Government replies on advice given to care homes about the care of residents and to enquiries about what plans they have to (1) restore the position of Directors of Public Health as executive board members of local authorities, (2) review local authority staffing levels and budgets, (3) give responsibility for testing and contact tracing to local authorities, and (4) to decentralise such operations from Whitehall.

May 14, 2020 | Uncategorized

 

May 14th: Government replies on advice given to care homes about the care of residents and to enquiries about what plans they have to (1) restore the position of Directors of Public Health as executive board members of local authorities, (2) review local authority staffing levels and budgets, (3) give responsibility for testing and contact tracing to local authorities, and (4) to decentralise such operations from Whitehall. 

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3493):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the evidence base behind the suggestion, set out in their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, to use disinfectant of 1000ppm chlorine when cleaning care homes; what assessment they have made of whether such disinfectant is sufficient to kill COVID-19 on surfaces; and why that guidance does not include specific guidelines to ensure that laundry is washed in a washing machine with water at 60−90°C with laundry detergent, in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines. (HL3493)

Tabled on: 28 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020, followed by the publication of PHE guidance COVID 19: How to work safely in care homes on 17 April 2020. A copy of PHE’s guidance is attached.

The guidance on disinfection in Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home of 2 April 2020 is consistent with the World Health Organization’s advice on disinfection.

The use of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, which is the same as 1,000 parts per million chlorine, has been deduced from studies conducted on SARS-CoV and other coronaviruses, including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Interim guidance for environmental cleaning in nonhealthcare facilities exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

With reference to washing of laundry, the Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance states that care homes are expected to follow the advice in Health Technical Memorandum 01-04: Decontamination of linen for health and social care (2016). The Memorandum states that enhanced processing should be used when there is the possibility of infectious linen or clothing being generated. The enhanced process should be performed in a machine as for the standard process but using a cycle with a minimum temperature of 60ºC, or the highest temperature suitable for heat-sensitive items.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice. We are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with policy changes based at all times on the best scientific advice.

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: COVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homes.pdf
  2. Description: COVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homes
  3. See: COVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homes

Date and time of answer: 14 May 2020 at 12:05.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3491):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, does not include guidance for care homes on (1) the provision of infection prevention and control (IPC) focal points to lead and coordinate IPC activities, (2) the provision of clear information to residents in an understandable format and language, (3) the steps staff should take in relation to physical distancing, and (4) what staff should require of residents. (HL3491)

Tabled on: 28 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Since the guidance published on 2 April we have set out a comprehensive action plan, last updated on 16 April, to support the adult social care sector in England throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Our plan sets out the actions the Government is taking to help minimise the spread of infection within all care settings. Local health protection teams have been working hard to support care homes in outbreak management providing help with testing and isolation, and infection control advice. We will continue to work closely with key stakeholders and keep our policies under review as the pandemic goes on.

We will continue to update our guidance based on stakeholder feedback, including changes to text to make content easier to read. The Accessible Information Standard is a requirement for organisations that provide National Health Service care or publicly-funded adult social care. It ensures that people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read or understand, with support, so they can communicate effectively with services.

We recognise the importance of care home staff, and the vital role they have to play in the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 17 April Public Health England published guidance COVID19: How to Work Safely in Care Homes. This includes advice on what measures to take in relation to physical distancing in various scenarios. A copy of this guidance is attached.

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: COVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homes.pdf
    Description: COVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homesCOVID-19_How_to_work_safely_in_care_homes

Date and time of answer: 14 May 2020 at 12:12.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3494):

 

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, does not (1) acknowledge the risk of anxiety, anger and stress on residents, (2) place a duty on care homes to provide practical and emotional support and to work with residents’ families and health care providers, and (3) consider any spiritual or pastoral support residents may request. (HL3494)

Tabled on: 28 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020. A copy of the guidance is attached.

The guidance sets out infection control and cohorting advice to care homes, which providers should follow to ensure that they have the confidence to receive and support residents. With the needs of residents in mind, it asks care homes to facilitate remote visiting from family, friends and others, via phone, video, and using plastic or glass barriers.

All our guidance is designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed. The Adult Social Care Action Plan published on 15 April includes information on supporting people to maintain their independence and responding to individual needs.

Together with the Chief Social Worker, the Department has developed an ethical framework to provide support to ongoing response planning and decision-making to ensure that thorough consideration is given to a core set of ethical values and principles when organising and delivering social care for adults. The framework emphasises that equal concern and respect should be given to all individuals, their families and carers, and communities, as well as the professionals and volunteers that we will be relying on to ensure the delivery of our services and ambitions.

We have not changed relevant duties for regulated providers (including care homes), contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, including the fundamental standards which include provisions about person-centred care (regulation 9) and dignity and respect (regulation 10).

We know that care home residents, particularly those with cognitive and intellectual impairments such as dementia or a learning disability and autistic people, are likely to experience particular difficulties during the pandemic. This could include difficulty understanding and following advice on social distancing, and increased anxiety. Our social care workforce, including new recruits, will need to be trained to respond to these conditions appropriately. We will support providers to embed this in their training in relation to their role, whether they require basic awareness training or more specialist knowledge and skills.

Officials and Ministers are speaking to users of adult social care, and groups that represent them, frequently, to ensure that the Government’s adult social care COVID-19 response reflects their needs. The Government has produced a number of pieces of guidance to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including people with dementia and their carers. We are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with the views of users and policy changes, based at all times on the best scientific advice.

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: Admission_and_care_of_residents_during_covid19_incident_in_a_care_home.pdf
    Description: Admission_and_care_of_residents_during_covid19_inc
  2. See: Admission_and_care_of_residents_during_covid19_incident_in_a_care_home

Date and time of answer: 14 May 2020 at 12:11.

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Lord Greenhalgh, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3675):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to (1) restore the position of Directors of Public Health as executive board members of local authorities, (2) review local authority staffing levels and budgets, (3) give responsibility for testing and contact tracing to local authorities, and (4) decentralise such operations from Whitehall. (HL3675)

Tabled on: 29 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Greenhalgh:

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to ensure they can respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

It is not for government to review local authority staffing levels and budgets. As democratically elected organisations local authorities are independent from central government. This means that they are responsible for managing their financial budgets and ensuring that they have a capable workforce in order to deliver a quality service to residents. Councils, rather than central government, are best placed to make independent decisions on staffing so that they can deliver within the resources available and with an understanding of what is best value for local taxpayers.

To support local authorities in the fight against coronavirus, government is giving the sector an unprecedented £3.2 billion in additional funding

As part of our efforts to increase testing, the Department for Health and Social Care has contacted each of the Local Resilience Forums to outline how they can work effectively in responding to local demand. Part of this will include coordinating the deployment of Mobile Testing Units (MTUs), which have been designed to clinical requirements by Army engineers and can be easily set up in under 20 minutes.

With regard to contact tracing, we recognise that there needs to be a strong and complementary localised element to the national track and trace model. Developing a truly integrated approach will ensure that the national offer is well linked with local community support for those who may need to self-isolate. That is why my Department is working closely with DHSC and local bodies to understand how we can best do this.

Date and time of answer: 14 May 2020 at 14:49.

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