Care Matters Weekly: Friday 14 January 2022

Cold weather alert (what you can do), Workforce Recruitment Fund open for bids now, new vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care staff (extended to 1 April), free PPE extended, new guidance for self-isolation, day centres and visiting arrangements in care homes, training sessions and more. Please share.

Published on 14/01/2022 in Adult services | Care Matters Weekly | Covid-19 | News | Workforce

Cold weather alert (what you can do), Workforce Recruitment Fund open for bids now, new vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care staff (extended to 1 April), free PPE extended, new guidance for self-isolation, day centres and visiting arrangements in care homes, training sessions and more. Please share.

Cold Weather Alert

The Met Office has issued a Level 2 ‘Alert and Readiness’ Cold Weather Alert for London, predicting a 70% probability of severe cold weather between now and 0900 on Monday 17 January in parts of England. Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for older people, those with underlying health conditions, and young children, increasing the health risks to vulnerable patients 

Download this guide to what to look out for, what you can do as well as a list of other helpful resources or helplines that you can access.

LFTs available at libraries

Rapid lateral flow tests are available from reception/front desks of the following Council buildings:

  • Sutton Council Civic Offices, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA
  • Sutton Central Library, Cheam Library, Circle Library, the Library at Westcroft, Wallington Library, the Library at Sutton Life Centre, the Library at the Phoenix Centre and Worcester Park Library

Addresses and opening times can be found here.

You can also pick them up from a local pharmacy – find your nearest pharmacy

Taxi service to access vaccination appointments

To support access to vaccines, free taxis are available for care home staff to attend a vaccination centre. Should you need to book a taxi, please email and let your staff know of this offer.

ASC Infection Control Fund second payment due

The second and final payment of Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund will be made available from the week commencing 17 January. 

If you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to contact the team at


New COVID-19 vaccination requirements for frontline health and social care staff and volunteers

New regulations require frontline health and social care staff and volunteers, carrying out face to face CQC regulated activity, to be fully vaccinated by 1 April, unless medically exempt.

A 12 week grace period began on 6 January this year, with regulations fully in force from 1 April 2022. Staff must be fully vaccinated or have secured a medical exemption by this date.

Existing care home regulations will also be amended so that new care home staff can be deployed from three weeks after receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine, provided they have arranged and received their second dose within 10 weeks.

Guidance covering all details of the regulations will be published soon.

Event: Preparing for 1 April 2022 mandatory vaccination regulations

During February and March Skills for Care will be running three events on the introduction of mandatory vaccinations. These are aimed at domiciliary care and other non-residential CQC-registered services (care homes were covered by events last year):

  • Tuesday 1 February 2022, 9.30am – 11am
  • Tuesday 15 February 2022, 9.30am – 11am
  • Wednesday 9 March 2022, 2.30pm – 4pm

Each session will cover:

  • The latest COVID-19 vaccination policy and guidance
  • What exemption means
  • GDPR issues
  • CQC expectations
  • Responding to recruitment issues

Find out more and sign-up or find details in the Events calendar

Free PPE extended to March 2023

The government has announced the extension of free PPE to health and care sectors by up to one year to March 2023 or until the infection prevention and control guidance on PPE usage for COVID-19 is either withdrawn or significantly amended (whichever is sooner).

Read more

ASC Omicron Support Fund

New guidance has been published about the ASC Omicron Support Fund.

In recognition of the increased pressure on existing funding sources caused by the Omicron variant, the government is providing £60 million additional funding for January 2022.

The purpose of this fund is to support the sector with measures already covered by the Infection Control and Testing Fund (round 3) to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective IPC practices. Additionally, this funding may also be used to increase ventilation in care homes. It may also be used to pay for temporary staffing to cover increased staff absence caused by COVID-19 and maintain staffing levels and workforce capacity.

Access the guidance

Care staff vaccination video shout-out – we need you!

Now that the mandatory vaccines deadline has passed, we would like to feature staff in a mini-campaign, highlighting the role they have played in getting vaccinated to keep residents and the community safe. The video will be used by the Council to help encourage local residents to take up the COVID-19 vaccine and testing programme.

The videos will be posted on the Council’s social media channels. We would also like to disseminate to our voluntary groups to share with their members.

If you would like to get involved and showcase your wonderful staff and the care they are taking to help keep residents safe, please talk to your care home manager to get more details. Hope to see you on social! 

Updated guidance

Updated guidance: Self-isolation

New guidance has been published about self isolation. Self-isolation for those with COVID-19 can end after five full days following two negative LFD tests.

Page summary:

  • From Monday, 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6

Read the full details or download guidance slides

Updated guidance: Day Centres

Updated guidance has been published for providers of supported living services. Change made:

  • Updated to reflect that a confirmatory PCR test following a positive lateral flow result is not required

Read the full guidance

Updated guidance: Visiting arrangements in care homes

Updated guidance has been published about visiting arrangements in care homes. Change made:

  • Updated to reflect new national guidance on removal of confirmatory PCR tests in the case of a positive lateral flow test
  • Updated the ‘Care home outbreaks’ section to reflect that the Omicron variant will be treated the same as the Alpha and Delta variants for the purposes of managing outbreaks

Read the full guidance

Updated guidance: COVID-19 management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings

Change made: Clarifying guidance on returning to work after a continued positive LFD test.

