Despite a pause in public hearings as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Inquiry is continuing its vital investigative work and encouraging survivors to continue to come forward to give evidence. As such, the Inquiry is looking to further extend its visibility and availability to help ensure all available evidence is gathered, and as many people as possible can contribute to the important work of the Inquiry.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is committed to support the voluntary sector through the coronavirus pandemic. We have set up this bulletin to share important information with you including funding announcements.
Help & advice for employees
Citizens Advice Scotland has created a section on their website with lots of useful information for employees who have been impacted by coronavirus, which covers everything from bills to benefits.
Look after your mental wellbeing
It’s always important to look after your mental health, but even more so at times like these when we are all faced with uncertainty and isolation. The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) also has a dedicated web page with resources to help people maintain good mental health during the ongoing pandemic, including blogs, guided meditation and a wellbeing assessment tool.
Funding for organisations
Various funds have been announced recently to help organisations deal with the impact of coronavirus on services:
- Third Sector Resilience Fund – a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations which find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Community Response, Recovery & Resilience Fund – the National Emergencies Trust has set up a Coronavirus Appeal to raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support – funds for Scottish organisations will be distributed by Foundation Scotland.
- Creative Scotland – three funding programmes have been launched to help provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community impacted by coronavirus.
- CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund – grants of up to £10,000 to help smaller organisations to continue to deliver much needed support.
Further funding information and links are available on the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub funding page.
Scotland Cares volunteer campaign
A new ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need, via the Ready Scotland website.
Community Assistance Directory
If you work or volunteer for an organisation in need of support or that is able to offer support to others in response to coronavirus, you can find and give help in this new official website which collates offers and requests of support from across the country.
Online events & webinars
We have created an events calendar in our guidance & support page in an attempt to capture any online events set up in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Scotland’s third sector.
If your organisation is hosting a webinar, online course or seminar on this topic and would like to promote it, please contact us with details.
What you can do to help
- Continue to stay at home if you can, look after yourself and your family, and follow official guidance.
- Visit our Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub for information, guidance and resource
- Share this bulletin with your colleagues and contacts – they can also sign up for it here.
Share your organisations’ experiences and challenges email@example.com to help inform our work.
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 transition period.
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 steps:
- 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.
For further detail, please see:
- British Sign Language film covering key points from Cabinet Secretary update on impact of Covid-19 on social security in Scotland
Please share this content with those who you work with who may be impacted by this announcement.
We would encourage everyone to continue claiming all the support that they are entitled to through both Department for Work and Pensions, Social Security Scotland and Local Authorities.
Just wanted to check that everyone had seen this article on the ELC website
Across the county, volunteers are already providing a significant amount of help and support for neighbours and fellow residents.
Supported by collaboration and co-ordination from our Connected Community Managers in local areas, we are keen to ensure existing community groups are able to continue making a difference in supporting vulnerable people in critical need.
Resilience groups can help in a number of ways – for example collecting shopping, essential supplies and supporting people in emergency need of care.
This could be particularly useful for people who are not able to leave their home, for example if they are self isolating and/or unwell.
What to do if you need help
Anyone requiring assistance from their local community resilience group can:
- Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone our public information line on 01875 824 300 between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, Monday to Friday.
We will then make the appropriate linkages to enable you to be provided with assistance locally.
Can you help? In collaboration with STRiVE, a volunteer registration service is being established to connect well and willing ‘new’ volunteers with their local resilient community group’s efforts. You can register your interest on the STRiVE website.
Resilient community groups are made up of volunteers, usually attached to community councils, to support their own communities when there is a major disruption to services – for example during ‘Beast from the East’. Such organised groups provide re-assurance communication and structures to allow a well organised response to be made. The volunteer registration service will help people in communities who are not already connected to a community group/organisation, to provide details of their skills and availability to participate in local volunteering efforts.
Depute Council Leader Councillor Norman Hampshire said:
“There is a phenomenal amount of volunteering going on across our communities already. Neighbours are helping neighbours and looking after the less able in their communities supported by local resilience groups. We are keen to help support and grow this network, and ensure that community spirit continues to flourish even in these worrying times.”
This has just come in from the MCH today.
Enable have been very creative with support a service user who is self-isolating due to being unwell.
The team have rallied around the service-user with home cooked meals being dropped off, Facetime quizzes twice daily and also Facetime support to ensure the flat is being kept clean and tidy/house, chores are being done and everything is as it should be (as if staff were still visiting the flat on a daily basis).
Our service-user appears to be managing the situation really well and has really stuck to the self-isolation guidance – he comes down once a day to collect his evening meal from the back door.
The Team as mentioned above have been doing a lot of Facetime with him as we mentioned before and the quizzes are around the service-user’s activity of choice. A staff member played darts with him the other day (the service-user played in his home and staff played in his!) The service-users is engaging really well with this which is fantastic.
Sent in by Sarah Wall, Senior Practitioner, Adult Wellbeing
We wanted to let you know that the Healthy Respect team are still working, remotely and able to support staff with young people’s sexual health needs.
team are still available via their individual emails or via the team email at email@example.com.
It may take us a little longer to get back to you as some of the team have been redirected to support the response to Covid 19.
All urgent enquiries can be called into Yvonne’s work mobile phone 07980 961923. Leanne is updating information on our twitter account regularly so please follow us @healthy_respect if you don’t already, as this is the quickest way to get the most up to date information out to people.
