COVID-19 updates for adult social care and health providers

12. Updates from East Sussex County Council

(This page last updated: 01 February 2021)

Updating the Capacity Tracker when staff are vaccinated

Care home vaccinations

Please ensure that you regularly update the Capacity Tracker with details of vaccination uptake for residents, staff and full-time staff. This information is used both locally and nationally to assess the progress of the vaccination programme and identify any locations that have not been able to access vaccinations.

Infection Control 2 Questions

Please ensure these questions are updated on a weekly/ monthly basis depending on the questions – you’ll be prompted as to which are weekly and which are monthly.

A new question was added to the Capacity Tracker in January which is:

“Have you had a visit from the Covid vaccination team?”. This information will inform the CCGs as to whether services need a visit / a further visit.

Business continuity and vacancy questions

Please ensure both the vacancy and business continuity sections are updated at least once a week and preferably daily.

If you are unsure about how to use the Capacity Tracker, in the ‘Help’ section is a short video and guidance documents that will answer most questions. Any other questions should be directed to the help centre – phone 0191 691 3729.

COVID-19 Vaccination consent and mental capacity

The NHS needs your support in obtaining consent for COVID-19 vaccinations, preferably directly from service users, or where this is not possible, from those who have power of attorney, or though agreement with relatives.

Guidance and links to consent forms and letters are in the Vaccination Programme briefing from the Sussex Health and Care Partnership (released 14 January 2021).

Infection Control Fund (ICF) information

ICF round 2 – second payments

We are preparing to make payments of the second instalments of the infection control fund to CQC registered services and are reviewing which providers have met all of the conditions of the Infection Control Grant. To be eligible to receive the second payment of the infection control fund, providers must have:

  • Completed both parts of the Capacity Tracker (Vacancy & Business Continuity) a minimum of once per week. Please also ensure you are regularly updating the ICF2 questions
  • Submitted their monthly spend survey once they have received the first allocation into their accounts.

We will be contacting services over the next few days to discuss and resolve any outstanding issues.

If you have not already submitted your spend surveys for December, we ask you to do so urgently via this link.

If there have been any challenges preventing you from submitting the spend survey or completing the capacity tracker, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting acspersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk

Providing your ICF updates

One of the conditions of the Infection Control Fund is that recipients provide monthly updates on how the money has been spent and plans for the remainder of the grant. When you have received your first payment, please use this link to provide each monthly update noting the following:

  • The same link will be used for each update so please add to your favourites.
  • One update will be required per service. We cannot accept reports which cover multiple services.
  • Services do not need to submit a monthly update until they have received their first grant payment.
  • Updates on how the grant has been spent to date should be cumulative. Therefore each monthly report should include how the total grant received has been used, not just the use for the current reporting period.
  • Updates on how services plan to spend the remaining grant should cover the total value of the grant. This can be calculated by doubling the value of the first payment.

The deadlines for each month’s updates are below and reminders are sent out before each update needs to be submitted:

  • 19 February 2021
  • 24 March 2021
  • 23 April 2021

General ICF guidance

The Department of Health and Social Care have advised that £8,316,985 has been allocated to East Sussex for the purpose of supporting infection control measures within the social care sector.

Of this total:

  • £5.5m will be distributed to care homes
  • £1.1m will go to CQC registered community care providers (home care, extra care and supported living services) who we will be contacting in due course to establish client numbers
  • the remainder will be distributed at the local authority’s discretion

We have now received pre-grant statements for approximately two thirds of care homes and nearly 100 CQC registered community care services in East Sussex. If you have not yet completed a statement or are unsure, there is a form to complete on the ESCC website.

You do not need to start providing monthly updates until you have received your first payment.

Care homes must complete the NHS Capacity Tracker and eligible community-based services must complete the CQC daily survey twice per week as a minimum.

The fund is for spend from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021. The grant will be paid to local authorities in two equal instalments in October and December.

Recipients of the grant will need to provide a monthly update on how the grant is being spent and plans for any remaining grant. We are currently developing an online form for this.

If you have any questions about the Infection Control Fund, please email: ASCpersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk.

CQC daily homecare survey and NHS Capacity Tracker completion

All home care and CQC registered supported living services that were previously required to complete the CQC daily homecare survey should now be completing the NHS Capacity Tracker at least once a week. This is one of the conditions required for services to receive the second payment of the Infection Control Fund however may services have not yet completed the tracker.

COVID-19 outbreak at a care home – contact Public Health

Where you have a current outbreak, you will need to follow the advice issued by Public Health England Health Protection Teams as part of outbreak management within the care home.

If you need further advice please contact: Publichealthenquiries@eastsussex.gov.uk

Isolation period for new admissions and returning to work guidance

Please note, this section will be updated as soon as possible – in the meantime please check national updates.

The following guidance - COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings was updated on 17 December 2020.

This update included the reduction in the number of days that contacts must self-isolate from 14 to 10 days.

However, following queries on what this means for care homes, our Public Health team strongly advise that care homes should continue isolating new admissions for 14 days despite government guidance being 10 days. This will help to ensure the risk to your most vulnerable residents is reduced as you work hard to protect everyone in your homes.

This guidance also introduces exemptions from routine re-testing for immunocompetent staff, patients and residents who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR, within a period of 90 days from their initial illness onset or test (if asymptomatic) unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms.

Check out these helpful flow charts:

Symptomatic worker: flowchart describing return to work following a SARS-CoV-2 test

Asymptomatic worker: flowchart describing return to work following a SARS-CoV-2 test

A useful summary guide has been put together by West Sussex County Council’s Public Health team which highlights some of the key guidance that will be most useful to care homes.

Care home staff returning from leave

Any staff returning to work after a period of leave which has resulted in them missing their weekly PCR test should take an LFD test at the beginning of their shift.

All of these kits are throat and nose swab tests and will tell a person whether they had coronavirus at the time the test took place. They cannot tell a person if they have had coronavirus in the past. Anyone who tests positive should complete a PCR test and isolate until they receive the PCR test result.

Detailed guidance for staff testing using lateral flow devices is available within this care home testing guidance (page 21 onwards).

There is also this useful infographic showing the testing available for adult social care.

CQC registered community care services

We have received a number of grant statements from services that support East Sussex clients but are registered outside the County. We are responding to these services directly and whilst there is still some ambiguity surrounding this, the guidance we have received is that local authorities should pay providers that are registered with the CQC under their local authority area per service user, regardless of where the care takes place.

We have also received confirmation that home care and supported living services are going to be asked to register with the NHS Capacity Tracker and regular completion will become a requirement of the Infection Control Fund. We do not yet have a date for this transition but if we receive advanced notice, we will let you know.

East Sussex care homes resilience plan

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home support package asked all Local Authorities to review or put in place a care home support plan, drawing on local resilience and business continuity plans. Our plans are below:

Our plan covers the full range of actions set out in the recent COVID-19 care home support package including:

  • infection prevention and control
  • training
  • PPE
  • reducing workforce movement
  • quarantining
  • stepping up NHS clinical support
  • comprehensive testing, and;
  • building the workforce

Work to support care homes has formed part of our wider system response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the emergency in March, and we have worked closely as a health and social care system and with our partners to agree the plan.

This return is submitted on behalf of East Sussex County Council and East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have also been involved, and the views of local Registered Care Association representatives, the Chairs of the East Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board and Local Resilience Forum, and Healthwatch East Sussex have also been taken into consideration.

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