Eastspace is being redeveloped!

We are excited to share with you that Eastspace is being redeveloped into a more user-friendly, up-to-date, online source of mental health and wellbeing information for all adults in East Lothian!

This will include a new look, easy to read information and more self-help resources.

As part of this redevelopment, we would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. We’re doing this in various ways, including surveys, one-to-one interviews and groups consultations.

Please complete the online survey here: https://bit.ly/2NLBplG

The new Eastspace website will launch at the beginning of June 2021. As part of the launch, we will host an online wellbeing event for organisations and those living/working in the area to learn more about this exciting resource. To keep updated on when you can book your place, sign up for our monthly newsletter here: www.eastspace.org.uk/eastspace-newsletter

If you are interested in having a one-to-one conversation about Eastspace, get in touch with Julie at Julie.huggan@health-in-mind.org.uk.

Vaccination information for people in Vaccination Priority Groups 4 and 6

From Lynsey Cullen, Communications Manager, Corporate Communications, Office of the Chief Executive NHSScotland, Scottish Government

First of all, if you receive an invitation to attend a COVID-19 vaccination, it is important that you attend.

Group 4:

In addition to all people in Scotland aged  70 – 74 years of age, priority group 4 includes those adults aged 16-69 who are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).

People classified as CEV in group 4 will have received a letter from Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer to advise them that they have been added to the shielding list.

These people will have been added to the shielding list either because they have a condition included in the shielding criteria agreed by the 4 Chief Medical Officers of the UK or because they have been added  by their GP or hospital clinician based on their clinical judgement.

Although everyone (with the exception of carers and younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings)  within groups 4 and 6 will fall into the disease categories listed in the table further down the page, those in group 4 have been invited for their vaccination first because they have had more recent treatment and/or a more advanced condition, which makes them at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

People who were on the shielding list by 1 February 2021 should have already been invited to their vaccination. Those people added to the shielding list after this date should await their invite in the near future.

Group 6:

All individuals aged 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, who are not on the shielding list are being offered the vaccine as part of group 6. These people are being identified by a modified version of the flu vaccine list.

The table below lists the health conditions which may mean people aged 16 and over are at higher risk of serious disease and mortality from COVID-19, meaning they should take their vaccination when it is offered to them. People under 16 are not currently being invited for vaccinations.

Chronic respiratory diseaseSevere lung conditions, including:   asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission (patients who are well controlled on asthma inhalers are not eligible in priority group 6 for coronavirus vaccination)chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema bronchiectasiscystic fibrosisinterstitial lung fibrosispneumoconiosisbronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)  
Chronic heart disease and vascular diseaseConditions such as:   congenital heart diseasehypertension with cardiac complicationschronic heart failureindividuals requiring regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart diseaseatrial fibrillationperipheral vascular diseasevenous thromboembolism  
Chronic kidney diseaseConditions such as:   chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5chronic kidney failurenephrotic syndromekidney transplantation  
Chronic liver diseaseConditions such as:   cirrhosisbiliary atresiachronic hepatitis  
Chronic neurological diseaseConditions such as: stroke transient ischaemic attack (TIA) conditions in which respiratory function may be compromised due to neurological disease (e.g. polio syndrome sufferers) cerebral palsy learning disabilities Down’s Syndrome multiple sclerosis epilepsy dementia Parkinson’s disease motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles severe neurological disability  
Diabetes mellitusAny diabetes, including diet-controlled diabetes.
ImmunosuppressionConditions or treatments such as: immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression undergoing radical radiotherapy solid organ transplant recipients bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients HIV infection at all stages multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. IRAK-4, NEMO, complement disorder, SCID) receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy including, but not limited to anti-TNF, alemtuzumab, ofatumumab and rituximab receiving protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
being treated with steroid-sparing agents such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil being treated with or likely to be treated with systemic steroids for more than a month at a dose equivalent to prednisolone at 20mg or more per day for adults This also includes: anyone with a history of haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma anyone with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, anyone with psoriasis who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments  
Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleenThis also includes conditions that may lead to splenic dysfunction, such as homozygous sickle cell disease, thalassemia major and coeliac syndrome.
Morbid obesityAdults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40.
Severe mental illnessConditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment.

Also included within priority group 6 are the following:

Younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings:

Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups (for example learning disabilities). Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended.

