Adult Social Care COVID-19 Bulletin Issue 218: 16 November 2021

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Updates for providers.

Issue 218: 16 November 2021

The most up-to-date information from these bulletins can be found on our website.

For general advice about COVID-19 please go to:

This bulletin covers:

Recent COVID-19 guidance and updates: Infection Control and Testing Fund; infection prevention and control network; essential caregivers

Have your say: new service models; proposed changes to top-up payments

Care home huddle: join us next week

Vaccination: extension of booster programme to over 40s

Workforce: learning and development resources; is social care losing the ‘generation game’?

Recent COVID-19 guidance and updates

Infection Control and Testing Fund

The Infection Control and Testing Fund has been extended to 31 March 2022, with an extra £388 million of funding nationally. This is to support the social care sector to:

  • reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective infection prevention and control practices
  • increase COVID-19 and flu vaccine uptake among staff
  • conduct testing of staff and visitors in care settings to identify and isolate positive cases, to enable close contact visiting where possible

We will shortly be contacting social care services with more detail about how much has been allocated for each service type, and how to apply.

Please can all care homes and regulated community care providers make sure that they are regularly updating the Capacity Tracker: payments can only be made to services which do so.

If your contact details have changed recently, you can let us know by emailing with details of the service, who should be contacted and their email address.

Network of infection prevention and control ‘champions’

A new network of adult social care infection prevention and control champions has been launched to help maintain and continuously improve standards across the care sector.

Run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the scheme is supported by Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Deborah Sturdy, and backed by a £35,000 grant from the Department of Health and Social Care.

The network will be made up of frontline social care staff from settings around England, responsible for infection prevention and control (lPC) in their specific areas or homes. It is a separate initiative to the East Sussex County Council IPC champions courses.

Deborah Sturdy wrote about the new network in her blog (12 November).

Visiting in care homes: essential caregivers

Every care home resident can choose to nominate an ‘essential care giver’ who may visit the home to help with essential care needs. The role was introduced in guidance on care home visiting (last updated 23 August 2021).

It runs alongside other types of visiting and enables residents to have more regular support and companionship from a relative or friend, or help with personal care. Clinical care and medical tasks remain the responsibility of the care home, as does the duty to meet the resident’s care needs.

Essential caregivers follow the same testing regime, personal protection equipment (PPE) arrangements and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures as staff.

The Relatives and Residents Association has produced some frequently asked questions about the role of essential care givers

Have your say

Tell us what you think about new service models

East Sussex County Council would like to hear your views on the service models for the approved provider list for home care, lead providers, Lewes prison, and extra care.

This past year, we have been working with stakeholders - including home and extra care providers, care workers, clients and carers in the county - to develop new service models and inform our procurement approach.

Our aim is to strike a balance between:

  • commissioning the outcomes we need to achieve for our clients, and
  • supporting service providers to deliver these outcomes

Before we finalise the specification and contracts, we wanted to ensure that providers have another chance to have their say.  The survey closes on 26 November 2021.

Proposed changes to top-up payments

Top-up payments are typically made by a client’s family or friends when the client prefers a residential care home that costs more than East Sussex County Council’s standard residential care rate.

Currently, that top-up payment is made to the care provider by the person paying the top-up.

The proposal is to change this so that the top-up is paid directly to the Council. The top-up would then be passed on to the care provider.  The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has encouraged the Council to make this change, in line with guidance to the Care Act 2014.

If the proposal goes ahead it would apply to existing and new arrangements. The main benefit of the change is that it gives the Council a complete view of the arrangements for a person’s care and should simplify things for everyone involved.

We will be contacting providers, clients’ representatives, and people who pay top-ups directly to invite them to share their views on the proposed change.

If your organisation would like to take part in the consultation please email:

Care home huddle

Join us next week

If you’d like to join us, a reminder that care home huddles are monthly and are held at 11am on the last Wednesday of the month.

The next one is on 24 November at 11am.

The agenda includes Public Health and clinical updates.

Join the meeting


Extension of booster programme to those 40 and over

The Government has accepted Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice to extend the COVID-19 booster programme to people aged 40 and over, and offer a second dose to people aged 16 to 17.

Immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane after six months: new data (published 15 November) shows a third dose boosts protection against symptomatic COVID 19 in adults over 50, highlighting the importance of those eligible getting their top-up jabs as soon as possible.

The findings show that two weeks after receiving a booster dose, protection against symptomatic infection in adults over 50 was 93.1 per cent in those with AstraZeneca as their primary course, and 94.0 per cent for Pfizer-BioNTech.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UK Health Security Agency, said:

“Our findings demonstrate the protection provided by the booster dose against symptomatic infection in those at highest risk from developing severe COVID-19. We know that in older age groups, protection from the first two vaccines is beginning to wear off, leaving millions that need extra protection as we head into winter.”


Learning and development opportunities

Supporting learning and development opportunities for your team can play a vital role in helping to keep staff.

As part of Skills for Care’s #RetainToGain initiative they've written a blog (9 November) which details five learning and development resources to support retention.

Is social care losing the ‘generation game’?

That’s the question posed by Simon Bottery, senior fellow in social care at the King’s Fund. In his blog, (09 November) he explores reasons for the lack of younger workers in social care, and writes about ‘snapshots’ of innovation among providers trying to reverse the trend.

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