MSK Physiotherapists are currently trialling the use of iPads to enable us to help those unable to access normal physiotherapy services during COVID-19. This allows people struggling with an MSK complaint access to the information they need to manage their condition by being supported in use of apps relevant to them. We fully expect this practice to continue post-COVID and be rolled out to the drop-in clinics.
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.
A document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life has today been published by the Scottish Government.
The paper – COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.
It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Today I am seeking to start a grown up conversation with the public about the complex decisions that lie ahead of us as we look beyond lockdown.
“As we have done all along, we will seek to inform the public with the best scientific advice possible, but the science will never be exact and we are in uncharted territory so we also need to make careful judgements and be prepared to adapt and change course as we go.
“We want to ease restrictions, but we cannot rule out having to reapply them should the virus run out of control.
“Every day we see evidence that this virus causes real harm, but so too do the lockdown measures we are taking to contain it. This is causing harm to the economy and living standards, to children’s education and to mental health and wellbeing.
“That is why we need to try to find a better balance than the one we have now, but as we do so we cannot take our eye off the need to suppress the virus and minimise the damage it does.
“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.
“As we start to lift the restrictions, the real risk is that COVID-19 runs rampant again so a return to normal as we knew it is not on the cards in the near future.
“What we will be seeking to find is a new normal – a way of living alongside this virus, but in a form that keeps it under control.
“Physical distancing and limiting our contacts with others will be a fact of life for a long time to come – certainly until treatments and ultimately a vaccine offer different solutions. But if we all keep doing the right things, there will be a way through – and we will find it, together.”
A reminder to take care of yourself from the Scottish Government
You are likely to be under increased pressure over this period and you will need appropriate support. It is going to be crucial that we are all able to talk openly and honestly about our mental health and wellbeing, and that we have access to the right help and support when we need it. Looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
You need care too
Here are some tips for staying safe and well:
Information and social media
Get timely, accurate and factual information about COVID-19 from a reliable source no more than a couple of times a day. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider how you feel when you have constant exposure to media coverage and graphic news stories. Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.
Looking after your basic needs
Take care of your basic needs at work.
Eat and drink regularly and healthily.
Always take regular breaks during shifts.
Allow time for sleep, rest and respite between shifts.
Try and stay as connected to your friends and family as much as possible via technology.
Where possible, maintain your normal daily routine and a healthy diet, and get fresh air when you can.
Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies that involve alcohol, tobacco or an unhealthy diet.
Think about creating a consistent routine to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need, but also about ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark and a relaxing environment to sleep in.
Looking after each other
Speak to colleagues, line managers and professional leaders, building this into your team’s daily huddles and handovers. They may be feeling the same way. It’s good to talk. Peer and social support are often the best buffers against stress and adversity.
Look out for each other and share small successes about what’s gone well.
Be kind to each other. This can have a profound impact on staff wellbeing.
Use the Going Home Checklist, where relevant, to leave work in work.
It’s good to talk, but not all of you will be ‘talkers’. That’s OK too but make sure you give yourself space to process the events of the day and deal with your feelings.
It is perfectly normal to feel worried during exceptional times such as these. However, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a colleague. A helpline such as NHS 24 (111) or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) may also help.
You may find the following websites of assistance:
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.
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
It advises that there should still be an option for emergency contact
with community mental health services even when appointments have been
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
STRiVE as the Third Sector Interface would like to know what support organisations might need from them at this time. Please take a moment to complete their survey. Please note that you don’t have to be registered with STRiVE to receive this support. Once you are finished, return it to STRiVE at email@example.com
Priority will be to deliver Scottish Child Payment
Social Security Secretary
Shirley Anne Somerville has updated Parliament on the impact of coronavirus
(COVID-19) on social security services in Scotland.
The majority of Social Security
Scotland staff are now working from home to support efforts to slow the spread
of Covid-19. The delivery of existing benefits continues with applications
being received, processed and payments being made.
On benefits due to be
introduced from this year, the Cabinet Secretary advised that, although they
were on track to deliver these benefits, plans have had to change as a result
of the ongoing pandemic.
The Scottish Government, DWP,
local authorities and health and social care practitioners – who are all
required to develop and deliver these benefits – are currently focused on the
response and recovery from COVID-19. As a result, the introduction of Child
Disability Payment and the Scottish Government’s replacement for Personal
Independence Payments will be delayed. UK Ministers have agreed that they will
continue to deliver disability benefits to Scottish clients over a longer
Scottish Child Payment, which
was due to be introduced from this autumn, will also be delayed. The Scottish
Government will focus its resources to deliver this as soon as practicably
possible. The aim is to start taking applications by the end of 2020 with
payments being made from 2021, subject to sufficient staff being in place.