Younger residents in care homes for the elderly will also be at a higher risk of exposure. Although they may be at lower risk of mortality than older residents, they will have been offered the coronavirus vaccine at the same time as other residents in care homes for older people.

Unpaid carers:

Unpaid carers aged 16 to 64 are now beginning to be offered vaccination alongside adults with eligible at-risk health conditions (priority group 6). Those unpaid carers aged 65 and over should have been offered the vaccine earlier in priority groups 2 to 5.

The Scottish Government is using the definition for an unpaid carer as set out in the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 however for the purposes of vaccinations this will not cover those who provide only remote care.

Some NHS boards are now beginning to call forward a limited number of carers identified through GP systems and social security data of those on relevant benefits, as vaccine supply allows. Carers do not have to do anything at this time if they have not received their appointment letter, are not on benefits or if they are not registered with their GP as a carer.

Further information will be available shortly about the forthcoming self-referral system for carers in Scotland which we expect to launch in early March.  A dedicated national marketing campaign will be launched alongside the self-referral system to raise awareness and encourage carers to come forward.

Priority group 6 includes a large number of people. It will take some time to invite everyone, so please wait to be invited for your vaccination over the coming weeks.

To keep updated on who is currently being vaccinated and for other COVID-19 vaccine information, please visit www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccine. If you think you should have been invited to your vaccination by now, you can access the missing invites form at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/missing-appointment-details. Your enquiry will then be looked into. You will receive a communication within a couple of days.

Chief Medical Officer Annual Report Online Launch Event

17 March 2021, 2-4 pm

Dr Gregor Smith
Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer

Join us for the launch of the CMO Annual Report to find out more about some of the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, and how practising Realistic Medicine is helping health & care professionals to deliver more personalised care in the most challenging of circumstances.

This year’s report will reflect on how our people, and the services they provide, have adapted and evolved throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, often at considerable pace, in an attempt to ensure people receive the advice, care and support they need, when they need it.

This event provides us with an opportunity to hear first hand from Dr Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, about his reflections over the last year, and the role that Realistic Medicine continues to play in the recovery and remobilisation of heath and care services.

We are also delighted to be joined by our keynote speaker: Professor Victor Montori, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. Professor Montori is a leading expert in evidence-based medicine and shared decision making. He is the author of the acclaimed Why We Revolt and the co-founder of The Patient Revolution, a non-profit organization advocating for care that puts the patient at the centre.

Details of how you can join the launch event will be sent out in advance of the session to all those who have registered. This email will include a test link to check that there are no technical issues with accessing the GoWebinar platform.

A certificate will be provided to include within your appraisal portfolio or equivalent.

We hope that you are able to join this interactive discussion. If you have any questions or if you require any technical support then please feel free to get in touch: RealisticMedicine@gov.scot

Register now

Kindest Regards

Scottish Government Realistic Medicine Team

National Whistleblowing Standards (for NHSL staff)

As you are aware the new National Whistleblowing Standards come into effect on 1 April 2021.

The standards cover all NHS providers i.e. anyone working to deliver an NHS service, whether directly or indirectly including current (and former) employees, bank, agency workers, contractors (including 3rd sector providers) trainees, students, volunteers, non-executives and anyone working alongside NHS staff.

In terms of the construct of the procedure there are strong similarities with our patients complaints procedure i.e. stage 1 – early resolution within 5 working days, stage 2 – investigation closed out within 20 working days, stage 3 is independent external review by the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer (a role which is being undertaken by SPSO).   Stage 1 and stage 2 complaints must be recorded on datix and a new module has been developed for this purpose.

Listening and responding to concerns raised by staff about the way services are provided is a vital way in which organisations can improve their services.  Promoting a culture that encourages staff to raise issues or concerns is a critical role for senior managers, as is creating a safe space where feedback is welcomed.  Ideally, we want to create a culture and environment where concerns are heard and responded to informally, without recourse to formal whistleblowing processes.  However, our staff have a right to trigger the formal policy.

As you know there are a range of routes for our staff to raise concerns: line managers, trade unions and our Speak Up Advocates.  To support the launch of the new standards and recognising their wider reach we are in the process of recruiting a number of additional advocates, with a particular focus on primary care.

