I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for how you’ve pulled together over recent days in the unprecedented situation in which the country – and the NHS in particular – finds itself.
We all know that the NHS and its frontline staff always rise to a challenge and, faced with current events whilst I’m heartened with the commitment already shown, it comes as no surprise to me to see us do so again.
We have already shared with our staff plenty of guidance over the past week giving details and guidance on procedures and processes that we need to follow to protect our patients and continue to deliver safe and compassionate care for our service users, their carers and their families. It has been a fast moving situation and we continue to do our best to make the latest position available.
In my latest CEO Blog update, I speak directly to our staff – to provide clear advice and signposts to what everyone needs to do – both as individual members of staff and as those managing others.
Whatever the individual context – I should start with a very simple rule of thumb – in all cases, BEFORE taking any action the first thing to do is speak to your line manager.
SELF ISOLATION AND STAYING AT HOME – WHAT ARE WE TELLING OUR STAFF THEY SHOULD DO?
One of the main items of interest from our staff is guidance around self-isolation or staying at home. We have produced handy walkthroughs which they can download from our Intranet.
There are four main categories we have identified to enable us to enable us to best support our staff and deliver our services. The video above sets out our rationale in more detail, but in summary they are:
Category 1 – Self-isolation
- IF YOU DEVELOP ANY SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH CORONAVIRUS– you should stay at home for 7 days. After 7 days, if you no longer have a high temperature you can return to your normal routine. If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal. If you still have a cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
- IF YOU LIVE WITH SOMEONE WHO DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH CORONAVIRUS– you should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
Category 2 – Staff with underlying conditions but no symptoms
We have produced a risk assessment tool to provide advice for those with the following risk factors:
- Aged 70 years or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds:
- Under 70 years old with an underlying medical condition listed below
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma (that requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis.
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure.
- chronic kidney disease.
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis.
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy.
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed.
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy.
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- Pregnancy (please see advice from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists) rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy
Higher Risk Conditions
- Cancer on chemotherapy and or radiotherapy
- Cancers if the blood or bone marrow at any stage of treatment
- Severe chest conditions – cystic fibrosis
Managers can use the risk assessment tool to identify staff that could be at risk and complete a risk assessment if required. Depending on the outcome of this risk assessment, staff may be asked to work from home.
Category 3 – Staff that are being impacted by the situation but do not nor do those that they live with have symptoms.
The Trust already has well established policies to support staff and to promote flexible working arrangements and/or compassionate and special leave. We are producing a range of HR FAQs to do with Coronavirus which we have asked them to consult in the first instance.
Staff could alternatively speak to their Line Manager to talk through what options are available, and the HR Department is available to them if needs be.
We have also created a new, dedicated Coronavirius HR FAQ Page on our Intranet. We have advised our staff If these don’t answer their questions, to consult their Line Manager who has support available from the Trust’s HR Team if needed.
Category 4 – Staff that are not impacted by the situation and are non-essential (i.e. are not required to support clinical services or business continuity)
Staff will be asked to work from home. Each team will be assessed and a decision made via Service Managers on essential and non-essential personnel by Friday 20th March.