All staff have been offered the vaccine but if you’ve not taken it yet please email: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk to make an appointment.

COVID-19 has not gone away keep yourself and others safe. 

Information on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting

Government restrictions regarding COVID-19 have all but gone and the number of COVID-19 cases are flatlining locally. We’re now in a situation where we’re living with covid – this is the new normal. A decision has been reached by the Trust to no longer treat the pandemic as a Gold rated incident and there are no services in business continuity due to the pandemic. The Strategic Co-ordination Group and divisional tactical groups have been stood down.

As a result of this, the COVID-19 briefing will no longer be produced. All covid related information and guidance will be issued via Trust wide memos if it’s urgent, and if less so, it will appear in the weekly staff newsletter and on the staff Facebook account. We will also continue to review and update, when needed, the wealth of information held here on YourSpace which should be your first point of reference. As always, your line manager and our staff helplines are there if you need them. The Trust will monitor the situation with a view to reinstating, if required.

Please continue to follow Trust guidance in relation to the prevention and spread of the virus. I’d like to thank you for your continued commitment to the Trust, your patients, service users and your colleagues.

We continue to work to national guidance, please keep yourself and your teams updated with all announcements, news or changes to practice and service. 

We want our staff, patients, service users, carers and visitors to be confident about their safety when coming to Mersey Care. If staff have concerns, questions or suggestions about COVID-19 you can: 

  • Speak to your line manager 
  • Speak to a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
  • Speak to a staff side representative
  • Contact any of the relevant teams listed in the helpline section of this guidance. 

If patients or service users, carers and visitors have questions, concerns or suggestions they can:   

  • Speak to a member of staff 
  • Speak to PALS 
  • Contact their clinician 
  • Phone switchboard on 0151 473 0303 
  • Write to Joe Rafferty CBE, Chief Executive: V7 Building, Kings Business Park, Prescot, L34 1PJ or email: Joe.rafferty@merseycare.nhs.uk 

COVID-19 guidance in easy read format

Please find a link to guidance produced in easy read format for sharing where needed.
Guidance can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and you can find out about restrictions here: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

 

Back in March 2020, the communications team thought it vital that our staff could access information when they were away from work so we created a closed Facebook group for staff. This offered a chance for staff to keep in touch with one another during the nation’s first national lockdown.

All staff can to join the Facebook group, and in order to do so, you will need to visit this link, and answer ALL THREE questions, or your application will not be approved.

  • Where you work
  • What division you work in
  • Do you agree with all of the group’s rules (listed on facebook)

To join, visit: the Mersey Care Staff Facebook Group

Being kind to each other

Check out our social media policy. Using your own account for work can blur boundaries and it’s not the place for chatting or discussing work issues.

You can also become an unwitting spokesperson for your organisation, and if your account is public what you say can easily be taken and used in the media as a quote. Some employers even look at social media profiles before interviews; do you really want the person who’s interviewing you to see you dancing on a table on your last holiday or even worse complaining about your current employer?

Think before you post. Would you be happy for it to go in the newsletter? Would you make that comment in a team meeting? Or say it to your manager? If not don’t post it.

Social media is now part of daily life. Think how your words may affect someone or how you would feel if it was said to you, and remember ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’.

Hints and tips

The communications team has put together a new guide for staff full of hints, tips and guidance on best practice.

If you are contacted by a journalist via social media or want to contact the communications team for general advice, please email: communications@merseycare.nhs.uk

Read the social media guide here

Isolation

People who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap. With 75 percent of people having received both doses of the vaccine, the majority of adults will no longer need to self-isolate if they are in contact with someone who is positive. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive, or if you have symptoms. For more information click here.

Key behaviours

Please be reminded and ask your friends, family and loved ones to practice these behaviours.

 

Guidance for staff on isolation following contact by the COVID-19 app or Test and Trace

(3 August 2021)

We're aware of a rise in the number of Mersey Care staff being notified (pinged) by the COVID-19 app or Test and Trace, resulting in staff having to isolate for 10 days. To avoid this happening whilst performing your duties in work, please ensure that the app is turned off as you will be protected by your personal protective equipment (PPE). If you’re concerned about this, please read the NHS guidance.

If you are 'pinged' as a result of a contact outside of work, please inform your line manager and refer to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Staff isolation guidance and risk assessment. Former North West Boroughs colleagues will find the SOP here.

 

A message from Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England

(16 July 2021)

England’s Chief Nurse has reminded the public that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

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Please help us to reduce the risk of infection for our staff and patients by following the guidance. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2021/07/nhs-patients-staff-and-visitors-must-continue-to-wear-face-coverings-in-healthcare-settings/

Government guidance

Guidance will be updated based on the latest clinical evidence. For detail, please follow the link: COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Home working tax relief

You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week. For further information or to make a claim, follow the link.

NHS tests to check for coronavirus are available

Follow the link to find out how to advise patients, family and friends to have the test and where the nearest test centre is.

 

Access to Hollins Park, LIP and V7 from Monday 19 July

We want to continue to realise the benefits of hybrid working. The Trust has decided to continue to combine home working with working on site where appropriate and subject to service commitments. Over the next number of weeks and in light of the government lifting restrictions, further discussions will take place with staff who work in the three corporate headquarters buildings about future working arrangements. Adopting this approach will allow us to consider what measures we need to put in place as the situation develops. There will be no significant changes to current working arrangements until at least September 2021.

During this period:

  • Staff who are at home working should continue to do so until they are advised accordingly
  • Please continue to observe safe distancing, wear a mask, wash hands frequently and where possible open windows
  • Staff must continue to wear a surgical face mask in all areas, at all times unless working alone in a non-clinical office
  • Staff working in smaller office spaces must continue to restrict staff numbers present and not exceed the agreed maximum room capacity
  • These guidelines are subject to further advice pending from NHS England.

Outlined below is some additional specific guidance for staff  normally based at Hollins Park, Liverpool Innovation Park (LIP) and V7.

Hollins Park

Staff should continue to work from home until they receive further advice and guidance. Maximum occupancy is displayed in all communal areas. If you or your team want to increase access to the building, please discuss with your line manager in advance.

Liverpool Innovation Park (LIP)

Staff should continue to work from home and continue to only access LIP when necessary. There should not be an increase in the footfall, or the periods of time staff spend within the building. Priority continues to be given to clinical staff needing desk space.

If a team wants to increase its presence at LIP, please contact: Nicola.Ashes@Merseycare.nhs.uk Head of Administration in the first instance who will coordinate requests and seek approvals on behalf of Lee Taylor, Chief Operating Officer.

V7 Building

Staff should continue to work from home and should only attend V7 with permission from a senior manager (head of department or above). Wherever possible, avoid face to face meetings – use MS Teams or other platforms. If you do enter V7, make sure that you give your name and contact details to reception staff so that they know how many people are in the building.

