Covid-19 Mental Welfare Commission Advice Note (updated 7 May)

The Mental Welfare Commission is being contacted for advice on mental health care and treatment related to this pandemic.

In light of this, and in anticipation of emergency legislation currently going through Parliament, we have produced this updated advice note (version 8) for practitioners who are using the Mental Health Act and Adults with Incapacity Act when caring for patients.

Please read this Advice Note and share it with colleagues who may find it helpful.

Please also note that it will likely be updated frequently as the situation develops. We will issue updates, but please also check our website for the latest version.
We hope you find this helpful and ask that you email us at enquiries@mwcscot.org.uk if you have any questions or comments.

You can find the Advice Note here.

With our staff now all working from home, please also see here for details of contacting the Commission at this time.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
Edinburgh EH12 5HE

Coronavirus – Mental Welfare Commission advice for people using services and their family/carers (version 2, updated 6 May)

The Mental Welfare Commission has updated its advice on the coronavirus situation for people who use mental health, learning disability and dementia services and for their family or carers.

The advice offers guidance and contact information aimed at helping people address some of the challenges that the current restrictions on movement and work patterns can bring for people using services.

It recognises that lack of staff and social distancing has meant much of the routine care and treatment in the community has been reduced or stopped. 

It advises that there should still be an option for emergency contact with community mental health services even when appointments have been cancelled.

It gives information on current practice with visiting people in hospital or care homes, and discusses the new emergency legislation that is in place but has not yet come into use.

The advice gives a number of contacts for support and information, including contact information for the Commission’s own advice line.

Anyone who wishes to give feedback to the Commission on this advice, or make suggestions for any updates, can contact the Commission at: 
enquiries@mwcscot.org.uk

A copy of the Advice Note can be found here

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
Edinburgh EH12 5HE

Latest update from the Care Inspectorate

COVID-19: updated information and guidance for care home settings Health Protection Scotland have updated their COVID-19 information and guidance for care home settings to include more information on testing in care homes. You can access this guidance here.

Covid-19 Mental Welfare Commission Advice Note

The Mental Welfare Commission is being contacted for advice on mental health care and treatment related to this pandemic.

In light of this, and in anticipation of emergency legislation currently going through Parliament, we have produced this advice note for practitioners who are using the Mental Health Act and Adults with Incapacity Act when caring for patients.

The Commission is deeply saddened to see this week’s statistics on deaths in care homes, and new material in today’s update focuses on care homes. Our new advice links to ethical and human rights guidance, and gives information on a national care home rapid response team, which meets regularly and which the Commission has joined.

Please read this Advice Note and share it with colleagues who may find it helpful. Please also note that it will likely be updated frequently as the situation develops. We will issue updates, but please also check our website for the latest version.

We hope you find this helpful and ask that you email us at enquiries@mwcscot.org.uk if you have any questions or comments.

You can find the Advice Note here.

With our staff now all working from home, please also see here for details of contacting the Commission at this time.

Latest Care Inspectorate update

Support for services

Care services across Scotland are working tirelessly under very challenging circumstances to care for people.

The Care Inspectorate is working closely with care providers, health and social care partnerships, care industry leaders and the Scottish Government to ensure services get the support they need during the pandemic.

In order to best support services we have increased the numbers of inspectors available to support all care services for adults.

This may mean some services will have a new inspector. We acknowledge this may be a difficult change to take on board at this time but we are confident this is the best way to support all care services during the pandemic.

Services who are assigned a new inspector will be notified individually and will be contacted by their new inspector.

All our inspectors are committed to supporting care services at this time and they will work with you to build strong, supportive relationships.

COVID-19: updated information and guidance for care home settings

Health Protection Scotland have updated their COVID-19 information and guidance for care home settings. You can access this guidance here.

Infection prevention and control COVID-19 outbreak checklist

Health Protection Scotland have released an infection prevention and control outbreak checklist for COVID-19. The checklist is designed for the control of incidents and outbreak in healthcare settings and can be used within a COVID-19 area when there is an individual case or multiple cases.

You can view it here.

COVID-19 Incident or outbreak control tool for social or community care or residential settings

Health Protection Scotland have released a control measure tool for the control of incidents and outbreaks in Social or Community Care & Residential Settings, specific for COVID-19, and should be used accordingly, following the general advice provided in the guidance.

You can access this here.

More information for people with learning disabilities

The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) has added more Easy Read information and guidance on COVID-19 to its website. This includes common questions and stay at home advice.

Find out more on their website here or join their Facebook group ‘SCLD stay in touch’, which is open to anyone.

