Care Matters: Wednesday 19 April 2023

Changes to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, Norovirus Information, Digitalising Social Care Records, Sutton Care Works closure and more. Please share.

Published on 19/04/2023 in Adult services | Care Matters Weekly | Covid-19 | News | Workforce

Changes to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, Norovirus Information, Digitalising Social Care Records, Sutton Care Works closure and more. Please share.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)  COVID-19 testing approach from April 2023 UK 

Changes to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing came into effect on 1 April 2023, to ensure testing continues to focus on those at highest risk, enables appropriate clinical treatment and supports the management of outbreaks in high-risk settings including health and social care.

The changes have been set out in detail in guidance for those working in NHS, social care and high-risk settings.

It means that routine testing will end for the following groups and settings:

  • routine asymptomatic testing has been paused since August 2022
  • routine symptomatic testing of staff and residents in care settings testing has ended as of the 1st April 2023. This including  prisons and places of detention, homeless, refuge  and asylum settings
  • all PCR testing outside NHS settings has ended. 

In addition, testing will continue for the following groups, using LFD tests:

  • people in the community and residents in care or other high-risk settings, if they have symptoms and are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, to enable rapid access to treatment
  • some NHS staff with symptoms working on inpatient wards with severely immunosuppressed patients
  • staff with symptoms who work in hospices
  • all patients being discharged from hospitals into care settings
  • outbreak testing in the NHS, care settings, hospices, including prisons and places of detention, homelessness and refuge settings and asylum settings
  • some hospital patients with symptoms, where needed to inform decisions such as ward transfers

PCR testing will continue to be used by the NHS for diagnosis where needed for patients before accessing COVID-19 treatment or for specific personal clinically directed care.

Capacity will also be retained to ensure testing can be scaled up swiftly if a COVID-19 wave, or a new variant, results in significantly increased pressure on the NHS.

For further information please see the  guidance below 

COVID-19 vaccination spring programme

The 2023 spring coronavirus (COVID-19) booster programme is now underway.

NHS England is now rolling out the vaccine programme, starting with vaccinations in care homes from last week (starting 3 April 2023). 

Others eligible are now able to book in on the National Booking Service or NHS App, for the first appointments available week commencing Monday 17 April.

The programme is in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice that a spring booster dose should be offered to:

  • adults aged 75 years and over
  • residents in a care home for older adults
  • individuals aged 5 years and over who are immunosuppressed

The last date for the public to book spring boosters will be 30 June 2023.

COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone who was aged 5 on or before 31 August 2022 will also end after that date, following recent advice from the JCVI. After 30 June, the NHS offer will become more targeted to those at increased risk, usually during seasonal campaigns.

UKHSA and DHSC have produced social media assets designed to increase awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine:

We also have a leaflet available on our website which is free to order or download in a number of different languages.

Read more in our news story.

Good News Story: Curado Group

The Curado Group owns and operates two residential care homes in Sutton for people with complex mental health needs. Following recent inspections by the statutory regulator, the Care Quality Commission, Lona Lodge and Cranleigh Gardens were awarded outstanding ratings for well-led. As a result both homes are eligible for a Sutton Council incentive payment of £1,000 per home. Well done to the manager and staff teams!

Norovirus Information

Norovirus (winter vomiting bug) is highly infectious and is easily spread through contact with someone with the infection or with contaminated surfaces. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of norovirus is by regularly washing hands with soap and warm water especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. 

Most people will make a full recovery within 2 to 3 days, but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially for the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems who are more at risk.

For more information on Norovirus, read the UKHSA  blog,  or visit the NHS norovirus webpage.

 For Health and social care settings; please see the care hub for further information on Norovirus and managing outbreaks.

Diarrhoea and vomiting? There is no specific cure for stomach bugs such as Norovirus. Visit: for advice. Icon of a water bottle. Stay hydrated. Icon of pills. Take paracetamol when needed. Icon of hands washing. Prvent the spread. Icon of a house with a clock saying 48 hours. Stay at home for two days after symptoms clear.