In her statement, Ms Somerville
also outlined the markedly different approach that the Scottish Government
plans to take in its delivery of disability benefits. The new decision-making
process for this in Scotland will mean no face-to-face assessments and
decisions will be informed by the professional judgement of health and social
care practitioners – not assessors. The new process will involve the following
Social Security Scotland will make decisions using the information provided by applicants and checking this against existing guidance in the first instance
where it is not possible to make a decision, applicants will be able to tell Social Security Scotland about the health and social care professionals who already support them. Social Security Scotland will then be able to contact those professionals to collect supporting information
when it is the only practical way of collecting the information, a minority of working age clients will be invited to a discussion with a health and social care practitioner. If such a client consultation takes place, it would be arranged to suit the client, and the majority of these consultations are expected to be conducted by phone.
The safety of our health and social care workforce is an absolute priority of the Scottish Government and it is vital that workers have absolute clarity on which PPE they should wear in which setting or scenario. That is why I wanted to write to you to provide you with an update of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) availability for staff across the health and social care system.
We will be issuing almost eight million items of PPE stock in the coming week to support Primary Care and Social Care. Work continues as an absolute priority to source further PPE to ensure there continues to be an appropriate supply for all our health and social care workforce.
We monitor our supply stock, orders and delivery timelines daily and against growing demand and I can confirm we currently have adequate stock of PPE, equating to six weeks’ worth of hospital stock for the most critical items. Additional orders are continuously placed with the most recent being a further supply of FFP3 and IIR masks.
From the 30 March we introduced a number of additional steps to ensure the swift delivery of PPE to those who need it. We now have 4 delivery and distribution routes covering hospital, primary and community care, social care and the SAS. PPE supplies for pharmacy are delivered through the medicine distribution network.
We have a new dedicated email address for staff, MSPs or members of the public to raise specific supply issues. This is covid-19-health-PPE@gov.scot It will be monitored continuously and allow us to act to resolve any specific supply issues more quickly.
All of the supply and distribution of PPE follows the clinical guidance on what is required in which clinical situation or caring scenario. HPS and our Chief Nursing Officer have produced further clear information and info graphics which will be published this week and communicated directly with staff through a number of different platforms.
We are continuing to work alongside carer organisations to make sure carers have access to the right advice to help protect them are and their loved ones during this challenging period. We also know that some carers may require protective equipment should the person they are caring for be symptomatic of coronavirus. We are currently working to identify the most effective routes to direct them to the support they need.
Hospital – A Single Point of Contact (SPoC) within each health board is managing coordination of PPE available on site, and ordering more as required. This system appears to be working well with decision making being quicker due to having a SPoC in place. There is a daily call with the health board contact, National Procurement and Scottish Government where issues can be raised.
Primary Care – Currently GPs contact their local Health Board SPoC to order more PPE or arrange delivery of orders. To supplement this, a new supply route is being set up to do a proactive delivery of 8 weeks’ worth of stock to each GP practice. This will be delivered to 8 hub locations, and then direct deliveries to c. 1,000 GP practices. This will begin on Monday and all deliveries will be complete by 3 April.
Social Care supply – A social care triage hub has now been operational for one week, and this is being scaled up to improve delivery to social care providers. A range of measures have been put in place from 26 March including, additional pickers to prepare orders and additional drivers in both volume and extended delivery hours.
Alongside boosting capacity within the social care triage hub, a proactive approach is being developed in parallel. This will be deliveries of PPE to local cluster points for onward distribution or collection by social care providers. This will be in place from week commencing 30 March. The supplies will be accessible to all Care Inspectorate registered social care providers, unpaid carers, personal assistants, non-registered services providing a social care support service with roles that have a need for PPE, and hospices. There will be up to 70 cluster points across the country – these are being identified and may be schools, community centres, or other appropriate locations.
The SSSC and NES have developed a core PPE training package for social care for those who are being redeployed to care roles, and for volunteers. Scottish Ambulance Service supply – Deliveries are made direct from National Procurement to two agreed locations in the central belt which a SAS SPoC manages. This process has not changed from the previous approach and has continued to strengthen as it beds in.
I would be grateful if you could share this information with your members.
Once again, I am thankful for all the hard work each and every one of you and your members are doing to support the people of Scotland in these difficult times. Let me also stress that should you have any concerns on this or any other matter, I hope you will not hesitate to contact me directly.