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Covid-19 – reference for health and social care providers and professionals

This page is up to date as at 29 May 2020.

To assist health and social care providers we set out below links to key documents and guidance which have been published and implemented to assist the sector in dealing with the impact of coronavirus. Whilst the links below reflect the most recent position, we suggest that providers also refer to the gov.uk website regularly for updates.

Click here to visit our team page for all our contact details.

The Home Office

  • NHS surcharge to be scrapped for migrant healthcare workers

The Prime Minister has requested that the Home Office and the DHSC remove NHS and care workers from the NHS surcharge arrangements. Full details are yet to be announced but the latest on this story can be found on the BBC News website. (21 May)

Department of Health and Social Care

  • Responding to COVID-19: the ethical framework for adult social care

The framework intends to provide support to ongoing response planning and decision-making to ensure that ample consideration is given to a series of ethical values and principles when organising and delivering social care for adults in the context of increasing pressures. Click here for our briefing on the framework.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital discharge service requirements

This document sets out how health and care systems and providers should change their discharging arrangements and the provision of community support during the coronavirus situation.

  • Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities

This guidance sets out how Local Authorities can use the new Care Act easements, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to ensure the best possible care for people in our society during this exceptional period.

  • The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

This guidance is for hospitals, care homes and supervisory bodies and is only valid during the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to those caring for adults who lack the relevant mental capacity to consent to their care and treatment. The principles of the MCA and the safeguards provided by DoLS still apply. A flow chart is provided to assist decision makers and a shortened Urgent Authorisation form is annexed.

  • Detailed Guidance and a Policy Paper – 15 April 2020

Click here for guidance on coronavirus testing for critical workers who are self-isolating.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care action plan provides details of how the government will support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

The policy paper sets out the government’s plan for:

  1. controlling the spread of infection in care settings
  2. supporting the workforce
  3. supporting independence, supporting people at the end of their lives, and responding to individual needs
  4. supporting local authorities and the providers of care

The plan applies to all settings and contexts in which people receive adult social care. This includes people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes, and other community settings. It applies to people with direct payments and personal budgets, and those who fund their own care.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested (updated 19 May 2020)

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): health and well-being of the adult social care workforce (updated 11 May 2020)

This guidance gives advice for those working in adult social care on managing personal mental health and also provides adult social care employers with guidance, tools and advice on how to take care of the well-being of staff at work.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): informing DHSC of the death of a worker in social care (20 May 2020)

This guidance explains how local authorities and social care providers can tell DHSC about the death of an employee or volunteer in social care.

  • Simplifying the recruitment process for care providers during Covid-19

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an online platform has been built for care providers to help to simplify their recruitment process. Free training and DBS checks are available. Click here for more information.

  • NHS test and trace: how it works

An overview of the NHS test and trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. (published 27 May 2020)

  • NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers. (published 27 May 2020). See also our briefing on sick pay entitlement.

  • Letter from the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately MP to Council Leaders emphasising the need for data to coordinate national and local response.

The letter highlights that completion of the Capacity Tracker by care homes is a condition of access to the Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. Highlights that completion of the Capacity Tracker by care homes is a condition of access to the Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care – see this link.

Parliament – See Legislation.gov.uk

  • Coronavirus Bill: Summary of Impacts

This summary of impacts relates to clauses within the Coronavirus Bill. It is noted that the policies in the Bill are designed for use temporarily in an emergency. They are noted to be strong in nature, and risks have been considered and discussed throughout this assessment, but it is recognised that in a pandemic situation, with potentially very high counterfactual costs, firm actions may be the most desirable to protect individuals.

  • The Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 is now in force, although some provisions only come into effect by way of regulations.

For a summary of the changes to mental health legislation, read this briefing produced by Tom Ringland and Alexandra Johnstone.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 2) Regulations 2020 – Section 15 (local authority care and support) of, and Part 1 of Schedule 12 (powers and duties of local authorities in England) to the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 31 March 2020.

  • The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020

Schedule 21 para 24(1) Coronavirus Act 2020 revokes The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/129).

Cabinet Office

  • Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do (Updated 1 May 2020)

Government guidance in respect of leaving the house and travel including updated advice for people with learning disabilities or autism.

  • Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

This guidance sets out the Government’s road-map for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis (published 11 May 2020).

Disclosure and Barring Service

  • COVID-19: Changes to standard and enhanced ID checking guidelines

To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS standard and enhanced ID checking guidance will be changed for a temporary period. The change is in effect from 19 March 2020 and allows for ID documents to be viewed over video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted.

  • Quicker recruitment during COVID-19​

Measures have been put in place to provide DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists, free-of-charge. This will apply to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The new measures will permit employers to appoint new recruits into the sector so long as they are not barred and that appropriate steps are taken to manage these employees until full DBS checks have been received.

