Update from Cllr Roger Huxstep 17.04.20
The following has been received from Councillor Roger Huxstep, Chairman Health & Social Can Select Committee, Meon Valley Division, HCC:
Cllr Roger Huxstep
Chairman Health & Social Care Select Committee
Member for Meon Valley Division
Hampshire County Council
Following the content of the Members Briefing sent out last night I am keen to follow this up and share the update we have provided and to also add some further information about the shielded / extremely vulnerable residents across Hampshire – down to a ward level. Please note further residents are continually being added to this nationally confirmed shielded list, the team at Adults’ Health and Care are currently unable to provide further individual requests related to this information. I hope you find it useful, and please feel free to share with your district councillor colleagues if you wish, but would be grateful for you receiving it as an indicative update, rather than prompting further insights to be obtained at this point. However, if you do have any questions please direct them to me.
Supporting our care homes and the wider market
The national recognition of the impact of Covid-19 in care home settings, the pressure being experienced by the care sector, and the outstanding job being undertaken by care workers across the country is welcomed by the County Council’s Adults’ Health and Care service who is also supportive of the new guidance issued yesterday, specific to social care.
HCC Care Homes
As a large provider of residential and nursing homes we are seeing the impact of Covid-19 in a number of our own settings which have a total capacity to support 1,100 people. Of our 16 residential and nursing care homes, staff absence has been challenging in a number of settings over the last few weeks at times, but with resourcing and staffing capacity tracked daily, we have been able to flex and mobilise additional support where this has been required.
Nursing is our most challenging area with a higher number of deaths than during the pre-COVID period. As testing has not been routinely undertaken for people in community settings, although suspected, we are not able to confirm that these deaths are directly attributable to the virus.
We continue to welcome close family visitors to residents in our homes who are at end of life, with strict protocols in place to ensure appropriate hygiene precautions are taken at all times.
We continue to work hard to source adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and while this has been extremely difficult at times, our HCC Care homes have been able to operate within the required guidance from Public Health England, which has evolved as the pandemic has progressed. The Local Resilience Forum is now involved in sourcing supplies – including some deliveries from the national stockpile and we have also begun to receive quantities of our own direct deliveries, meaning that many of the earlier difficulties have been mitigated. It is important to identify that the demands upon PPE supplies will continue to increase and we are pro-actively sourcing supplies, for our own needs, those of the wider care sector in Hampshire (where individual homes / providers are unable to obtain deliveries through their own usual supply chains) and also on behalf of the LRF to create a central emergency stockpile that can be called upon, at cost, by partners.
Supporting independent providers
Support for the market which comprises some 750 service providers and 500 care homes across Hampshire, is critical at this time. This includes regular communication and support for securing supplies of PPE where needed, including deliveries from our own and the LRF’s emergency supplies. We continue to maintain regular dialogue with industry bodies such as Hampshire Care Association, the Care Quality Commission and our NHS colleagues responsible for overseeing the health needs of residents in care homes across the county. Additionally, we are working closely with care homes supporting residents funded by Hampshire County Council to ensure their financial position remains strong and their cash-flow is maintained. Just as we have seen in some of our own care homes there are challenges also being felt in the wider sector – our Care Governance, Safeguarding and Care Management functions remain fully functioning to support the market and there have been recent occasions where we have supported providers at risk of failing in their ability to care for residents by providing emergency staffing support and also calling upon other providers to provide mutual aid. You will understand that the care sector and our own services remain fully committed to supporting our vulnerable residents through the COVID19 pandemic.
Support in the community
Our community services have so far seen less impact from Covid-19. Staffing absence numbers are relatively low in our reablement service which supports over 500 people who require care in their own homes. We have, along with NHS community partners, been able to affect significant reductions across all our acute hospitals – in anticipation of acute bedded care for people with COVID19. Positively acute hospitals are currently operating at approximately 60% capacity and we will work with NHS partners to ensure that community based services remain resilient and where necessary can appropriately draw upon NHS support into community settings.
We are keen for urgent testing to be introduced for social care staff and are awaiting confirmation of the arrangements across Hampshire. Whilst there are plans for one testing site in the south east of the county, we will seek a range of testing locations and indeed hope to see more innovative testing arrangements deployed – such as care home / home delivered and collection of testing kits to enable a care home workforce which frequently has limited access to vehicles to be fully supported.
Support for staff
This is a particularly challenging time for all those working in adult social care. Ensuring the right support is in place for our staff is an absolute priority, and a range of initiatives have been introduced to support our workforce with both their physical, as well as their mental wellbeing. This will continue long term.
We are immensely proud of our staff and those across the wider sector who deserve significant recognition for the compassion and care they are providing at this most difficult of times.
With kind regards
Cllr Liz Fairhurst"
Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health
Hampshire County Council
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