If a team wants to increase its presence at V7, please contact Emma.Welsby@merseycare.nhs.uk in the first instance who will coordinate requests and seek approvals.

Masks  

It is imperative that all staff, clinical and non-clinical, including office based (unless working entirely alone), must wear masks at all times and in all areas.

Whilst taking a break, staff must continue to wear a mask unless they are eating or drinking when they can remove their masks but must maintain a two meter distance at all times. A clean mask must then be used for any other activities. The importance of wearing masks and how viruses spread and remain in the air for a while is very clearly demonstrated in an article in El País (national newspaper in Spain).

Non-clinical meeting rooms

Large non-clinical meeting rooms across our sites remain unavailable for booking unless for approved face to face training purposes. Work is being carried out to allow larger meeting rooms to be used in future across the geographical patch following guidance from infection prevention and control and health and safety but until then, meeting rooms will remain out of use.

We’d like to apologise for the inconvenience that this is causing but clinical areas had to be prioritised for this piece of work. As an alternative, all staff are asked to continue to use online meetings.  

Reduction in staff movement

The Trust is advising minimum staff movement across wards and, where possible, cohorting staff on outbreak wards. However, we also have to maintain staff and patient safety so there may be times when staff are asked to move to support a ward. Staff must adhere to instructions on the use of personal protective equipment, must be bare below the elbow, as outlined above, and wash hands to minimise the risk of cross infection.

RIDDOR reporting

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (RIDDOR) require employers, self-employed and those in control of premises, to report specific workplace incidents. In response to COVID-19, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued new guidance and instruction that requires the RIDDOR reporting of employee COVID-19 infections under the following circumstances:

  • if there is reasonable evidence that staff diagnosed with COVID-19 were likely exposed because of their work
  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus
  • a member of staff dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

So that the Trust complies with this new guidance and instruction, a COVID-19 RIDDOR reporting panel gathers information through a number of sources, and scrutinises each case in detail. If agreed that the member of staff has met the criteria as stated above, a RIDDOR report will be completed and shared with HSE. 

Staff will be informed if their case has been shared with HSE although it’s unlikely that they will be contacted by HSE. The aim of sharing this information is to inform HSE about occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences so they can identify where and how risks arise, and whether they need to be investigated and provide advice about how to avoid work-related injuries, ill health and accidental loss.

Safety and contractors during the pandemic

Please find below a letter for contractors that outlines basic requirements for adhering to covid rules when entering our wards. Can you raise awareness of this and include it in any pre contract information you provide to any of your specialist nominated sub-contractors so that they are aware.

COVID-19 letter to Contractors

Visiting arrangements across Cheshire and Merseyside

Due to the current rate and presentation of COVID-19 in our region, we will continue to restrict visiting to maintain patient safety and reduce the risk of spread within our hospitals. Visitors should observe strict two metre safe distancing principles whilst moving around the hospital, wear face coverings and adhere to strict handwashing on entering and leaving the hospital and clinical areas.

The following standards should be observed:

  • A maximum of two visitors for patients at the end of their life
  • One birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour
  • One partner accompanying a woman to antenatal scans - risk assessments of environments should be undertaken
  • One parent or appropriate adult visiting a child, this may include multiple parents although only one may be present at any time, this also includes neonatal services
  • One carer supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, learning disability, autism or other similar complex conditions where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
  • In exceptional cases consideration will be given to individual requests following a comprehensive risk assessment.

Working safely

It is at the discretion of employers as to how staff continue working safely. Home working is one way to do this and is Government advice for those who are able to do so. Workplaces can be made safe by following COVID-19 secure guidelines for those who need to be in the work environment.

Your manager will discuss with you how you can work safely, and must ensure your workplace is safe.

Clinical colleagues and other staff who must attend their place of work to carry out their duties should continue to do so.

Colleagues in these divisions who have been working remotely should agree with their line manager or clinical service manager the most appropriate location to work and effectively carry out their roles. Where there are any concerns or questions, please liaise with your manager. 

Service user and patient facing corporate colleagues, for example: Life Rooms, Safeguarding, Infection Prevention and Control must liaise with your line manager about working safely.

Corporate colleagues, for example: Finance, Workforce, Communications, IM, wherever practicable, should continue to home work for the foreseeable future. Remember to follow Trust guidance for your safety and wellbeing whilst home working. Managers will continue to work with colleagues who are unable to home work on the best solution to enable them to fulfil their roles.

Working from home - social distancing

Those people who’ve been able to work from home should continue to do so. If you’re in any doubt, please speak to your manager. Please follow Government guidance.

Working at home guidance

Staff helplines for ease of reference

Remember, if your call is urgent, and out of hours, please contact your division’s on call manager.

  • Infection Control 0151 295 3036 or for Mid Mersey 01925 664 851 - this would cover patient swabbing/PPE/virus advice etc.

  • Staff swabbing 0151 285 4484* or for Mid Mersey 01925 664 851 - for anything regarding staff swabbing, available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

  • Occupational Health 0151 471 2451 or occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk - for staff health related queries and concerns

  • Staff Support 0151 330 8103 or staffsupportservices@Merseycare.nhs.uk - for help with anxiety/reassurance etc.

  • Staff Side contacts https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/staff-side

  • To speak up about patient/staff safety or raising concerns call the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians on their new number: 0151 296 7575 or email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk

*For queries with staff swabbing results:

Staff/household members who have a home visit by our staff will be informed by Occupational Health.

Absence reporting and returning

Absence reporting for Community, Local, Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Divisions

As these clinical divisions no longer report to the absence phone line, we need to make sure that COVID related absences are still reported so that we can offer the right support. Can all managers please report any absence, COVID related to: HomeSwabbing.Team@merseycare.nhs.uk and OccupationalHealth@merseycare.nhs.uk

The email should include:

  • Name
  • DoB
  • Assignment number (if known)
  • Contact number
  • Reason for absence
  • Isolation/symptom start date
  • Predicted end date.

You may want use the proforma. This will ensure colleagues are offered a test and will make sure that appropriate support is offered from occupational health regarding isolation periods and advice.

All employees in these divisions are required to report absences, or changes to absences, directly to their line manager. This includes sickness and COVID related absences such as self-isolation. Employees will not be required to contact the absence line that was set up at the start of the pandemic.

All other staff should call 0151 472 7555.

Secure Division employees (ward and rehabilitation staff from Ashworth Hospital, staff at Rowan View, Auden Unit and Rathbone Low Secure Unit) should call the Clinical Support Office on 0151 471 2422.

Medical colleagues have their own reporting system via the medical staffing manager.

These numbers should be used for:

  • carers leave (time off for dependents)
  • bereavement leave
  • self-isolation for COVID-19
  • any absence and to report returning to work so that the absence can be closed. 