We will be running a number of ‘lunch and learn’ sessions throughout March and beyond to give managers the opportunity to understand what the introduction of the new standards means for them as managers and what responsibilities they have under the standards.  A further communication will be circulated via our managers communications network with the details of these sessions.  In addition to this there are a series of training modules on the TURAS website which can be accessed via https://inwo.spso.org.uk/guidance-and-resources

The standards themselves can be accessed via the SPSO website on https://inwo.spso.org.uk/national-whistleblowing-standards

The information on the SPSO website is easily accessible and very comprehensive.  In addition to this we will be issuing some summarised information for managers.

I would be grateful if you could raise awareness of the standards with your management teams, encourage them to attend the ‘lunch and learn’ sessions and to view the standards and TURAS training materials.

With regards to primary care contractor services David Small will be taking forward discussions regarding the actions required for independent contractors.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact myself or Ruth Kelly, Deputy Director of HR.

Many thanks

Janis Butler
Director of HR & OD

Bridges Project virtually visit Edinburgh Zoo

Bridges Project is an independent, local charity which works with young people in East Lothian and Midlothian, including young adult carers, to help them manage the transition from adolescence to young adulthood and life beyond school.

Some of Bridges Project’s young people and staff were taken on a virtual tour of Edinburgh Zoo on 12 February, guided by the Zoo’s Education Officer, Amy Cox.

Some of the highlights included:

  • Seeing the penguins being fed
  • Meeting Lucu, the tiger, who gave a huge roar!
  • Meeting one of the lions and seeing paw prints in the snow
  • Meeting a family of baboons (who were mostly busy chatting!)
  • Seeing the panda hiding in some bamboo

The young people truly enjoyed the virtual visit, with one commenting: “I enjoyed the Zoo session and I learned what the Zoo does to look after the animals”.

Health & Social Care Staff Eligibility for Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

JCVI Priority 2

First and Second Dose Appointments – Your Questions Answered

Access to first dose appointments is now being made available at the mass vaccination venues for eligible staff who have not yet had a first dose appointment. 

If you meet the Staff Eligible Criteria and still require your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, please email your name, employer, role and contact telephone number to: loth.massvaccinationstaff@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk and a member of the team will aim to respond with required next steps within 5 days.

Delivery of second dose clinics to those who receive their first doses in December all of the above is now underway, within the 12 week window advised. 

Frequently asked questions

I am eligible for the staff vaccination programme but haven’t had my Dose 1 appointment yet. What should I do?

Please email your name, employer, role and contact telephone number to: loth.massvaccinationstaff@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

A member of the team will aim to respond with required next steps within 5 days.

Health & Social Care staff eligible for priority COVID vaccination are those who provide care closely and regularly to, or come into very close contact with, those who are clinically very vulnerable to COVID-19.

Those currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination can be found in the CMO list and additional information can be found in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) Priority Group 2 statement, which defines patient-facing frontline workers.

What happens next?

Once you have emailed your details as described above to loth.massvaccinationstaff@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk  we aim to respond to you within 5 working days.  You will be asked to complete an online e-form and conform a work email address to verify eligibility. If you are currently unable to access your employee or educational body email account, please ask your line manager or tutor for their employee email account to help us accurately assess your eligibility. 

Please also take care to complete the e-form with the correct information as it is recorded on your medical record to help efficient upload to the national appointment system.  

At your appointment you will be required to provide identification confirming your role and employer, as per the information provided on your completed e-form.

Please note the email we send should be used by the indented recipient(s) only. 

I am eligible for the staff vaccination programme and have emailed loth.massvaccinationstaff@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk but have not heard anything? Why not?

We have received a very significant volume of enquiries in relation to the Priority 2 Health & Social Care Staff eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination. As of February 26 we have already processed almost 10,000 requests but these are arriving at a rate of around 400- 500 new request per day. We will endeavour to respond as soon as possible with next steps and aim to reply to your email within five days.  

I received information on the next steps and responded by submitting the electronic form, but I have not had a reply or received an appointment as yet? Do I need to do anything?

No. Following submission of the required e-form and assuming eligibility, your detail are passed to the national booking system, Service Now, and you will be allocated an available appointment at a mass vaccination centre via this national appointment tool. 

You will receive a letter confirming your appointment at either the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, the RBS campus at the Gyle, Pyramids Business Park at Bathgate, West Lothian or Queen Margaret University at Musselburgh in East Lothian.

