New COVID-19 Assessment Hub opens in Musselburgh

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership has opened COVID-19 Assessment Hub in Musselburgh as part of NHS Lothian’s regional strategy for the management of patients needing assessment for possible coronavirus infection.

Dr Alastair Clubb, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s Primary Care Clinical Lead says:

‘The team will assess people who have been advised to attend by NHS24’s Call 111 service after phone triage. I want to make it very clear this is not a drop-in facility. The team does not carry out laboratory testing for coronavirus.

‘Patients who have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection should follow the guidance and advice on self-care and isolation on the NHS Inform web site (https://www.nhsinform.scot). It will take you through your symptoms and tell you if you are one of the small number of people should contact NHS24’s Call 111 service for further assessment over the phone. A very small number of patients assessed over the phone will be advised to attend one of the assessment centres in the Lothian region.

‘Following these steps ensures that patients are safely assessed and allocated to the correct service for their needs. And it reduces the risk of transmitting the virus – the most important action we can all take during the pandemic.’

Patients attending the centre in Musselburgh will be greeted by the clinical team who will already have all the relevant clinical information for patients. Most patients will be assessed without having to leave their car because the team is able to do this by going through a number of simple observations (for example, temperature, oxygen saturation, appearance, etc). It will usually not be necessary to give patients a full clinical examination, for example, a chest examination. Routinely carrying out clinical examinations could increase the risk of virus transmission.

A small number of patients attending will be brought in to the centre for further assessment and then directed towards the appropriate care, either at home or in hospital. It is worth noting that the service in Musselburgh is not a drop-in service and does not carry out testing, because most patients will not need it. In line with the national guidance, people should manage their symptoms at home, whenever possible.

Dr Clubb says:

‘The pathway for accessing the service is designed to ensure the safety of patients and staff alike. In the event of a life-threatening emergency always call 999.’

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s Chief Officer Alison Macdonald adds:

‘I would like to thank the team for getting the service up and running safely and quickly. We are well-placed to do this because we have been able to draw upon the expertise of the CWIC team, which has been developed over the last two years in our primary care service in Musselburgh.

‘I would also like to re-iterate what Dr Clubb said about sticking to the rules. It is crucial that we all adhere to the guidance on contacting NHS 24’s 111 service – by doing this, you are doing your bit to help the NHS manage during these challenging times. Thank you.’

Unison letter to Nicola Sturgeon

If you have seen today’s letter from local authority unions in Scotland to Nicola Sturgeon, you will probably want an update about our approach in East Lothian.

As you know, I and the other IJB Chief Officers have been working closely with the Scottish Government to address issues with the supply of PPE. If you have any concerns, please speak to your line manager as soon as you can.

Testing of frontline staff is underway and will be rolled out to those who need it – I will keep you up-to-date with developments.

We are following national guidance on key workers and working closely with East Lothian Council to make sure that you get the recognition and support you need, for example, with childcare.  Councillor O’Donnell is also putting out a message to local businesses to try to ensure that social care staff receive appropriate recognition.

I know that these are very challenging times and I really appreciate the work you do and want to make sure that you are as safe as you can be.

Again, if you have any concerns, please speak to your line manager straight away or you can email my direct at myvoice@eastlothian.gov.uk

Alison

Changes afoot at STRiVE

We received this letter from Tom Shearer today outlining changes to the management structure and new primary point of contact at STRiVE.

Dear Partner

STRiVE would like to advise/inform you that it will begin the search for a new Chief Officer later this year as the current CEO Eliot Stark and his Depute Linda McNeill leave on the 31st March 2020 by mutual agreement.

This significant change was part of a planned re-structure of STRiVE approved by the Board, and despite the COVID -19 crisis it was felt important that the planned changes progress. Again this was mutually agreed by the CEO, Depute and the Board.

STRiVE will commence an extensive and inclusive recruitment process in due course but in the meantime the Board are delighted to announce that Maureen Allan has accepted an invitation as Chief Officer on an interim basis to allow enough time for a robust recruitment process to be progressed. Therefore until such time as a permanent appointment is made Maureen will be STRiVE’s primary point of contact.

Maureen has been a member of the STRiVE team since 2016 and has managed the Community Links and Community Support Services since 2018.

A retired nurse, Maureen has extensive business experience previously owning and managing an independent Care at Home company.

She has previously held a number of roles including Chair of Dementia Friendly Tranent, a member of the Community Council, Area Partnership, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Group and a position on the Integration Joint Board. She continues to be a “community activist” within East Lothian.

The Board of STRiVE looks forward to working with Maureen as we progress over the weeks and months ahead with other phases of restructure plans. The Board are anxious to ensure that STRiVE is well positioned to perform a pivotal and constructive role in support of East Lothian’s amazing third sector and are confident that the planned changes ahead will secure that objective.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for your organisation and your  families over the weeks and months ahead as the Country battles against the COVID-19 crisis.