Digitalising Social Care Records (DSCR) and NHS Grant Funding

Quality Improvement Officers, Linda Mamedy and Elena Golcic attended the Digitising Social Care Engagement Event in London in February organised by the South West London integrated Care System.

The event was in response to the strong appetite amongst Care Providers, to move from paper to digital care records. It was a great place to meet so many digital care system NHS assured providers under one roof and the opportunity to talk about the variety of functions that each system provides. They learnt that a year ago, only 30% of all care homes in SWL were using an NHS assured system, that’s now up to 50% (including those mobilising a DSCR).

South West London NHS can fully fund DSCR costs for the first 12 months (licence, devices, training and mobilisation costs), to a maximum of £10,000 for bed based and homecare services switching from paper based to digital care records, providing the software is selected from the  Assured Supplier List – Digital Social Care. If you are ready to make this change and want to know more as to whether you are eligible for the grant funding, contact Paul Harper ([email protected] or  [email protected] ), he will be happy to visit your service and discuss this further with you.

Please see the South West London Integrated care System Booklet attached below which outlines various digital projects (including DSCR) and the relevant contacts for your service.

Sutton Care Works Closure

We regret to inform you that Sutton Care Works is now closed. The shop was funded by an external organisation based on a one-off pilot for a year. That has now sadly come to an end.

Since opening last year, many providers have used the space to engage with members of the general public about the careers and opportunities available to them in the Social Care sector, host Manual Handling training sessions for their staff, or attend one-off events.

Good Infection Prevention Control

Good infection prevention and control (IPC) practice remains important throughout the winter period, where there is a greater risk of multiple viruses co-circulating, such as COVID-19, seasonal influenza (flu) and stomach infections (such as norovirus, the “winter vomiting bug”). These are very infectious and can cause outbreaks due to close contact particularly  in residential settings. 

Good infection control practices can help reduce the risk of outbreaks occurring. 

It is important that adult social care providers refer to the guidance on infection prevention and control:

If you require any infection control support or advise please contact the London borough Sutton public health team : 

Further information:

Norovirus (vomiting bug) – NHS

Flu – NHS

Clinical Health Team Services for Mental Health

Meditation sessions online for all abilities on Mondays at 11am and Thursdays at 2:30pm. Please contact [email protected]

See the attached posters for more information.

Brokerage Training

In order to ensure LA and NHS teams have access to specific training around systems and reports, throughout February, training specifically designed to support discharge/brokerage will be taking place. Attendees can be strategic or operational and all are welcome to attend. Sessions are in the pdf below.

The sessions are aimed at health and social care teams involved in hospital discharge and sourcing care home/community rehabilitation placements.  This could include, but is not limited to: 

  • Hospital discharge teams 
  • Brokerage teams 
  • Trusted assessors 
  • Integration leads/teams 
  • Operational/hospital social care teams 
  • Patient flow/discharge leads 
  • Commissioning, quality, or contracts teams. 

Colleagues of all levels will benefit from attending, from front line and administrative staff, through to senior decision-makers.  Please feel free to share this invite with fellow colleagues as you see fit. 

No prior experience of using Capacity Tracker is required.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the session, you will know:

  • What Capacity Tracker is and its general functionality
  • Current government policy and guidance in relation to Capacity Tracker.
  • What Capacity Tracker can tell you about vacancies, and how this information can be used to source care home & community rehab placements quickly
  • How Capacity Tracker can benefit the health & social care system in your locality, particularly in relation to timely and efficient hospital discharge
  • How to narrow down & use key reports to generate market intelligence and source care home & community rehab placements quickly
  • How to get set up on Capacity Tracker with appropriate permissions.

Joining Instructions

  • Sessions will be hosted on Microsoft Teams. 
  • No prior booking is required and the number of participants per session is unlimited
  • Please join the session a few minutes beforehand to allow for a prompt start
  • Estimated Duration of each session: 1 hour
  • Please see the attached training schedule for the list of sessions.

Reminder: Free personal protective equipment (PPE) scheme

Free PPE to social care sector extended by up to one year or until stock runs out.

