Updated 21st May 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance and Support
These are short snippets of what’s new relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and support. You will need to visit the websites for more information.
Expansion of COVID-19 Testing
This week the Government has announced updated guidance that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is now eligible to book a test. This means that care home staff, direct payment holders as well as personal health budget holders are now eligible to self-refer for testing. Priority will also continue to be given to those who are key workers, and those in their household.
Under the updated guidance any member of staff who is showing symptoms, namely a continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature and/or a loss of taste or smell (updated 18 May) can now be tested. For information on how to book a test, visit the NHS website
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Shielding Support and Contacts
If you are a disabled or older person who are currently shielding at home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the government consider you to be most at risk from the coronavirus you can obtain shielding support. This is through the SMS Shielding Service in Scotland or your local authority helpline; you can order free weekly boxes of basic food and essential supplies. Read the guidance and contact to arrange support here
For people shielding in England, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Accessing food and essential supplies where you can obtain information on how to get food and other essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the guidance here
The boxes contain a letter from the Government and will include the following items:
Regardless of help you receive from other organisation such as local authorities or charities, if you sign up for this service you will receive a weekly food and essentials supplies delivery.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments
Government advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support. Read the guidance here
Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs
As from the 1 May 2020, personal protective equipment (PPE) purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against Covid-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period until 31 July 2020. Read the guidance here
New Care Workforce COVID-19 app
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has a launched the Care Workforce COVID-19 app for adult social care workers. This is beneficial to Personal Assistants as well as employers. Through the app you can:
- Get information and advice, all in one digital hub
- Swap learning and ideas with colleagues and across the country
- Access practical resources on looking after your own health and wellbeing.
Search Care Workforce for the free app on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or Care Workforce website.
COVID-19 guidance for the health and wellbeing of the workforce
Although this newly published guidance is for anyone who works in adult social care. I believe it will be useful for personal assistants as well as employers of PAs. The guidance provides advice on how individuals can manage their own personal mental health in the current circumstances and provides employers with guidance, tools and advice on how to take care of the well-being of their staff at work. Read more here
New guarantee on death in service benefits for frontline health and care staff during pandemic
The Government recently announced that families of health and care workers on the frontline in England will benefit from a new life assurance scheme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is if they meet the qualifying work-related criteria for the scheme and die due to COVID-19, a lump sum payment of £60,000 will be made to their estate. Within social care, the scheme will cover directly employed carers including personal assistants as well as employees of publicly funded care homes, home care.
The Government also announced that “Funding will also be provided to devolved administrations to support similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”. Read more here