Kind regards,

Tom Shearer MBE

Board Chairman

A word from the East Lothian Welfare Rights Team

The Welfare Rights team can provide advice and support to anyone in need.

Welfare Rights Officers work with many local residents to provide specialist welfare- related advice.  They can establish if there is an underlying entitlement to a wide range of benefits and other forms of financial assistance, including grants and hardship payments.  We can also help customers to apply. 

We also have a Macmillan Welfare Rights Officer who works with people and their families affected by cancer to make sure they are claiming all financial assistance available.  We already have links in place with the NHS and the Social Care Partnership.

Although we have suspended all face-to-face contact, our team is working from home and providing advice over the phone or by email. 

We have also developed some new resources to help people fill in forms, primarily around disability benefits.

You can find out more about what we do at www.eastlothian.gov.uk/welfarerights  

Weekly update from Alison

Week ending 27 March 2020

I want to update you on what the Partnership has achieved this week and to thank you for everything you are doing to make this happen.

The Tactical Team, coordinating our response, has been set up in East Lothian Community Hospital (ELCH) in the Mental Health Tribunal Suite and there will be soon be a central phone number to call – watch this space! We are setting up an on-call rota for Senior Managers so there are decision-makes available 24/7.

Social workers are now locality-based at Bleachingfield, Randall and the Brunton. The Duty Team is doing a great job in managing referrals and enquiries.

The Mental Health Team are working at home reaching out to clients in the community by phone. 

Our TEC Team is working with service-users to look at how TEC can support service-users and help them to avoid feeling isolated.

Day Centres, Lunch Clubs and Adult Resource Centres are closed, and we are now supporting service-users differently. Our Meals at Home service continues.

Teams at ELCH are focusing on getting services delivered into the community.

The Community Rehab Team has closed its MSK clinics, but is continuing to work with patients by phone and looking at how they can support other workstreams.

In primary care, we are working on the development of a local COVID Hub at Musselburgh Primary Care Centre and working on a Practice buddying scheme to share the workload between practices, if necessary.

We are liaising with community pharmacies and practices where there are shortages of delivery drivers. 

What you have raised with us

I know that there are issues across Scotland with PPE and I am working with the Scottish Government to address this for East Lothian staff.

Key Worker status

All frontline staff in the Partnership are key workers and I know that social care staff have been having difficulties in getting local supermarkets to recognise this. This is not on, so we have raised the matter with Health and Social Care Scotland and the Scottish Government.  In the meantime, please email myvoice@eastlothian.gov.uk with any individual instances of being turned away and I will take it up for you.

Thank you for all your work this week, have as good a weekend as you can, and keep safe.

Alison

Media contact

One of our care workers was approached for comments and photographs this morning by a national newspaper.

There are lots of freelance journalists looking for stories just now, so if someone approaches you, please ask them to contact me instead of giving an interview yourself.

Jane Ogden-Smith
Communications and Engagement Manager
East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership
Direct Line 01620 827 755
Mobile 07703 191 218

It’s really important that all media enquiries come to me and I can establish whether they are genuine and whether the Partnership wants to engage with them or not. I can also find out if you actually want to be interviewed, photographed etc and if not, find a work-around.

It’s very naughty of them to take advantage of you when you are working and unprepared (and in this case without the opportunity to freshen up make-up and run a comb through their hair!) So, let me know if you are approached and I’ll take it from there.

Many thanks

Jane

Carers of East Lothian Community Resilience Contacts

Andrew Tweedy, director of CoEL writes

Dear All

My colleague Kirsteen has been collating information about local resilience resources in East Lothian which CoEL is using to connect carers to local support as necessary.  While there our focus is on support that would be relevant for carers, we wanted to share this with others as it will be of relevance to all of us.  It is also a live document so please do let my colleague Kirsteen know if there are other groups who should be included or any other issues and if you have your own listing please let us know and we will try to collate them all.  It is worth flagging that groups noted in Red are “official” groups covered operating under cover of East Lothian Council insurance – others are informal groups who have come together in response to Coronavirus.

CoEL Community Resilience Contacts

FYI – CoEL is continuing to support carers locally but we are working from home and not doing visits.  Our contact details remain unchanged as all phones are forwarded onto staff mobiles etc.

Let us know if there is anything more CoEL can do to support and we will send updated versions of this document as appropriate.

Andrew

Andrew Tweedy
CEO – Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) Directline:  0131 653 1056
Mobile:  07842 827362

Dealing with our frustrations offline

I know we all have our frustrations to bear, but can I ask that if you have an issue with anything work-related, your deal with it offline and through the appropriate channels, for example, your line manager. Or you can always email me direct at myvoice@eastlothian.gov.uk

Please don’t try to resolve things on social media. We should always be respectful towards our partner organisations and remember that we are all in this together.

Nuff said.

Alison