The absence line operates from 8.00am to 9.00pm, seven days a week

  • You should also advise your line manager /or designated contact of your absence
  • When resuming from absence, you should contact the absence line. If still absent on day 7, please contact the absence line to provide an update
  • All absences will be recorded in ESR/Health Roster via the absence line, therefore line managers do not need to do this.

You will also be asked to provide a telephone/mobile number to make sure that we have up to date contact details. A new web form has been developed to simplify the process. All colleagues will be asked a standard set of questions and the information from this new process will aid a single place where all Trust absence will be recorded.

BBC Mindset

BBC has teamed up with Sheffield IAPT to produce a series of workshops about looking after your mental health. This workshop looks at coping during the Coronavirus pandemic and gives you tips with coping with the feelings you might be experiencing: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p096hdb4

Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub

The Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub (CMRH) gives all NHS staff across the region access to self-help resources, information, support links and free wellbeing apps.

The CMRH website provides a valuable range of information and signposts users to the most applicable local psychological support service.  

Colleague support

This booklet compiles the best local guidance and services from Mersey Care that you can rely on and turn to with certainty. Please share it with colleagues and take from it what you need. As well as phone numbers and links, there are ideas and suggestions to support you.

If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.

Domestic abuse 

A code word in pharmacies offers a ‘lifeline’ to domestic abuse victims just ‘Ask for ANI’. The scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where people can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines. For further information on gov.co.uk click here.

Erostering and temporary staffing team

Operating from 8am to 9pm seven days a week email (as below) or call: 0151 471 2338

Reference requests, agency notices and Home Office references bankreferences@merseycare.nhs.uk               
Signed and approved timesheets banktimesheets@merseycare.nhs.uk
Bank recruitment recruitment@merseycare.nhs.uk
Healthroster support, training, advice, roster builds eroster@merseycare.nhs.uk
Bank Staff Annual Leave requests or balances annualleave@merseycare.nhs.uk
For queries relating to medics medicalbank@merseycare.nhs.uk
For queries relating to our secure division bank securebank@merseycare.nhs.uk
For queries relating to Local Division bank Localbank@merseycare.nhs.uk
For queries relating to SPLD bank whalleybank@merseycare.nhs.uk
For queries relating to Community Division bank Communitybank@merseycare.nhs.uk

Freedom to Speak Up

To Speak Up about patient/staff safety or Raising concerns call the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.Find their contact numbers. Or you can email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Infection control - 0151 295 3036

Helplines for staff

Please find a link to a BBC Radio Merseyside interview (starts at 32.46 minutes to 45.52 minutes) with presenter, Helen Jones and Jayne Alexander, operational manager of the crisis resolution home treatment team and Denise Carey, operational manager for 24/7 urgent care mental health who discuss mental ill health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and how their services help the people of Merseyside.

Interpretation and translation

We use Language Line to provide a high quality interpretation service. Interpreters provide word for word interpretation between the service users or patients and health professional. Language Line also provides a telephone interpretation service to support patients who do not speak English.

Telephone interpretation can be pre-booked by you, or used in an emergency to deal with an immediate communication difficulty. To support the continued use of Attend Anywhere it’s also possible to book remote Language Line interpreters to attend video virtual clinic appointments. The service is available 365 days per year covering over 120 languages. For more information click here.

Language Line can be used with Attend Anywhere

Booking an interpreter - For staff who usually book interpreters, you should continue to use the online booking system here.  For Attend Anywhere bookings you will need to use the new access code: 415789. 

Each virtual waiting room will be available as a location to pick for the interpreter to attend. All registered users with access to the booking system will automatically have their accounts linked to the new code for Attend Anywhere bookings. Should you have any access issues you can contact Language Line on 0845 310 9900, option 2.

A quick reference guide to booking an interpreter for Attend Anywhere and interpreting and translation page on the staff hub.

Clinical view - Language Line interpreters will join the call using their unique reference number as name ID. At the end of each session, all clinicians will receive a pop up window to complete to confirm that a video interpreter was used. It can also be found here.

It is important that this is completed with all of the relevant booking details as this will be used to ensure correct billing.​

NHS Kind to Your Mind

In the latest Kind to Your Mind episode on mental health, Ian Brannan discusses anxiety and sleep with Dr Paul Campbell, consultant clinical psychologist. Hear how to spot the signs of anxiety, how to get a great night's sleep and tips around calming anxiety.

Raising concerns (Freedom to Speak Up)

To Speak Up about patient/staff safety or Raising concerns call the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.Find their contact numbers. Or you can email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk 
 

Self help guides and apps

 

There are a range of self help guides covering a wide range of topics including mental health and stress and more. These can be accessed in different formats, whatever works best for you http://bit.ly/selfhelpguides

Staying connected

Staying connected has never been so important. We wanted to create a way for colleagues to have informal conversations as they would have before, as many are busier than ever or home working. We should never underestimate the importance and value of those chats we have when seeing one another on a regular basis. The pandemic means this has changed so our health and wellbeing service has developed two new initiatives that are inclusive and supportive look out for details of colleague common rooms and other events in the staff newsletter.

Support for you

If you’re struggling in any way, please talk to your manager or access any of our services listed below – we’re here to help.

Online psychological support information from Mersey Care

https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/download_file/view/229/267

Social isolation

Please take the Zero Suicide Alliance’s (ZSA) Step Up module, which introduces you to their suicide awareness training. You can access the training here

Suspected COVID-19?

This is to help to keep you safe while isolating at home if you have coronavirus. https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/download_file/view/232/267

Test and Trace

We're aware of a rise in the number of Mersey Care staff being notified (pinged) by the COVID-19 app or Test and Trace, resulting in staff having to isolate for 10 days. To avoid this happening whilst performing your duties in work, please ensure that the app is turned off as you will be protected by your personal protective equipment (PPE). If you’re concerned about this, please read the NHS guidance.

If you are 'pinged' as a result of a contact outside of work, please inform your line manager and refer to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Staff isolation guidance and risk assessment. Former North West Boroughs colleagues will find the SOP here.

If you are contacted by track and trace, or a private business (such as a restaurant or barbers) please contact occupational health to discuss your next steps.

Occupational Health 0151 471 2451 or Occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk

or for infection advice Infection.ControlTeam@merseycare.nhs.uk​ 0151 295 3036 or for Mid Mersey 01925 664 851

Wellbeing Hub

The staff wellbeing hub is the Trust's home for all wellbeing information to support staff during and after the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The hub is part of the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Department's wellbeing offer.

We appreciate that during the coronavirus pandemic, some of you may have experienced exceptional stress, change and uncertainty to a level many of us have not experienced before. Looking after ourselves and supporting our colleagues are two of the most important things we can do to enable us to continue to provide the best care for our service users.

