Care Matters: Monday 11 September 2023

Flu and covid autumn vaccine programmes brought forward, Hydration training, MMR, New free school meals from September - check your eligibility and register and more. Please share.

Published on 11/09/2023 in Adult services | Care Matters Weekly | Covid-19 | News | Workforce

Flu and covid autumn vaccine programmes brought forward, Hydration training, MMR, New free school meals from September – check your eligibility and register, Support Offer for the International Recruitment of Social Care Workers NHS Health and Care Volunteer Responders: How to make referrals for people receiving care and more. Please share.

Flu and covid autumn vaccine programmes brought forward

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have announced that this year’s autumn flu and Covid-19 vaccine programmes will start earlier than planned in England as a precautionary measure following the identification of a new Covid variant. Vaccinations are now set to start on 11 September in England with adult care home residents and those most at risk to receive vaccines first.

This measure is being taken as scientists from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) examine the variant BA.2.86, which was first detected in the UK on Friday 18 August.

We are urging people to come forward for their jab as soon as they’re invited.

The JCVI advice regarding this decision can be found on our website.

You will be able to find the news story later on GOV.UK.

There has been no changes to the use of Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Appropriate PPE should be worn by care workers in all settings, as well as visitors to residential care settings, based on an appropriate  risk assessment. Please see the guidance: COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care (Updated 25 August 2023) for further information on the type of PPE that is recommended.

13/09 Hydration Training

13th September 13:30 – 15:00 Virtual Webinar on Teams

South West London ICB are offering free Hydration training webinar covering various topics around Hydration and how dehydration can affect your residents.

For an invite to this webinar, please contact
[email protected] or
[email protected]

Or follow this link on the 13th September at 1:30 to join

Click here to join the meeting


New Technology Enabled Care service contract in Sutton

Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd will be taking over from our current telecare provider, Careium from 1 August 2023.

Our residents who use Technology Enabled Care will receive a letter from us to inform them of this change but they will not need to take any action. Medequip will introduce themselves to residents in due course, as they answer emergency alarm calls, and or in relation to telecare equipment.

We are currently working with Medequip and Careium to ensure the service moves over without disruption. In most cases the transfer of the telecare device will be undertaken remotely, however Medequip may need to do this in person. If that is the case, Medequip will contact the resident to arrange a visit.
The data currently held with Careium will be securely transferred to Medequip. This data will be held in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation. 

From 1 August 2023 to make a telecare referral staff will need to email Medequip Connect instead of Careium on [email protected] or call 03300 163 655.

For further information please contact Fay Austin [email protected] or Bradley Coupar [email protected].

New free school meals from September – check your eligibility and register

The Government provides free school meals for pupils attending state funded primary schools for all pupils in the following years:

  • reception
  • year 1
  • year 2

The Greater London Authority will be providing funding to Local Authorities to extend this entitlement to the year groups listed below, from September 2023 to July 2024. It is not yet known if this funding will continue beyond July 2024.

  • year 3
  • year 4
  • year 5
  • year 6

In both cases,  children will receive the entitlements automatically but it is really that important for parents on a low income, or who are in receipt of certain benefits, to apply for the Means Tested Free School Meals for the following reasons:

  • If eligible for Means Tested Free School Meals, your child’s school will get additional funding through the Pupil Premium – up to £1300. That’s extra money to spend on enrichment activities, teacher development and targeted support for the children that need it most.
  • You will receive food vouchers worth £3 a day from your school over the school holidays (currently funded up until February 2024)

 Apply for free school meals 

Check if you’re eligible 

You may be eligible to receive free school meals and funding for your child’s school through the pupil premium if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit, or have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if working, your net household income must be less than £7,400 a year (not including any benefits you get)

For more information, follow this link;

Support Offer for the International Recruitment of Social Care Workers

South West London local authorities have been awarded funding for 2023/24 by DHSC to support care providers with the international recruitment of care workers. South London Partnership are managing the development and delivery of the support offer working closely with local authorities and care providers.

SW London LA’s are in the process of developing a support offer for providers and would like to know how many providers are likely to want to take up the offer which will comprise of:

  • Getting Started with International Recruitment – advice on sponsorship
    licences, costs, what’s involved, ethical recruitment.
  • Assistance to recruit staff internationally – including advertising,
    application processing, interviews, employment checks, support with
    visa application and processing.
  • Pre-arrival support – arranging travel, securing temporary and
    permanent accommodation, transfers from airport, bank account set up,
    pre-arrival induction.
  • Post arrival pastoral support – helping secure permanent
    accommodation, GP registration, settling in support, introduction to area
    including local transport, cultural awareness, community groups and
    networks including places of worship, support for managers, ESOL if
    needed, post arrival induction.
  • Further information on getting started with International Recruitment can be
    found here which helpfully sets out what you need to do, and the costs
    involved.- LGA bitesize International Recruitment guide for Providers

Official offer in 2023/24.