  • CQC guidance on DBS checks

The CQC has issued interim guidance in response to temporary changes being made by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to DBS applications and processes.

Public Health England

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance: healthcare professionals (updated 18 May 2020)

A number of targeted guidance documents can be accessed from this link, these relate to primary care, ambulance and community services, infection control and also address what to do when providers have a diagnosed case within their facility. Guidance for the management of staff and patients exposed to the virus was updated on 18 May 2020. The guidance covers staff exposures, staff return to work criteria and patient exposures.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): residential care, supported living and home care guidance

The guidance sets out how to maintain delivery of care in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19 and what to do if care workers or individuals being cared for have symptoms of COVID-19. Read our briefing for a summary of the guidance for care homes.

  • COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable (updated 18 May 2020)

Public Health England is strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (designated extremely vulnerable), to follow shielding measures rigorously in order to keep themselves safe and avoid the very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The guidance is equally relevant for providers and for friends and family caring for people with the conditions listed. Read our briefing which summarises the guidance.

  • Considerations for acute personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages (17 April 2020 – now updated)

This guidance aims to highlight the sessional use and reuse of PPE when there are severe shortages of supply. The considerations are to ensure that health and care workers are appropriately protected from COVID-19, where items of PPE are unavailable, and should be considered as temporary measures until the global supply chain is adequate to meet the UK’s needs.

  • Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

Updated guidance was issued on 27 April on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care workers, in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. It supersedes previous PPE guidance. This guidance relates solely to considerations of PPE, represents one section of infection prevention and control guidance for COVID-19 and should be used in conjunction with local policies.

The main changes are:

  • enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of health and social care contexts
  • inclusion of individual and organisational risk assessment at local level to inform PPE use
  • recommendation of single sessional (extended) use of some PPE items
  • re-usable PPE can be used. Advice on suitable decontamination arrangements should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control
  • guidance for when case status is unknown and SARS-CoV-2 is circulating at high levels
  • recommendation on patient use of facemasks
  • recommendation on the use of disposable fluid repellent coveralls as an alternative to long sleeved fluid repellent gowns for aerosol generating procedures or when working in higher risk acute areas. Staff need to be trained in the safe removal of coveralls [10 April 2020]
  • COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes (updated 27 April 2020)

This resource provides guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care workers working in care homes during sustained COVID-19 transmission in the UK. It explains how PPE guidance applies to the care home setting and is drawn from full infection prevention and control (IPC) and PPE guidance.

  • COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance

The guidance is issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health Scotland, Public Health England and NHS England as official guidance.

Updated 27 April 2020 to include the PHE statement regarding NERVTAG review and consensus on cardiopulmonary resuscitation as an aerosol generating procedure.

  • Guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) (updated 15 May)

This guidance is to assist people who are required to manage the bodies of deceased persons during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Care Quality Commission

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The CQC has changed the way they will operate during the coronavirus outbreak. The changes relate to how they work day to day and affect how people communicate and/or send applications or other information. Providers should subscribe to bulletins and follow the CQC’s Twitter feed to receive the latest updates.

  • Routine inspections suspended in response to coronavirus outbreak

The CQC has written to all registered health and social care providers about how they are adapting their regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes the suspension of routine inspections from 16 March 2020.

There are no changes to the requirements to make notifications or the system used to make them. Providers should continue to notify the CQC of deaths and of events that preclude the carrying on of services ‘safely and properly’ (Regulation 18).

  • Supporting adult social care through COVID-19

The regulator has published answers to questions asked by adult social care providers during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 19 May 2020).

Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, discusses how the Care Quality Commission is working to support those working in adult social care to keep people using services and staff safe in these unprecedented times.

  •  Death notifications

Notifications about deaths must be sent to CQC without delay in accordance with Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009: Regulation 16. Providers must use forms provided by CQC to make notifications under the regulation. The  Death of a person using the service – notification form has been updated to include coronavirus (COVID-19) as a cause of death. The form also asks where the death occurred.

  •  Covid-19 registrations (updated 17 April 2020)

This guidance deals with the interim registration process to help meet urgent capacity needs in social care and community services.

  •  COVID-19: interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks (updated 19 May 2020)

The regulator has produced interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks, for providers recruiting staff and volunteers to health and social care services in response to coronavirus (updated 19 May).

  • Inappropriate use of sedative medicines to enforce social distancing guidelines (28 April 2020)

CQC has produced guidance in relation to managing vulnerable people who may not understand social distancing guidelines.

  • Emergency support framework: what to expect

The regulator has developed an emergency support framework that it intends to follow during the pandemic.

  • Understanding the impact of coronavirus on autistic people and people with a learning disability (updated 14 May)

The regulator is doing further work on the data care homes submit to CQC about the deaths of people in their care so that it can better understand the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on specific groups of people, including autistic people and people with a learning disability.