The hub is a live and evolving portal for all things staff wellbeing. The hub aims to support staff by signposting information, advice, tips and specialist support to help you deal with your own wellbeing and share ways in which you can offer support to other colleagues, team members, friends and family. 

Visit the staff wellbeing hub

Working from home?

Are you doing all you can to take responsibility for your own psychological wellbeing, and encouraging others to do the same when you are working from home?  Download the working from home psychological wellbeing Checklist. You might also find this Questionnaire helpful. For those areas that you find particularly challenging, the tips booklet may be helpful - Together Apart - Resilience for Remote Workers.

 

HR question? 

For all of the most up to date contact details for the HR team click here.

Absence reporting 

Absence reporting for Community, Local, Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Divisions

As these clinical divisions no longer report to the absence phone line, we need to make sure that COVID related absences are still reported so that we can offer the right support. Can all managers please report any absence, COVID related to: HomeSwabbing.Team@merseycare.nhs.uk and OccupationalHealth@merseycare.nhs.uk

The email should include:

  • Name
  • DoB
  • Assignment number (if known)
  • Contact number
  • Reason for absence
  • Isolation/symptom start date
  • Predicted end date.

You may want use the proforma. This will ensure colleagues are offered a test and will make sure that appropriate support is offered from occupational health regarding isolation periods and advice.

All employees in these divisions are required to report absences, or changes to absences, directly to their line manager. This includes sickness and COVID related absences such as self-isolation. Employees will not be required to contact the absence line that was set up at the start of the pandemic.

Secure Division employees (ward and rehabilitation staff from Ashworth Hospital, staff at Rowan View, Auden Unit and Rathbone Low Secure Unit) should call the Clinical Support Office on 0151 471 2422. Medical staff have a separate reporting system.

Medical colleagues have their own reporting system via the medical staffing manager.

These numbers should be used for:

  • carers leave (time off for dependents)
  • bereavement leave
  • self-isolation for COVID-19
  • any absence and to report returning to work so that the absence can be closed. 

The absence line operates from 8.00am to 9.00pm, seven days a week

  • You should also advise your line manager /or designated contact of your absence
  • When resuming from absence, you should contact the absence line. If still absent on day 7, please contact the absence line to provide an update
  • All absences will be recorded in ESR/Health Roster via the absence line, therefore line managers do not need to do this.

You will also be asked to provide a telephone/mobile number to make sure that we have up to date contact details. A new web form has been developed to simplify the process. All colleagues will be asked a standard set of questions and the information from this new process will aid a single place where all Trust absence will be recorded.

Occupational Health

Annual leave, international travel and quarantine

Government revised the rules and advice for residents and visitors entering England during the COVID-19 period on 17 May 2021 with the implementation of a traffic light system. Further information can be found on the Government website including the countries that fall into each traffic light category and the requirements for re-entry for each differ.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) continues to advise against all non-essential travel. This includes travel to countries on the red and amber list to prevent new variants of COVID-19 entering the UK.

From 17 May, the requirements for re-entering England are dependent on where individuals have been in the 10 days prior to travel. These must be followed regardless of whether individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In all cases, regardless of where individuals are travelling from and the category they fall in to, the following will be required:

  • proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to travel to England
  • completed passenger locator form.

It is a criminal offence to fail to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and/or a completed passenger locator form. Where proof of a negative test result is not provided, individuals may not be permitted to board transport for travel to England. A £500 fine can be issued at the UK border for any individuals failing to comply with these rules.

Exemptions

Currently, individuals travelling from green list countries or territories will not be required to quarantine on return to England. At this time, only nurses travelling from red list countries who are arriving to take up NHS employment qualify for a travel exemption which allows quarantine to take place in trust arranged accommodation as an alternative to a managed quarantine hotel.

This advice will remain under constant review and we should be mindful that any travel abroad may carry with it some risk, such as quarantine regulations changing in England, or in the visiting country, with little or no warning.

As a result of the latest Government guidance in May 2021 the following should be applied:

Annual leave requests

In line with the current annual leave policy, requests will consider the following before approval:

  • the impact of the request on maintaining service delivery
  • the need for colleagues who may have worked hard during the crisis to have time for rest and recuperation.

Colleague responsibilities

Any decision to travel abroad involves a level of risk which you must consider.

The implications of a potential 10 day quarantine in relation to any travel abroad to amber and red list countries must be considered. You must discuss this with your manager before you travel and before booking any new travel abroad (including where lists are currently in place as these may be subject to change at short notice).

Sympathetic consideration will be given in certain circumstances which could include:

  • Extenuating circumstances, such as a family funeral abroad
  • Pre-booked holidays which cannot be cancelled without incurring financial cost (ie. insurers will not reimburse cost) which were arranged before March 2020 when the first lockdown was announced.

When submitting a leave request you are reminded that:

  • If your annual leave request involves travelling abroad, Government advice is to avoid non-essential travel to a country not identified as a green listed country or territory
  • If you travel abroad, you will be fully aware of the quarantine requirements on re-entering England and that you should be doing so only if essential
  • Government and FCDO advice regarding the traffic light system and quarantine and if you find yourself in this position you should contact your manager as soon as practicable to inform them that you will need to quarantine for 10 days.

Trust position pre-17 May 2021

In 2020/21 Government advice was that we should not travel abroad unless it was essential. To acknowledge that colleagues had already booked, re-arranged or intended to book holidays abroad to support their health and wellbeing, the Trust allowed colleagues who had to quarantine on return from abroad to work from home if possible or take special leave depending on their role.

Options re pay and quarantine with effect from 17 May 2021

The confirmed decision is to use the following two points regarding dealing with quarantine on returning from abroad:

  1. Take annual leave, unpaid leave or accrued TOIL or a mixture of all three during the period of quarantine
  2. Work from home or if not possible, make up the 10 days quarantine period within a maximum of 3 months on return to work through working additional hours/shifts over normal contracted hours.

Note: Local records will need to be kept on how this period is being managed.

Exemptions

There may be unavoidable or extenuating circumstances to the above and these will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Declaration of gifts and donations

Please remember that staff should not approach anyone for donations, all donations or offers of support should be channelled through Ben.Towell@merseycare.nhs.uk

NHS England has guidance that requires all staff to make any declarations of interests (conflicts of interest) that arise.

If you have no interests to declare - you have not received a donation, gift, hospitality or have a loyalty interest (such as a relative working at the Trust or a job or other interest outside of Mersey Care), you have to make a nil declaration. If you have received a donation, gift, hospitality or have a loyalty interest please declare the interest on the Mersey Care My Declarations website. Your Mersey Care email address is your user name; there is a link on the sign in page to reset your password if you can’t remember it.