In order to do this you must be planning to recruit internationally in 2023/24 with the intention of having international recruits arriving in South West London to take up posts before March 2024.

Please note that submitting an expression of interest does not guarantee support from the fund at this stage. Rather it will be used to identify the level and nature of demand which will be used to develop and distribute the support offer. However, we do plan to be in touch with you soon with further
details on accessing the support.

Please complete the attached Expression of Interest form and return it
to [email protected] by 31st July 2023

Any further queries please contact Sheryl Brand at [email protected]

NHS Health and Care Volunteer Responders: How to make referrals for people receiving care.

The NHS and Care Volunteer Responders programme provides adult social care providers with readily available, appropriately checked volunteers to support people drawing on care services in England.

You can refer people for a friendly Check In and Chat phone call. More services will be available soon, such as volunteer support with shopping and prescription delivery. Making a referral is easy via the GoodSAM portal. You can also select the type of support needed and the frequency.

Find out more here.

New regulations will give the Care Quality Commission (CQC) additional powers to allow families to visit loved ones receiving care in residential and other settings.

The Government acknowledges the positive effect visiting has on the emotional wellbeing of all involved. To this end, it has launched a public consultation on how visiting can be mandated effectively and safely within health and care settings, including care homes.

Responses are encouraged from anyone involved in the health or care sector, whether through providing care, drawing on care, or as a friend or family member of someone who receives care. The consultation runs until 16 August 2023.

Contribute to the consultation here.

Have your Say

We want you to have your say. This is an opportunity to ask questions that will be answered by Sutton’s Commissioners or Public Health Team. Please also use the link to the form below if you have any good news stories or activities your residents have taken part in that you would like to be shared on the Carehub.

Care Worker Recruitment Support

Fully funded care worker recruitment support for South West London Care Providers. Skills for care have provided LCAS (London Care and Support) with a small grant to support social care recruitment across the 6 SW London boroughs. LCAS has teamed up with PurpleTribe to offer a free short term support initiative based upon their successful work with other local authority areas and social care providers in general. They have a series of webinars as part of this and for those providers who do not go any further.

For further information please download the flyer below.

Understanding the Safe Handling of Medicines – Level 2 NCFE Certificate – Distance Learning

Apply here:

Course description:
This qualification is to introduce learners to different types of medicines and the policies and procedures surrounding their storage, disposal and administration. It also provides learners with an overview of legislation and an awareness of quality control, issues regarding responsibility and accountability and the role of the pharmacist.

The course has a credit value of 15 on the Qualifications Credit Framework.

Free if you meet the eligibility criteria (click here for details) and if you complete the course (click here for the details of the terms and conditions)

Who is the course suitable for?
This programme is designed for learners aged 19 or over and already working in a health and social care context, who wish to study the course as part of their own continuous professional development.

Entry requirements:
You do not need to have any formal qualifications in order to follow this course, but you will need to demonstrate commitment and motivation to work through the specially prepared distance-learning materials.

How is the course delivered?
Candidates work through the course materials for the programme at times convenient to them, so there is no need to attend the college to gain the qualification. The learning materials contain the knowledge needed to meet the assessment requirements of the course and activities to allow candidates to practice their skills and test their learning. Assessments are based on a combination of knowledge and skills learned on the programme and work-based activities and experience. Learners should aim to complete the course within 16 weeks.

Course content:
The course will cover the following areas and consists of two Workbooks:

  • Workbook 1: Understand medication and prescriptions. Supply, storage and disposal of medication.
  • Workbook 2: Understand the requirement for the safe administration of medication. Record keeping and audit processes for medication.

Progression opportunities:
By undertaking this programme, candidates will be able to further their own continuous professional development, which may improve their career prospects or progress on to further qualifications such as courses in health and social care or related subjects.

Course Number: N3NYX

Food Vouchers during the school holidays

If your child is registered for free school meals in Sutton, you can get a food voucher during the school holidays.

This scheme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. The Council has used this funding to set up a household support fund. This helps families in Sutton who are facing financial hardship.

Check if you’re eligible

You can apply for food vouchers if:

  • your child goes to a school in Sutton and is registered for Free School Meals (FSM)
  • You have a child attending an Early Years setting in Sutton for their free childcare entitlement and,
    • the child is aged 2 and taking up their free entitlement in a Sutton setting OR,
    • the child is aged 3 or 4 and is registered for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)
  • you are resident in Sutton who would be eligible for free school meals under the current criteria but your child is electively home-educated or in Education somewhere other than at school.

