellbeing strategies - what works well? (information for all providers)

Are you a senior leader or manager who values the health and wellbeing of their workforce? Skills for Care want to know more about "what good looks like" to support workforce wellbeing. They've commissioned researchers from York Consulting to conduct 20 minute interviews to explore:

  • Wellbeing initiatives you have introduced
  • What works well and why?
  • What would you like to share with others?
  • Whether you have an organisational health and wellbeing strategy
  • What other external wellbeing support do you access? And what has been the impact?
  • How you support wellbeing matters, from support for menopause to financial wellbeing.

They'll use what they learn to influence wellbeing resources and best practice to help providers meet the CQC’s new assessment framework and the quality statement for workforce wellbeing and culture.

CQC's new assessment framework

To contribute to this work, please contact natasha.charlton@yorkconsulting.co.uk or hannah.russell@yorkconsulting.co.uk who will arrange a convenient time to speak by telephone, Teams or Zoom. Interviews must conclude by 30 April 2023.

8. REMINDER Adult Social Care Workforce Data (ASC-WDS) (information for all providers)

Skills for Care are hosting introductory sessions on the benefits of the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) and how it can be used to apply for funding to support training and qualifications for your staff through the Workforce Development Fund (WDF).

Flyers about regional drop-in surgeries and information about the benefits of ASC-WDS have been circulated to providers. If you don't have copies, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

9. REMINDER Important update about the tendering of care homes, supported living and home support sensory services for Birmingham City Council (information for all providers)

The indicative timetables for the assessment and award of each of the above contracts has changed. The Council is now working towards contract award dates of no later than 24 April 2023 although it should be noted that this date is indicative and could be subject to change.

The Fee Structure, in Schedule 14 of the Flexible Contracting Arrangement, sets out details of fees payable from 3 April 2023. If there is a delay in awarding the Flexible Contracting Arrangement, the intention will be to backdate the 2023/2024 fee rates for providers awarded a 2023 Flexible Contracting Arrangement/Framework Agreement as part of the initial opening of the Flexible Contracting Arrangement.

The contract award process will be via a letter emailed to you by no later than 24 April 2023 (noting this may be subject to change). The details of this mailbox will be circulated nearer the time to allow you to identify this important correspondence.

Your application will continue to show the status “Awaiting Approval” or “In-Review” within the CareMatch Portal until contracts are awarded.

The initial tender period for the Flexible Contracting Arrangements for the provision of Care Homes with and without Nursing Services and Care and Support (Supported Living) is temporarily closed pending the outcome of this initial procurement. The Flexible Contracting Arrangement application process is anticipated to reopen 24 April 2023 for the remainder of the contract term. New applications/reapplications can be made at this time. Providers will be notified when the tender reopens via the Tender Opportunities page on Shaping the Market and this weekly ‘What’s New’ provider bulletin, which is also published below;

Tender Opportunities page on Shaping the Market

Care services providers' bulletin (birmingham.gov.uk)

The tender for the Framework Agreement for the Provision of Home Support Sensory Loss is closed and will not re-open.

Please note that Commissioners and members of the Market Intelligence Team will not be able to respond to queries about individual applications whilst the regulated procurement process is ongoing.

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