Please be aware that all interests should be declared within 28 days of them arising. If you have any questions or problems logging into the declaration system please email: declarations@merseycare.nhs.uk

Remember that staff should not approach anyone for donations, and any offers, if they cannot be politely refused, must be declared by staff themselves.

Driving tests are available to NHS staff

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, routine practical driving tests and theory tests were suspended in England, Scotland and Wales but these can now be booked through the normal process. If you need any help or advice, if you're stuck in a backlog please contact Amanda Clough on  amanda.clough@merseycare.nhs.uk who will help you with the process for the DVSA.

Enhanced safety, health and wellbeing review

Mersey Care has been supporting colleagues to undertake a risk assessment for vulnerable people, and / or an Enhanced Safety Assessment. To find out more follow this link.

Working at home guidance

Are you overwhelmed

Mandatory training

Since entering the second wave of COVID-19, the learning and development team has been working with subject matter experts and divisional leads to review and amend training plans to maintain compliance and to continue with training in line with Government guidance for COVID-19.

If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your manager and do not undertake any practices that you do not feel competent to perform. Any colleague who may have special requirements, or returning from long term sickness or maternity leave, who feel they may need face to face training please contact:

The Trust recognises the extreme pressures that staff are experiencing due to COVID-19. Senior management teams meet daily to review pressures across the system, constantly updating processes in order to sustain services to ensure staff are supported and patients are safe.

The majority of mandatory training can be completed online via e-learning and all staff, where possible, should be encouraged and supported to maintain their compliance as this remains a key Trust performance target. More detailed information is available in the online prospectus.

PACE Lite

This year’s PACE Lite appraisal system has been adapted to enable managers to have a streamlined one to one meaningful conversation. 

In addition, this year’s process includes the opportunity to complete an enhanced safety, health and wellbeing review.

One of the most important aspects of appraisal is the opportunity to have time for the conversation. The impact of COVID-19 has meant some teams are struggling to do this. To assist, the decision has been taken to extend the 2020/21 PACE window by a further six months. Colleagues have until 30 September 2021 to complete PACE Lite.

Don’t forget to update your PACE profile with new details by opening your profile and clicking ‘Edit PACE Profile’. If you have any further queries, please contact: paceandsupervision@merseycare.nhs.uk

Phone calls from Trust phones

Please remember that calls from Trust phones may sometimes show as ‘withheld number’. This includes calls from Occupational Health, HR or other teams who may be trying to contact you. If you are expecting a call, please answer the phone, or listen to your voicemail if you have a missed call.

Safe distancing

Please remind staff, service users, patients and visitors to maintain safe social distances. By continuing to maintain safe distancing between people, we can all help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 

If you’re in any doubt, please speak to your manager or if you have any questions contact: InfectionControl@merseycare.nhs.uk or call 0151 295 3036.

Guidance for those previously shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

This governant guidance is for people in England who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable in relation to COVID-19.

Supporting our most vulnerable people (risk assessment)

Guidance for the risk assessment can be found here. (this link takes you to SOPs and Guidance can be found under 'G')

FAQs on arrangements for professionals are available on the Liverpool City Council website, to help you understand the new arrangements and support patients. You can direct patients to their local authority website for more information.

Follow infection prevention and control measures in and out of work

Please remember to adhere to infection prevention control measures at all times. These are in place to protect patients, staff and your loved ones and include social distancing - Hands, Face, Space.

Some things to remember:

  • Consistently practice good hand hygiene and clean all high touch surfaces and items multiple times every day
  • Maintain two metre safe distancing in the workplace, when travelling to work (including avoiding car sharing) and follow public health guidance outside the workplace
  • Wear the right level of personal protective equipment (PPE) when in clinical settings, including use of surgical face masks in non-clinical settings.

Every action counts – because I care

This video is part of a set of resources produced by NHS England and Improvement titled ‘Every action counts’ supporting staff in infection prevention and control excellence.

Fans (electric)

Portable fans may gather dust and become contaminated with microorganisms. Bladed fans cannot be easily cleaned therefore the Trust does not support the use of these fans in any setting. Please read the SOP here. The NHS has produced guidance on how to cope in hot weather.

Flu

This year’s call is the most vital ever. The flu has a serious impact on the health of thousands of people every winter, and with the added risk of COVID-19, we need as many of our staff as possible to be fighting fit over the coming months. 

If you’ve not done so already, or not recorded that you’ve had your vaccine elsewhere, please do it now.

Hands, Face, Space

Keeping your environment clean and ventilating the workspace is extremely important in the fight against COVID-19. Opening windows to allow adequate air exchange has been proven to play a key role in reducing the risk of transmission. Regular, frequent cleaning of surfaces and items frequently touched (high touch points) with the appropriate cleaning agent is vitally important to break the chain of infection and reduce the spread.

A guide showing items and and areas more prone to spreading infections
For more information: Infection.ControlTeam@merseycare.nhs.uk

 

Influenza testing and support guide

The infection prevention and control team has produced a standard operating procedure to guide staff on how to manage patients who have had a negative COVID-19 test but are remaining symptomatic. Please follow the link to the SOP page for details: 

https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/clinical/standard-operating-procedures-sops

In these cases, the guidance asks for continued isolation and to repeat the COVID-19 test 48 hours apart from the initial test. We also ask staff to obtain an additional flu swab using a separate form if the patient has symptoms of flu as we are now entering flu season. A flu swab is only needed if patients remain symptomatic needing the second COVID-19 test.

These additional tests and assurances will support clinicians in determining alternative diagnosis. Please contact the infection prevention and control team on 0151 295 3036 for any further information.

 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

The North West continues to see increased rates of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in children. The following information and guidance has been shared by NHS North West:

  • Transmission can be reduced through standard infection control practices: such as respiratory hygiene, hand washing with soap and warm water, and cleaning of surfaces
  • Ideally, people with colds should avoid close contact with newborn babies, infants born prematurely (before 37 weeks), children under two born with heart or lung conditions, and those with weakened immune systems
  • Smoking around young children is also a risk factor for severe RSV infection
  • Community based support can remind parents/signpost to information and support.

Further information can be found via the following links:

Self testing swab guidance and translations

The Public Health Agency instructions for the COVID-19 self testing kit are available via this website: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-test-kit-instruction​

Our patient and service user information on the Trust website has been updated accordingly

Once you register you will receive an email from:

COVID-19 Lateral Flow Testing Stafftesting@merseycare.nhs.uk, providing you with full instructions including a short video.

Social distancing posters

Please display new posters one and two in office spaces, health centres and other settings to remind staff, service users and our patients to maintain safe social distancing measures. By continuing to maintain social distancing between people, we can all help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. If you are able to laminate before displaying, please do so.  If you have any further questions contact the Infection Prevention and Control Team: InfectionControl@merseycare.nhs.uk or call 0151 295 3036.