The waiting time for your first dose will be dependent on vaccine supply, which, as you will have seen in the press recently, is currently much reduced across the country. Currently waiting time is around 8 weeks but we do expect this to reduce over time when vaccine supply increases again.

Please remember that a wait of eight weeks is still likely to be faster than the time you may have had to wait as part of the general population cohorts in the mass vaccination programme.

If you need to rearrange your allocated dose 1 appointment at a mass vaccination centre please contact:

Please remember that only those eligible under the JCVI Priority 2 Frontline Health and Social Care Worker Group should apply for vaccination under the staff priority group. 

You may hear from us before receiving confirmation of an allocated appointment if:

  • You do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • More information is required to verify eligibility
  • We have been unable to match the information provided on the e-form with individuals Medical Record (specifically CHI number) – examples of why we cannot match e-forms with CHI include; submitting forms using different surnames, addresses or other demographics to those on individuals’ medical records; individuals do not have a CHI because they are not registered with a General Practitioner.

I received a first dose of the vaccine in December through the staff programme and need a second dose. What do I need to do?

Staff who received their first dose of the vaccine in December 2020 and had a second dose appointment booked were contacted by letter to confirm their rescheduled second dose appointment date. 

If you received your first dose in December, have not already had a second dose and have not received a second dose appointment letter, please call 0800 111 4499.

If you have a mobile phone number recorded on Trak (our patient management system) you will receive a reminder text message five days and one day before your appointment.

Delivery of all second vaccinations for eligible staff is planned for around week 10 of the 12 week window advised, and the appointment allocated to you should meet this.

Due to the necessity to receive your second dose within this window and the complexity of delivering this programme, please make every effort to attend the appointment allocated to you. It may be possible to change the appointment allocated to you if circumstances prevent you from attending, but this should be considered only when there is no alternative solution possible. The information on how to do this will be found in your letter.

If you have already received your second dose and receive an appointment letter after this, please contact us on 0800 111 4499 so we can make this appointment available for other people. 

I received a first dose of the vaccine in January through the staff programme and need a second dose. What do I need to do?

Staff who received their first dose vaccine in January 2021 are now able to book their second dose appointment online. These staff have been notified by text or, if we do not have your mobile number, contacted by letter. 

 If you have not already registered to book appointments online you will be asked to complete a form to register for this service and once returned and uploaded by colleagues in eHealth you will be sent a welcome email. 

Please activate your online account and go ahead and book. Once registered for online booking, click this link to book: https://www.healthportal.scot.nhs.uk/

If you received your first dose in January 2021, have not already had a second dose and have not received a text or letter, please call 0800 111 4499 to book a second dose appointment within your 12 weeks.

Capacity in dose 2 clinics across Lothian have been planned to meet weekly demand, within 12 weeks, in line with vaccine availability.

You will only be able to book online for a second dose if you have had a first dose.

You will only be able to book your second dose appointment online for a date around week 10 of your 12 week window.

Second dose clinics for staff who have already received a first dose of the vaccine commenced from 15 February 2021 and will continue for a 9-10 week duration. These clinics are being held in the Anne Rowling Clinic at the RIE, SJH, WGH, RHSC, Lauriston Building, Liberton Hospital, Strathbrock Partnership Centre, Stoneyburn, Midlothian Community Hospital & East Lothian Community Hospital

I received a text from NHS Lothian about my second dose appointment and I am worried this is a scam?

NHS Lothian has sent a number of texts to staff recently to request that they go online to book a second dose appointment or, if they have not already registered for online booking, provided a link to register for this service. This text also provides the number of the contact centre in the event that individuals cannot book online. 

NHS Lothian has also sent out appointment reminder texts to those who have a second dose appointment booked, five days and then again the day before their booked appointment. NHS Lothian has only been able to do this for staff where we have a mobile telephone number available on their medical record.

We are not aware of any scams related to this. NHS Lothian or any reputable organisation will never send unsolicited emails or texts asking for personal details. Staff should never give out personal details to organisations or people before verifying their credentials first, even if the message appears to be genuine.

I am not currently eligible for the staff vaccination programme, when will I receive my vaccination?

If you are not currently eligible for vaccination because of your role or the area you work in, you will be vaccinated as part of the mass population programme. The timing of your vaccination invitation will depend on your age and whether you have an underlying health condition.

More information on the programme can be found at https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine 

Issued on 1 March 2021