Page summary: The provision of free PPE for all health, social care and public sector workers for coronavirus (COVID-19) infection control, between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2024.

Change made: Updated to reflect the extension of the free PPE scheme to the end of March 2024 or until DHSC’s stocks are depleted (whichever is sooner).

Covid-19 and Flu Vaccinations

It’s never too late to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu

Book appointments via the National Booking Service and visit the NHS website to find your nearest pharmacy offering free flu jabs.

Innovation Support Programme

There is a new funded support programme that is open to organisations in Sutton with between 5 and 250 employees, to support their staff to innovate to solve challenges such as maintaining/improving the service quality. 

A fully funded programme of support to help South London based business grow and develop.

The programme runs from March – June 2023 and people are being recruited for it now.

  • 4 or 5 people from each organisation to attend so they can work in teams
  • In-person, immersive workshops in each sprint
  • Online deep-dive sessions
  • A suite of tools, techniques, materials, and spaces for innovation activity
  • Guided learning, through an online hub of videos, content, and case studies
  • Access to ongoing coaching from innovation experts, mentors & HEI resources
  • Access to a community of businesses, academia, and council members

Cold Weather Plan

Please click here for the Cold weather plan for England guidance. This plan helps to prevent the major avoidable effects of cold weather on health.

In the below link, you will find action cards summarising advice on how different organisations need to respond to cold weather alert levels 0 through 4.

DHSC Adult Social Care submission

The information below will help care homes and homecare providers by explaining the timeline for the mandatory submission in more detail.

Submission period for mandatory DHSC Adult Social Care data

Care homes and homecare providers will be required to update their data by 11pm on the 14th day of each month – or the next working day when the 14th is on a weekend or public holiday. Data must be no more than a week out of date i.e. it must be correct to no further back than the 8th of each month.

When the 14th is on a weekend or public holiday, the submission period will be determined by the next working day.

A Carers Guide to Home Fire Safety

Learn how to keep people that receive care safe from fire.

A formal video is now available for carers on the LFB website. Those who wish to view this video will have to input some basic information in order to gain access to it.

What you will learn:

  • How to recognise people who are at risk of having a fire
  • Identify key high risk factors
  • Show what actions can reduce these risks
  • Describe what to do in the event of a fire

Please assist and share this link with your teams to complete.

Please click here


Please see the new changes at the top of this page.

Please take a look at the new updates that have been made to the following on the GOV.UK website

Information and advice for health and care professionals:

Click here

PPE use for aerosol generating procedures:

Click here

Latest Guidance

The latest guidance has been published about COVID-19 testing for ASC services. Please click the link below to go to the GOV.UK webpage.

Click here

For all the latest guidance on the Carehub regarding COVID-19, please click here to view the updated pages regarding;

  • Visiting
  • Testing
  • Outbreak Management
  • Admissions
  • Infection Prevention and Control

Training and Development

Free training for care staff – Autism awareness / Women’s wellbeing and the menopause 

Successful Mums Career Academy has won funding to offer free training to care staff:

  • The funding will pay for 7 hours of accredited training (2 half-day workshops) in Autism awareness OR Women’s wellbeing and the menopause
  • The training can be delivered either face-to-face or online
  • There will be an option to complete a full qualification at a later date (for those that would benefit from more detailed learning)
  • The funding will also pay for employees’ time to attend the workshops
  • Workshops will start in August / September

To be eligible, employees must be a parent and have a child aged under 12. They must also be earning less than £11.05 per hour and live in Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Richmond or Kingston. However, if there’s a member of your staff who’s interested but doesn’t fit the criteria please still get in touch with Successful Mums as they may still be able to attend.  

For further information and/or to express an interest please contact Jane Knight – [email protected]

Guidance changes? Help from London Borough of Sutton Public Health team

There have been a number of changes in guidance over the recent weeks. If you need any help or advice on the changes please contact the London Borough of Sutton Public health team. Drop them an email [email protected] 

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.

Conversation icon

Keep up to date

Subscribe to the Sutton Care Bulletin for regular updates on the big news and latest guidance from the Sutton Care Hub.