IRIC Alcohol-based hand rubs risk of fire

The Incident Reporting & Investigation Centre has released an information message containing guidance on the risk of fire from alcohol-based hand rubs.

You can view the information message here.

Find out more about our work at: www.careinspectorate.com

Contact us

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Trade Unions and Professional Organisations in NHS Lothian are actively working together and also in partnership with NHS Lothian  to ensure that all staff, regardless of job, location or working pattern, have access to adequate and appropriate PPE to allow them to perform their duties as safely as possible at all times following the latest Health Protection Scotland guidance which is in line with the guidance published by the four countries chief nursing and chief medical officers on the 2nd April.

We acknowledge that not all tasks require full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including FFP3 masks but we will constantly review this in line with any further evidence or guidance produced.

Concerns have been raised regarding variance in provision of PPE between departments and sites. As always, NHS Lothian has a duty to carry out risk assessments, to identify which PPE is appropriate to each task and this is something we will be working jointly to ensure is undertaken as and when appropriate. You must  use the appropriate PPE required for each task. Your health and that of others will be put at risk if both risk assessments and use of appropriate PPE are not maintained. Risk assessments must be made freely available to all staff and we encourage you to request sight of them, and to raise any concerns with local management and/or your local health and safety representative. You should also carry out a self-risk assessment if you have concerns.

We wish to give all members in the workplace a joint assurance of support in protecting the safety of staff and patients throughout NHS Lothian. You have the right to refuse to carry out any task for which you have not been provided with adequate and appropriate PPE and if you are within a medical category which requires workplace adjustments that you must be given the appropriate PPE to support this and again this should be undertaken as part of any risk assessment.

Please do not hesitate to contact your line manager or your own local trade union or professional body representative  if you have any concerns regarding risk assessments, PPE or any other matter.

Alex McMahon
Executive Director
Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs   
Alex Joyce
Employer Director

A joint statement from the Care Inspectorate and the SSSC

The Care Inspectorate and the SSSC have issued a joint statement on ethical and professional decision-making in the COVID-19 pandemic, and risk assessment guidance on repurposing of medicines within care home services.

Health and social care staff are playing a vital role caring for people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We recognise that the prime concern for everyone is the health, safety and wellbeing of people experiencing care. We also acknowledge the continued dedication, professionalism, compassion and commitment of all those working to care for people in the most difficult of circumstances; we thank you all for all that you do.

We acknowledge that in certain circumstances staff may need to depart from established practices in the administration of medication, in order to care for people in an ethical manner.

The pandemic raises concerns with accessing palliative care medicines, particularly controlled drugs, due to either fragility of the medicine supply chain (locally or nationally), or if people who need care deteriorate rapidly out of hours when a prescription cannot be dispensed.

The repurposing of medicines prescribed for someone else is not a practice that is normally acceptable. However, at this time, if there is no other option available, we acknowledge that this may be an ethical and moral step that may be considered.

Repurposing of medicines is not a decision to be taken lightly. It should be seen as a last resort to provide a patient with access to palliative medication that they require when other options to access stock cannot be made in a timely way to meet the patient needs. Such decisions should be taken within a local governance framework that includes undertaking of a risk assessment and a decision record made.

COVID-19 Response Planning: Supporting Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds

A framework to support local authorities and their partners in local decision making

This document, just published, aims to provide guidance for local decision-making on supporting people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities have statutory safeguarding duties towards all people in Scotland, regardless of their immigration status. They also have duties to protect public health. The guidance sets out considerations for fulfilling these duties during this period and supporting people who are additionally vulnerable because of their immigration status.

Read full document here

Coronavirus – Mental Welfare Commission advice for people using services and their family/carers

The Mental Welfare Commission has published new advice on the coronavirus situation for people who use mental health, learning disability and dementia services and for their family or carers.

The advice offers guidance and contact information aimed at helping people address some of the challenges that the current restrictions on movement and work patterns can bring for people using services.

It recognises that lack of staff and social distancing has meant much of the routine care and treatment in the community has been reduced or stopped. 

It advises that there should still be an option for emergency contact with community mental health services even when appointments have been cancelled.

It gives information on current practice with visiting people in hospital or care homes, and discusses the new emergency legislation that is in place but has not yet come into use.

The advice gives a number of contacts for support and information, including contact information for the Commission’s own advice line.

Anyone who wishes to give feedback to the Commission on this advice, or make suggestions for any updates, can contact the Commission at: 
enquiries@mwcscot.org.uk

A copy of the Advice Note can be found here