Weekly coronavirus social care update

care quality commission

The independent regulator of health and social care in England

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"Last week, we published a new national action plan to further support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

“This virus has brought many challenges to the sector and through this plan, we have set out how we will ensure care staff have all they need to do their jobs safely, while reducing outbreaks in care homes and maintaining independence for those receiving care.

“At its heart, the action plan includes better access to testing and millions of additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items, expansions to the workforce and the launch of a new unifying identity for the care sector.

Helen Whately

“On testing, you will have seen the Health Secretary’s announcement last week that all care workers who need a test will receive one, and all symptomatic care home residents will be tested to prevent outbreaks. Nearly 12,500 social care workers have already been referred for testing so far.

“The plan also gives guidance to help minimise the spread of infection within all care settings, including advice on safe discharge from the NHS, testing prior to discharge and when isolation is recommended.

“This new plan also further sets out how the government will ensure PPE supplies reach those who need it in care homes, including immediately through Local Resilience Forums and piloting direct dispatches via Royal Mail, a 24/7 hotline and a new website. Over one hundred and fifty social care providers have already been invited to test out this new pilot.

"As set out in the action plan, Public Health England has issued an explainer video and case studies showing how the PPE guidance works in practice for the social care sector.  

“Beyond this, to give the care sector the boost it needs at this challenging time, we are keen to get as many people on the care frontline as possible. That is why we’re launching a campaign to attract people to the sector to support the national effort. I am urging former social workers, occupational therapists and nurses to return to the sector and for anyone furloughed interested in care to step forward and join the fight to protect our most vulnerable.

“Finally, you, the care workforce, are playing an essential role in the fight against COVID-19, and as such, you deserve the same recognition and support as your colleagues in the NHS. That’s why we plan to help unify everyone in our existing care workforce under an NHS-style identity - a new ‘care’ brand for care workers. This will ensure all care staff, everywhere, get recognition and access to key benefits during the outbreak.

"I am incredibly proud of our care sector and I will make sure we do everything we possibly can to support you."

- Helen Whately, Minister for Care

Read the full action plan


PPE plan published

The government has published a cross-government UK-wide plan to ensure that critical PPE is delivered to those on the frontline responding to coronavirus, incorporating three strands on guidance, distribution and delivery and securing a future supply.

Read the full plan


Scaling up testing programmes

The government has set out plans on how we intend to scale up coronavirus testing programmes to provide a test to anyone who needs one.

Testing is a key pillar of our strategy to protect the NHS and save lives and our ultimate ambition is that anyone who needs a test should have one. The government’s testing strategy lays out how we intend to scale up our testing programmes to deliver on this ambition.

Read the full strategy

Tech firms helping connect care home residents with loved ones

Thousands of isolated residents and patients will be able to connect with their family and friends with video call devices as part of NHS work with technology firms to help some of society’s most at-risk and isolated people access vital emotional support and companionship during COVID-19.

As part of this work, Facebook will provide up to 2,050 of its Portal video calling devices for free to care homes, as well as hospitals, hospices and other care settings. Fifty of the devices have already been deployed to pilot sites in Surrey, with Manchester, Newcastle and London and other areas to follow, with support from Accenture.

As well as providing solutions to reducing social isolation among residents and patients, the NHS is working with a range of technology companies to support the NHS and social care system in these unprecedented times. Additional solutions include enabling health and care staff to work remotely when they may be advised to work at home, improving communication between clinical and care teams and shifting hospital outpatients to virtual appointments.

Find out more

New blog post on Covid-19 and safeguarding

Right now, in the heart of a coronavirus pandemic, we are all feeling vulnerable, but even now, when we all need protection, people receiving social care services are often seen as being at additional risk.

Hugh Constant, Practice Development Manager for the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has written a post for DHSC's Social Care blog considering the challenges of maintaining familiar safeguarding processes in an unfamiliar situation, including links to further resources on the issue. 

Read the full blog post

Coronavirus mental health campaign launched 

Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform has launched new advice, focused on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been updated after new data shows over 4 in 5 people are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half reporting high levels of anxiety.

With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights that there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and help others to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.

The range of new resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. The website signposts people to activities such as mindful breathing exercises, help reframing unhelpful thoughts, and muscle relaxation.

To help get this vital message out there, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supporting Every Mind Matters and have narrated a new short film which is set to be broadcast across national TV channels from Monday 20th April. 

Find out more

Home Care webinars 

The NHS is hosting interactive webinars for anyone working in the Home Care sector to support providers in protecting staff and the people they care for while ensuring each person is getting the right care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

The webinar will consist of an overview of the guidance through short presentations, followed by an opportunity to ask questions. 


Find out more

This communication has been sent by the Care Quality Commission on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.