  • The likelihood of a positive LFD test in the absence of a high temperature after 10 days is low. If the staff member’s LFD test result is positive on the 10th day, they should continue to take daily LFD tests, and can return to work after a single negative LFD test result
  • The likelihood of a positive LFD test after 14 days is considerably lower. If the staff member’s LFD test result is still positive on the 14th day, they can stop testing and return to work on day 15. If the staff member works with patients or residents who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (as determined by the organisation), a risk assessment should be undertaken, and consideration given to redeployment
  • Managers can undertake a risk assessment of staff who test positive between 10 and 14 days and who do not have a high temperature, with a view to them returning to work depending on the work environment

Read the full guidance

Workforce Development

Sutton Workforce Recruitment Fund – OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS NOW

Across Sutton the social care workforce play a majority part in supporting Sutton residents to remain independent and safe. To meet demand we need to grow our adult social care workforce to provide more capacity and help us relieve pressures.

We have therefore launched a new £100,000 fund to:

  • Support providers to maintain the provision of safe care and bolster capacity within providers to deliver more hours of care
  • Support timely and safe discharge from hospital to where ongoing care and support is needed
  • Support providers to prevent admission to hospital
  • Enable timely new care provision in the community
  • Support and boost retention of staff within social care

The emergence of a new and highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 has resulted in increased staffing shortages due to staff testing positive for COVID-19 or having to self-isolate. In addition, some people being discharged from hospital may require more complex or increased social care as they recover from COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

To enable providers to meet these workforce challenges we are providing registered services with an opportunity to apply for extra funding to support recruitment initiatives. Funds between £500 – £3,000 can be awarded by 28 February 2022. 

Read more about funding examples and next steps to apply

The deadline for applications is 4 February 2022.

Transforming care: developing the workforce

Over 1.5 million people work in social care, caring for and supporting people at the heart of their communities. Everyone working in this sector should be recognised and valued for their dedication to protecting and maintaining the health, dignity and independence of the people they support.

Visit Transforming Social Care to find out more about the Government’s long-term vision for adult social care, including creating rewarding career opportunities, where staff have the skills and training to deliver the highest quality of care, and where their wellbeing is prioritised.

Event: Funding to support the continuing professional development of you and your staff (WDF)

Wednesday 19 January 2022 (2.30pm – 4pm via Zoom)

Come and hear how you can claim Workforce Development Funding (WDF) to contribute towards the cost of vocational learning such as social care qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.

In the session, we will tell you about which qualifications can be funded through WDF, the timescales involved, and how to set up or update your Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) account. You will also find out about the options for claiming funding – either joining a funding partnership or claiming directly from Skills for Care.

Book your place now

Develop a member of your staff to become a digital champion

Skills for Care and the SW London ICS (Integrated Care System) is offering free training and development to help you create a digital champion for your organisation. 

What is a digital champion?

A digital champion is someone who helps others within an organisation to understand the benefits of using technology and can spend some time showing them how to use the internet, smartphones or digital care plans, or even assistive technology

Skills for Care and the SW London ICS (Integrated Care System) are currently looking to recruit staff from SW London care services (1 staff member per service) to be developed as digital champions. The programme is completely free of charge and will involve undertaking 3 x 2-hour online modules during February and March. These modules will include an introduction to the digital champion role; using technology to support communication, collaboration and participation; and being safe and secure online. 

Digital champions can be working in any role. This is an excellent development opportunity for staff, as well as a chance to improve the use of digital technology within your service.

For further information and/or to express an interest please contact Paul Harper from NHS SW London – or call 07920 815971.

Information sharing

Researching NHS funded nursing care: your help needed

The Department of Health and Social Care is conducting research on the NHS funded nursing care (FNC) rate. If your nursing home has FNC eligible residents, they would like to hear from you. Any information you give will provide valuable insights to help calculate future rates.

You will be asked to provide information about your nursing home, shift hours for a recent payroll period and nursing payroll costs for May and October 2021.

If your nursing home has not received an email with an excel template for completion, please click the link below to email the team, who will be happy to help with any questions. Deadline for responses is 5pm 17 January 2022.

Email the team with your responses

Queens Nursing Institute for the new IPC Champions Network updates

Sign up to receive updates from the Queens Nursing Institute for the new IPC Champions Network – you can also sign up via Newsletters.

Webinars for Care Homes

Thank you for joining the Webinar for Care Homes this week – we hope that these continue to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remain diligent in following guidance, using PPE and supporting staff and residents to be vaccinated. 

The next SW London CC webinar will take place on 18 January and will include updates on digital projects, IPC and on the COVID-19, flu vaccinations and boosters.

View the meeting agenda


Webinars and training

Join senior IPC nurses to learn more about general infection prevention and control training including: MRSA, Tuberculosis, diarrhoea, rashes, wound care, specimen taking, head lice, scabies, respiratory infections, including COVID-19, staff health and more. 

Sessions run online every Thursday between 2pm to 4.30pm. Register at Eventbrite to attend.

Weekly Information Sharing FAQs webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic remains an extremely challenging situation globally and we recognise that this is the case for staff working in Care Homes of all types. We are continuing the weekly Infection Prevention and Control and Information Sharing webinar Tuesday mornings at 11:00am. 

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+44 20 3880 0300   United Kingdom, London (Toll)

Conference ID: 855 305 74#

Local numbers | Reset PIN | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

Weekly Capacity Tracker webinar

Capacity Tracker Webinars for Care Homes are taking place at 2:00pm every Friday.

Click here to join the meeting on your computer or mobile app Or call in (audio only) on +44 20 3794 0272 Phone Conference ID: 311 948 485#

Sutton Care Hub Job Portal

To support Sutton’s care providers to recruit the best staff for all positions from management, to clinical staff, carers and administrative support, we have created the Sutton Care Hub Job Portal

Subscribe to the Sutton Care Bulletin! 

The Sutton Care Bulletin features a round up of good news stories and successes from across Sutton’s care sector, as well as useful information, guidance and resources. Please make sure you have subscribed to receive future editions.

An archive of previous editions can be found on the Sutton Care Hub.

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