Chalmers Centre – Main Healthy Respect + provision
Chalmers Centre have now stopped all non-urgent STI work including all low-risk STI testing in response to COVID-19. However we recognise that sexual health needs will continue to present both in those who are well and in those who have symptoms or are household contacts, so need to self-isolate. The team at Chalmers Centre are currently:
– continuing to provide care for urgent problems including medical abortion, symptomatic STI and conditions that are painful via an all-triage service.We will not be directing patients to any other service.
– continuing to provide routine HIV care, long acting contraception and PrEP supplies, with significant changes to delivery to minimise face-to-face contact.
non-urgent services will be discontinued. GP referrals will be triaged and only
urgent cases will be seen.
All other referrals will be deferred for 3 months. All low-risk STI testing at all clinics are discontinued.
– Medical Abortion under 12 weeks now has agreement for both stages of the treatment to be given as home treatment. Women under 16 years will need to speak to a member of staff for more information and advice and at the time of writing will still need to come into Chalmers Centre to be seen.
There is currently no drop-in services running at Chalmers Centre or Howden Medical Centre. All services offered via Howden Medical Centre are now cancelled. The staff are still able to provide urgent appointments but the majority of the consultations are currently taking place via a telephone call back system.
If you are supporting a young person in crisis you are able to call and ask for a call back in urgent cases. The clinical staff at Chalmers Centre do want to stress that they are still currently available to help those who need support and advice firstly by a telephone call back on 0131 536 1070. When calling you will be booked in for a call back with a member of the team.
All Healthy Respect drop-ins in the community are closed with no telephone triage system available. If you have a general question regarding these services, Steff is still your main contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
The main source of information for sexual health services is the website at www.lothiansexualhealth.scot.nhs.uk. Please direct patients with sexual health queries to our website, or to the Chalmers phone line 0131 536 1070.
Condoms by post
All c:card points are closed. Condoms by post are still available at the time of writing by visiting www.ccard.org.uk/free-condoms-by-post. There may be a longer wait on the postage but a reminder that this service is available for all ages and we are particularly keen to encourage condom use when standard STI testing is not available, including Postal Testing Kits for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.
Our partners – Youth Services
The majority of youth services are supporting existing young people via digital youth work. We include information for the agencies we have information on, but we are very happy to provide a weekly update for all partners who wish to inform the network of what is available for young people – please just email Leanne on Leanne.email@example.com if you want us to provide info to the network at this time. We are re-tweeting information from services daily.
Health Opportunities Team
Direct contact has stopped until at least 20th April and services will close completely during the Easter holidays.The team continue to offer 1-2-1 support to young people via phone, email and skype, including during drop-in times Their drop-ins are Wednesday 4pm-8pm Thursday 3:45pm-6pm. The team are available via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0131 468 460
Please see the website for full service information.
are in touch with all of the current young people accessing their services. The
are providing 1-2-1 support via text, phone, email, facebook etc and will provide virtual youth groups on line, – so young people can still be signposted to the service. National digital youth worker also available Mon, Wed , Thurs eves, 6-8pm
email@example.com and www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/
LGBT Health and Wellbeing:
services’ counselling service will be run remotely and they will use digital
platforms to deliver other core work. They have increased their helpline
opening hours by an extra day (thurs 12-6, phones only). They are looking to
set up a
tele friending service which will involve a small team proactively making contact with more isolated community members over the coming months – is aimed at adults only.
www.hiv.scot/coronavirus – HIV Scotland site (developed with partners) to provide specific info on HIV, PrEP, cv and sex.
MYPAS (Mid and East Lothian):
www.mypas.co.uk – access site for latest updates
All face to face work cancelled. Will offer support via phone, text, email or online. All young people currently accessing MYPAS will be contacted and offered continued support. They will also continue to take referrals for all their services.
6VT staff are working remotely – supporting young people via messenger, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), facebook, twitter, instagram or the contact them on their website. The service have a virtual online drop ins for young people aged 13-21 every Mon, Wed and Fri at 7pm
All drop-ins are cancelled but individual workers will be in touch with young people they are working with.
The Citadel will be offering digital groups and support instead of operating out of the centre. Please check the Citadel Youth Centre facebook page and twitter @CitadelYCLeith for detail of how to join the group you attend digitally.
Pilton Youth and Children’s Project (PYCP)
The team are not offering direct service but are in touch with their service users via their facebook page.
Wester Hailes Youth Agency
Youth Agency are still offering 1 to 1 support to any young person they work
Useful Websites for wider support
PAS – www.parentingacrossscotland.org @ScotParents
CEOP – www.ceop.policeuk @CEOPUK who have launched #onlinesafetyathome
Signposting for young people who are feeling overwhelmed with increase in social media access and been online with peers – conflict, bullying, sexting; and risk of increase in use of online porn sites and if they or someone they know need some extra support.
We hope all our network members are keeping well and strong and if we as a team can help at this time, please do contact us individually or via the team email or via a DM on our twitter account.
If you would like us to send out information on your behalf, please do let us know.
With very best wishes
On behalf of the Healthy Respect Team.
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.
The diagram in Annex A shows the supply routes for the four categories of health or social care provider. [See Page 4 of this attachment]
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.
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.’
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 email@example.com