  • Care Quality Commission and Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services joint statement on CQC’s Emergency support framework (published 20 May 2020)

Statement from CQC and ADASS on the CQC’S Emergency Support Framework and how they will work collaboratively.

  • Insight report into healthcare sector pressures

This Insight document intended to highlight COVID-19 related pressures on the sectors that CQC regulates.  ​

Nursing and Midwifery Council

  • Joint statement on expanding the nursing workforce in the Covid-19 outbreak

The NMC describes the actions that are being put into place to deal with this emergency situation. The NMC will continue to explore other options to expand the nursing workforce as this rapidly changing situation evolves.

  • Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The NMC has put together this guide to address some common questions about their role as a regulator when it comes to coronavirus (Covid-19). The guidance will be updated as the situation progresses. Broadly it relates to the temporary register and students on placements.

Regulators of Health and Care Professions

  • Regulators’ joint statement to healthcare professionals

The regulators of health and care professionals in the UK have taken the unusual step of issuing a joint statement in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulators’ statement is intended to reassure those providing healthcare that the context of their actions will be taken into account should concerns be raised about their care as they tackle the crisis. For further details, see our briefing by Gareth Gibson and Simon Gomersall.

NHS Employers

  • Guidance regarding staff welfare

Click here for guidance on staff wellbeing and support and employers’ duty of care. The guidance also addresses the steps to be communicated to staff to ensure infection control procedures are followed and guidance on use of personal protective equipment and specific considerations for staff with underlying health conditions. Should you have any questions in relation to this guidance please contact our specialist employment team.

Click here for other employment briefings from our team.

NHS England

  • Legal guidance for mental health, learning disability and autism, and specialised commissioning services supporting people of all ages during the coronavirus pandemic (updated  19 May 2020)

This guidance concerns the impact of COVID-19 on the use of the Mental Health Act and supporting systems to safeguard the legal rights of people receiving mental health, learning disabilities and specialised commissioned mental health services.

  • Supporting patients of all ages who are unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) in mental health, learning disability, autism, dementia and specialist inpatient facilities (updated to reflect changes in the case definition for Covid-19 from 18 May 2020)

This guidance has been assessed to identify potential equality impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with mental health problems or a learning disability and/or autism.

  • Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism COVID-19 cell bulletin

This bulletin provides those working in organisations across health, care and support systems with a round-up of the new guidance, communication activities and information coming out of the NHS England and Improvement Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism COVID-19 cell. It is recommended for staff members in social care, the voluntary and independent sectors and the NHS.

The NHS Business Services Authority

  • New life assurance scheme

A new life assurance scheme has been introduced for eligible frontline health and social care workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Resuscitation Council

  • Guidance for the resuscitation of COVID-19 patients in hospital

Guidance regarding CPR. Providers are advised to identify as early as possible any patients with a COVID-19 like illness, who are at risk of acute deterioration or cardiac arrest and to take appropriate steps to prevent cardiac arrest and avoid unprotected CPR.

Health and Safety Executive

  • RIDDOR reporting of Covid-10.

This guidance deals with reporting requirements under RIDDOR.

British Geriatric Society

  • COVID-19: Managing the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes

This guidance has been developed to help care home staff and NHS staff who work with residents of care homes and their families to support them through the pandemic. It covers practical matters such as isolating residents suspected of having the virus and how to approach end of life care planning.

  • Managing delirium in confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19

Consensus advice outlining recommendations for management of delirium; good general care including prevention, early detection, and non-pharmacological management should be provided as systems allow. Because of the ease of transmission of COVID-19, the risk of harm to others may exceed risk of harm to the individual and this may necessitate earlier use of pharmacological treatment.

CQC, CPA, BMA and RCGP

  • Joint Statement on advance care planning

The joint statement emphasises the importance of having an advanced care plan in place, especially for older people, those who are frail or have other serious conditions. This is clear that it is unacceptable for advance care plans, with or without DNAR form completion to be applied to groups of people of any description.

Please contact any member of our team for questions or advice.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for care homes

This guidance sets out the support package to keep care homes safe during the coronavirus pandemic.(updated 19 May).

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman

The PHSO has indicated that it will not accept new health service complaints nor progress existing ones where this requires contact with the NHS. We will keep the situation under close and regular review.

The BDA

The BDA has reported clarification from NHS England about the way in which mixed practices will be able to obtain financial support. NHS England has confirmed that practices can seek Government supported related to the private aspect of practice income without disqualifying themselves from the NHSE support in respect of NHS income.

The BDA also report that a petition seeking support for directors of small limited companies, such as many dental practice owners, has been signed by more than 200,000 people.

The College of Podiatry

The College of Podiatry is publishing guidance for its members on practice during the Coronavirus crisis.

Royal College of Physicians in London

The Royal College of Physicians has published ethical guidance for frontline staff.