Staying safe, staying well

This important information is to help to keep you safe while isolating at home if you have coronavirus but have not been admitted to hospital.

Laundering of staff uniforms and scrubs (Standard Operating Procedure)

Not all areas will have changing facilities at work. Where this is the case staff can change at home but must not go to shops, pubs, restaurants etc. whilst in uniforms/scrubs.

 

Wear a clean uniform/set of scrubs each day

Areas with changing facilities

 

Areas with no changing facilities

Take uniform to work in a clean bag.

Put on a clean uniform at home.

Change into uniform at work putting regular clothes into bag.

At end of shift place used uniform into a bag for transport home and change back into clean regular clothes.

If items become visibly contaminated with bodily fluids whilst at work, first place into a soluble alginate bag - spare scrubs or uniforms should be available locally for such scenarios.

If soluble alginate bags are used this can be placed directly into the washing machine. A pillow case (from home, not hospital linen) could also be used to transport used items but should be emptied into the washing machine and washed with the uniform.

NB plastic bags should not be taken into secure sites where restrictions apply.

When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.

 

Wash separate from other household laundry items.

 

When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.

 

Wash separate from other household laundry items.

Wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Remove clean items from the washing machine and tumble dry if possible. Once dry, place clean items into a clean bag ready for use or transport.

All staff wearing uniform are reminded that they should be ‘bare below the elbow’, no rings (other than one plain band), bracelets, long, painted or false nails at all times. For full details see the Infection Prevention and Control Policy.

 

Donning and doffing

There is a short film to remind you of the correct process for donning and doffing your personal protective equipment (PPE).

Removal and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment

Donning of Personal Protective Equipment

eLearning training is available on ESR.

Ward isolation process

Due to the previous high numbers of circulating community COVID-19 cases and risks that have been identified associated with admissions into the Trust, the admissions process has been reviewed. This now means that all admissions will be isolated and swabbed on admission as per the previous process. Regardless of a negative result they will now require a further period of isolation and a second swab on day 5 to 7 of the admission. If this result is negative, isolation can be discontinued but they will receive a third and final swab on day 14. 

Your lateral flow test kits

NHS organisations will no longer receive supplies of these kits as a new service is now available for staff to order their own from GOV.UK. Staff must continue to report all results through: https://stafftesting.merseycare.nhs.uk/ or for Mid Mersey Division staff: https://nwbstafftesting.xmerseyhc.nhs.uk/. Read our frequently asked questions on YourSpace. 

Guidance and risk assessment for allowing staff to return to work

Please find a link to the latest Mersey Care guidance, and the risk assessment document, following guidance released by the Department of Health and Social Care today (16 August) which allows staff to avoid isolation, under strict conditions, following a risk assessment in exceptional circumstances.

Key points:

  • Staff must not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Staff must NOT be living directly (same household) with a positive contact
  • Staff must have a negative PCR test
  • Staff must be double vaccinated with at least 14 days post second vaccine
  • Staff must complete 10 days Lateral Flow Testing and report them on the portal and to their line manager:

Lateral flow testing after the vaccine

Lateral flow testing – twice weekly

All Trust clinical staff, and those with social contact with patients, working in inpatient areas can now revert to twice weekly testing and all swab boxes (including Mid Mersey Division) will be provided by the Trust from your usual contacts.

However, staff must not complete lateral flow testing if they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

If you test positive on a lateral flow test, it’s a legal requirement that you immediately report your result online. You should self-isolate and inform your line manager and occupational health on 0151 471 2451 or: Occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk (former North West Boroughs colleagues should contact 01925 664 010 or: OccHealth@merseycare.nhs.uk) so that you can be offered the right support. The teams are very busy but if you leave a message on the answerphone, they will return your call.

You should then arrange a PCR test (this is done at a testing centre) and you can do this online or call 119.

If you’re having difficulty recording results, please speak to the person who gave you your testing kits. 

Staff will be expected to test themselves and record all results by visiting https://stafftesting.merseycare.nhs.uk/

For Mid Mersey staff the link is : https://nwbstafftesting.xmerseyhc.nhs.uk/

If you do not have a box of tests they will be supplied on wards and you will be able to complete your lateral flow test before starting your shift.

Staff must not complete lateral flow testing if they have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

What to do if you test positive on a Lateral Flow Test

It is a legal requirement that you immediately report your result online. You should also inform your line manager and Occupational Health 0151 471 2451 or Occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk.

You should then arrange a PCR test (at a testing centre) you can do this online or call 119.

It’s really important that we all undertake testing to help prevent spreading COVID-19 whilst asymptomatic. If you have taken testing kits home, or if you’re testing when you arrive at work, you must register and report all positive and negative results. This can be done at work or at home (on a mobile phone if you aren’t in Trust premises) by using this link. For Mid Mersey it's https://nwbstafftesting.xmerseyhc.nhs.uk/

There is guidance that provides step by step easy to follow instructions as to how to take your test, and what to do with the result. If you are still unclear after reading this, please speak to your manager. 

For those staff with no clinical or social contact with patients, and not displaying symptoms, the Government encourages weekly testing at local authority run sites and you can find details of how to get free test kits. 

If you don’t have symptoms but test positive on a lateral flow device, you should self-isolate, phone Occupational Health and arrange a PCR test at a local testing site, you can do this online via: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119.

Results of the follow-up COVID-19 test (positive or negative) must also be reported to Occupational Health on 0151 471 2451 or: Occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk The team is very busy but if you leave a message on the answerphone, they will return your call.

If you’ve had the vaccine you still need to test as you are still able to contract COVID-19 and pass it on.

You need to call your line manager or absence reporting and returning line to report absence for: carer’s leave (time off for dependents), bereavement leave, self or household isolation, or any other sickness absence and when you return to work following absence so it can be recorded as ended.

Information on COVID-19 and what to do in all circumstances can be found on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you’re having difficulty recording results, please speak to the person who gave you your testing kits or see the graphic below. To add Lateral Flow Test recording to your mobile phone, type into your phone browser: https://stafftesting.merseycare.nhs.uk/

If you don’t have symptoms but test positive on a lateral flow device, you should self-isolate, phone the sickness absence line and arrange a PCR test at a local testing site, you can do this online via: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119.

Results of a follow-up COVID-19 test (positive or negative) must also be reported to Occupational Health on 0151 471 2451 or: Occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk The team is very busy but if you leave a message on the answerphone, they will return your call.

If you’ve had the vaccine you still need to test as you are still able to contract COVID-19 and pass it on.

Testing for all

As part of the COVID-19 testing programme, staff who are not displaying symptoms of the virus, and not testing in work, are encouraged to take up the opportunity to be tested. A list of questions and answers about asymptomatic testing are available here

If you receive a positive test result, in line with current process it is your responsibility to inform your line manager and occupational health.