Your school can tell you if you have already registered your child for free school meals or not. They can also help you to apply if you think you might be eligible

How much you could get

Vouchers are available during the school holiday and the value available is listed below.

  • Summer break 2023 – £90
  • October Half term 2023 – £15
  • Christmas break 2023 – £30
  • February half term 2024 – £15

How to apply for food vouchers

If your child is registered for Free School meals

If your child is already registered for free school meals, you won’t need to apply for food vouchers. Your school will send out vouchers to eligible families directly, before each holiday period.

We have asked schools to distribute vouchers to eligible pupils by the following dates for the holiday period below:

  • October Half term by 20 October
  • Christmas break by 22 December
  • February half term by 9 February

You should contact your child’s school if you haven’t received your voucher by the date shown in this table.

Children who are in pre-school or are being educated at home
If your child doesn’t attend school but you are eligible to apply, you will need to apply for a food voucher before the school holiday period.

This might apply to you if your child is:

  • pre-school age
  • home educated

If you’re not sure if you are eligible, you can send us an email for more information

You’ll need to decide which supermarket you want your voucher to be for. Food vouchers are available for:

  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Waitrose
  • Aldi
  • Morrisons
  • Iceland

You’ll receive a link to the voucher by email from either their school or the Council.

Children aged 2 years old
You will be entitled to food vouchers if your child is 2 years old and taking up the free childcare entitlement in a Sutton early years setting such as:

  • a day nursery
  • a pre-school
  • a childminder

Get more information about free childcare for 2-year-olds and check if your child is eligible.

You can apply using the food voucher application form

You need to complete the application form during the dates shown below:

  • October Half term 2023 apply between 9 October and 25 October 2023
  • Christmas break 2023 apply between 4 December and 20 December
  • February half term 2024 apply between 22 January and 7 February 2024

Get more information about free childcare for 2-year-olds and check if your child is eligible.

Children aged 3 or 4 years old

If your child is 3 or 4 years old, you can apply for food vouchers if they:

  • attend a Sutton early years setting
  • are registered for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

You can check whether your child is registered for EYPP with their childcare provider.

Complete the Food Voucher application form.

You need to complete the application form during the dates shown below:

  • October Half term 2023 apply between 9 October and 25 October 2023
  • Christmas break 2023 apply between 4 December and 20 December
  • February half term 2024 apply between 22 January and 7 February 2024

If you don’t qualify for food vouchers

  • visit our cost of living campaign
  • contact Sutton Food Bank
  • find out if you are eligible to apply to our hardship fund

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Changes to Covid-19 testing in adult social care.

Covid-19 supplement to IPC resource for adult social care 3rd April 2023

  • As a result of protection by high volume of vaccination, high immunity and
    access to covid-19 treatments we are now in a position to treat covid like
    many other respiratory infections.
  • Guidance has been updated to focus on protecting most at risk from serious
  • Keep a list of vulnerable clients who will continue to be eligible for Covid-19
  • PCR testing will no longer be routinely used and replaced by LFD testing
  • Guidance came in to force on 3rd April 2023.
  • Residents who become symptomatic with a respiratory infection
  • Symptomatic testing only for those eligible for covid treatments or during an outbreak
  • If eligible for covid treatment test with LFD and seek treatment as soon as possible.
  • If positive, isolate for 5 days until apyrexial (No temperature) and the resident is feeling better. No need to retest
  • Residents not eligible for treatment do not need to be tested if they become symptomatic
  • If they feel unwell or have a high temperature support them to isolate until they feel better.
  • Stay away from vulnerable eligible for covid treatment for 10 days
  • Testing no longer required for early release from isolation.

For further information please see the  guidance below 

Infection prevention control for Adult social care sector

Good infection prevention and control (IPC) practice remains important throughout the year.

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: [email protected]

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 for the adult social care sector will continue until 31 March 2024.

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

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

If you need any help or advice on the changes please contact the London Borough of Sutton Public health team. Send them an email [email protected] 

Webinars and training

IPC training can be found on Eventbrite

Skills for care – Care Certificate
Care Courses Online – Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare
Social care institute for excellence – Infection control e-learning course

Care home information sharing webinar

Fortnightly on a Tuesday 1:30 – 3pm

The webinar link;
Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 357 180 495 149
Passcode: uHrJiP
Download Teams | Join on the web
Learn More | Meeting options

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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