Testing for professionals visiting care homes guidance

It is now a requirement from Public Health England North West that Trust staff undertaking clinical visits to care homes will need to provide evidence to the home of a negative lateral flow test.  Full guidance can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-in-adult-care-homes

 

Don’t drop your guard on PPE

The wearing of surgical face masks in non-clinical and clinical areas plays a significant role in reducing further transmission of COVID-19.

All staff, (unless working in a room entirely alone), must wear masks at ALL TIMES and in ALL AREAS.

This applies to everyone working at all Trust sites (such as visitors and contractors).

We should all still adhere to social distancing where possible.

Please complete thorough hand washing and frequently decontaminate surfaces.

Good ventilation of spaces is also important in reducing the risks.

Type 2 face masks are single use items, so you must ‘put on’ (don) and ‘take off’ (doff) each time you enter and leave a clinical space.

Stay vigilant, stay safe

You must wash your hands before and after putting on and removing face masks:

  • After you ‘take off' (doff), dispose of your mask in the appropriate bin
  • Face masks must be removed and disposed of as you leave a clinical area
  • Face masks must be used when entering a patient’s home.

 

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Know your PPE, wear your PPE

There is a short film to remind you of the correct process for donning and doffing.

eLearning training is available on ESR.

If you have any questions contact: InfectionControl@merseycare.nhs.uk or call 0151 295 3036.

Personal protective equipment and heat: risk of heat stress

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in warm or hot environments increases the risk of heat stress. This occurs when the body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Heat stress can cause heat exhaustion and lead to heat stroke if the person is unable to cool down.

Measures to control the temperature of clinical environments and enable staff to make behavioural adaptations to stay cool and well hydrated should be made. Staff may require more frequent breaks and the frequency of PPE changes may increase, with a resulting increase in demand.

 

Staff working in warm/hot conditions should follow the advice below:

  • Take regular breaks, find somewhere cool if you can
  • Make sure you are hydrated (checking your urine is an easy way of keeping an eye on your hydration levels – dark or strong smelling urine is a sign that you should drink more fluids)
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress and dehydration (thirst, dry mouth, dark or strong smelling urine, urinating infrequently or in small amounts, inability to concentrate, muscle cramps, fainting). Don’t wait until you start to feel unwell before you take a break.
  • Use a buddy system with your team to look out for the signs of heat stress (eg. confusion, looking pale or clammy, fast breathing) in each other
  • Between shifts, try to stay cool as this will give your body a chance to recover.

Disposal of masks and other PPE

Once used, face masks must be disposed of correctly in line with official guidance from NHSE and NHSi:

Clinical areas

Clinical staff should dispose of surgical face masks in the infectious waste stream (orange bag) if visibly contaminated with bodily fluids or into the offensive waste stream (black and yellow striped bag) if they are not visibly contaminated with bodily fluids.

Community staff

Community staff should continue to dispose of masks (and PPE) in the patient’s domestic waste, unless it is known to be infectious, then it should be placed in an orange bag for collection.

Offices and food prep areas that are COVID-19 secure

Where areas are COVID-19 secure, for example, offices and food preparation areas, masks can be discarded in the domestic waste stream if no longer required.

Patient facing areas

Masks worn by patients, visitors and non-clinical staff who have entered a clinical area should be discarded in the offensive waste stream (black and yellow striped bag) if no longer required. Bins for these should be located at the entrances and exits, where masks are given to those who do not have them.

FAQs on mask 12 June 2020

The link above includes some questions we’ve received from staff regarding masks.

A visual guide to what PPE you should wear in different environments

Professional and personal responsibility for the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE)

It’s been suggested that instructions regarding PPE aren’t being followed nationally in communal areas (except when eating or drinking) or when travelling in a car with other members of staff. Our staff have been remarkable in their commitment to wearing PPE and we must continue to do so.

Infection prevention and control continues to be vital to how we are handling the ongoing pandemic. We must take collective accountability to ensure that we take appropriate measures to ensure that we protect the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our patients, our colleagues and our families.

It is imperative that ALL STAFF, clinical and non-clinical, including office based (unless working entirely alone), must wear masks at ALL TIMES and in ALL AREAS.

Everyone working in hospitals and healthcare services must wear a face mask In ALL areas (including those designated COVID-19 secure).

In all areas, you must wear a type 2 surgical face mask or the appropriate level of PPE as outlined by the infection prevention and control team.

Type 2 face masks are single use items, so you must ‘put on’ (don) and ‘take off’ (doff) each time you enter and leave a clinical space in line with Trust guidance available here

You must undertake hand hygiene before and after putting on and removing face masks:

  • After you ‘take off' (doff), you must dispose of your mask in the appropriate bin
  • Face masks must be removed and disposed of as you leave a clinical area 
  • Face masks must be used when entering a patient’s home.

Once used, face masks must be disposed of correctly in line with official guidance from NHSE/I. Where areas are COVID-19 secure, for example, offices and food preparation areas, type 2 surgical face masks can be discarded in the domestic waste stream if no longer required.

Face masks must be worn appropriately

Where an individual is not wearing a mask correctly, or within a designated area, they should be appropriately challenged to identify their reason for non-compliance and offered support or assistance, if needed. If a clear disregard is acknowledged, reinforce the safety message regarding the need to protect themselves, their colleagues and patients. If necessary, escalate it to the individual’s line manager. For persistent non-compliance a DATIX report should be completed.

We cannot compromise on legal safety requirements of wearing the correct PPE, and wearing it correctly. Failure to do so puts our staff, patients, loved ones and the public at risk. As an organisation we have a legal responsibility under health and safety legislation to monitor any incidents of non-compliance with PPE.

As a reminder, a mask should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops.

When wearing a mask you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting it on
  • avoid wearing it on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the mask in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the mask if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • void taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession.

When removing a mask:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed.

Bare below the elbows

All staff in clinical areas must be bare below the elbows to ensure that hands can be washed effectively for 20 seconds. This is more important than ever to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It means that you must not wear: stone rings, watches, fit bits, bracelets, nail varnish or false nails whilst in a clinical area. Further detail is available in section 8.2 in the Trust  Infection Prevention and Control Policy

Mask fit testing update

You can contact the following fit testers who are providing testing across divisions - test takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Community staff fit testing sessions will be held at Liverpool Innovation Park every Thursday between 9am and 4pm. A test takes around 45 minutes to complete and can be booked here click here​. If you have any questions about booking a test online please ​email Trevor.Duggan@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Tested? Staff that have been fit mask tested

We are ‘fit mask’ testing staff. Will all team leaders/ward managers ensure that staff who have been tested are tagged in staff lists/off duties with ‘FT’ to enable them to be identified during out of hours and weekends.

Uniforms or scrubs

Laundering of staff uniforms and scrubs (Standard Operating Procedure)

Not all areas will have changing facilities at work. Where this is the case staff can change at home but must not go to shops, pubs, restaurants etc. whilst in uniforms/scrubs.

 

Wear a clean uniform/set of scrubs each day

Areas with changing facilities

 

Areas with no changing facilities

Take uniform to work in a clean bag.

Put on a clean uniform at home.

Change into uniform at work putting regular clothes into bag.

At end of shift place used uniform into a bag for transport home and change back into clean regular clothes.

If items become visibly contaminated with bodily fluids whilst at work, first place into a soluble alginate bag - spare scrubs or uniforms should be available locally for such scenarios.

 

If soluble alginate bags are used this can be placed directly into the washing machine. A pillow case (from home, not hospital linen) could also be used to transport used items but should be emptied into the washing machine and washed with the uniform.

 

N.B. plastic bags should not be taken into secure sites where restrictions apply.

When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.

 

Wash separate from other household laundry items.

 

When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.

 

Wash separate from other household laundry items.

Wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Remove clean items from the washing machine and tumble dry if possible. Once dry, place clean items into a clean bag ready for use or transport.

All staff wearing uniform are reminded that they should be ‘bare below the elbow’, no rings (other than one plain band), bracelets, long, painted or false nails at all times. For full details see the Infection Prevention and Control Policy.

 

Donning and doffing

There is a short film to remind you of the correct process for donning and doffing your personal protective equipment (PPE).

Removal and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment

Donning of Personal Protective Equipment

eLearning training is available on ESR.

 

Face mask risk assessment exemption

If an individual cannot wear a mask, this risk assessment should be completed. You may need to discuss it with your HR team member or the infection prevention and control team. Consideration should be given to the individual home working, where possible.

For all of the latest Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) click h​ere.​​​

The SOP library includes the last review date, document owner and document version to make sure that you’re accessing the most up to date document in the library.

COVID-19 vaccine

Clinics continue to run at our vaccination centre every Wednesday morning from 10.00am until 1.00pm at Maghull Health Park. If you’ve not yet had your first dose of Astra Zeneca (Oxford), and you’re over 40, or if you have patient contact (either clinical or social), or are clinically vulnerable, please email: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

If you don’t have an appointment for your second dose, or need to change it, or have any other questions, please email: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk Those needing a second dose are able to do so after 8 weeks of the first dose.

Please don’t assume that vaccinators will be able to administer your second dose at inpatient facilities as this is not planned.

BAME communities

There’s some good advice for BAME communities from a resident and senior leaders in the Cheshire and Merseyside Partnership here.

You can find more information about the position of BIMA here.

The risk of Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and the level of virus circulating in our local communities is still high. The pandemic has made it clear that people from black and Asian populations are more at risk of serious health complications if they catch the virus.

If you identify as belonging to a BAME group but have not been picked up from workforce systems and invited for the vaccine, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk.

Actor Adil Ray, OBE and others from the BAME community have come together to share an important message about the COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe, it is effective and if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your GP.

The Public Assessment Report contains all the scientific information about the trial and information on trial participants. You can read it in full here or read a summary of the report here

There is no evidence the vaccine will work differently in different ethnic groups.

Celebrity videos

Sir Lenny Henry urges black Britons to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Please find an updated link to a film clip, previously shared, on fertility: Miss Toli Onon talks about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility - YouTube

Care Homes update

Everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated under new law to protect residents - GOV.UK

New legislation means from October, subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16 week grace period, anyone working in a CQC registered care home in England, for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption. It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full or part time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.

Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers, beauticians and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.

For those staff yet to have a vaccine, the vaccination booking link, which must not be shared, and only used by Mersey Care staff members, is: https://merseycarenhsfoundationtrust.nhsbookings.com/v2/ If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your line manager who will be happy to help.

Please only use the online booking system to book a first vaccine dose which is AstraZeneca (Oxford). Second doses are booked at the vaccination centre when you have your first dose. To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, second doses have been accelerated by reducing the dosing interval from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. This follows advice from independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern. If you have a question or an issue with your second appointment, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

Family members

The Trust is only able to offer second appointments to Mersey Care staff family members who have had their first dose from us. They will have been given their second appointment when they attended for their first. If you have a question or an issue with a second appointment, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

Flu vaccine

Remember to allow seven days between having the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine and allow 28 days of being symptom free if you’ve had COVID-19 before having the vaccine. If you have any questions about the vaccine, in the first instance, please review the Q&As here.

Why it's important to get your COVID-19 vaccination?

Hear from former staff Dr Arun Chidambaram who’s produced a video in conjunction with NHS England.

Second dose vaccine

If you’ve not received an appointment for your second dose, or need to change it, or have any other questions, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Status 

As a Trust we must inform Department of Health of how many of our staff are vaccinated. If you haven’t completed this short form already, will you please take two minutes to do so by clicking the link, then the green ‘add new submission’ button and answer a few questions:

Click here to visit the site and record here.

This will also allow us to make sure that if you’ve not had a vaccine, you will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns that you may have, or, let us know whether you’ve been vaccinated outside of the Trust. The form must be filled in using a Trust PC/laptop/tablet.  

Travel expenses for COVID-19 vaccine

You can claim travel expenses to and from Trust sites when going to the vaccination site at Maghull for your COVID-19 vaccine. For those who will struggle to get to the vaccination centre at Maghull Health Park on public transport, the Trust is able to provide a taxi, ordered via the Trust account. The taxi must go directly to the vaccination centre and on return must go directly to the staff members place of work or home.

Vaccination Centre at Maghull Health Park

For any queries please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

  • If you have anti-coagulant therapy, will you please bring your INR to your appointment whether it’s your fist vaccine dose or second.

Maghull Health Park vaccination centre

If you would like the vaccine please book on using the link: https://merseycarenhsfoundationtrust.nhsbookings.com/v2/

Our vaccination centre staff are dealing with hundreds of emails to: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk and are happy to continue to do so. However, you must be patient and remember:

Quote:

Warfarin - request from the vaccination centre 

Anti-coagulant therapy - if you are prescribed Warfarin, will you please bring your most recent INR yellow sheet to your appointment, whether it’s your first vaccine dose or second, so that the vaccinator can check your result.

Vaccine concerns 

Please find helpful links with further information:

Blood clots

The MHRA statement.

The  AstraZeneca statement 

Fertility

  • Advice for pregnant women, women trying to become pregnant and those who are breast feeding can be found on the GOV.UK website here.
  • If you are concerned about the impact of the vaccine on fertility, please click here to see the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
  • For advice to people currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment please see advice from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Hewitt Fertility Centre here.
  • Two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital have put the following short video together to provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy. You can hear from Alice Bird, Consultant Obstetrician and Andrew Drakeley, Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre in a three minute video here.

Pregnancy