COVID-19 vaccine available for all staff

Click here to access the vaccination booking site.  Note this link must not be shared, and only used by Mersey Care staff members.

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection and both doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus, but we do expect it to reduce this risk. So, it is still important to follow the guidance to protect those around you. 

COVID-19 is spread through droplets breathed out from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing. It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

The outbreak remains a changing situation and we’ll continue to update all staff with the latest advice via these pages, the yourCOVID-19 briefings and the staff Facebook group. Please read the updates and print out for those who don’t have regular access to a PC. We are working to national guidance and I’d encourage you to keep yourself and your teams updated with all of our announcements, news or changes to practice and service as this situation continues. 

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 their 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

Declarations

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 link here. 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.

Service changes 

Follow the web link for details or go to the latest news on yourSpace

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

We’ve got ‘Face timers’, WhatsApp family groups and Skype meetings – who’d even heard of Zoom before the pandemic?

Social media is great for keeping in touch, but it’s worth taking a breath before posting. We’ve all seen the celebrities who’ve had to make tearful apologies many years later for something posted in their youth or early career.

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

The Delta COVID-19 variant (first discovered in India) is spreading in EnglandSee where it’s spreading fastest and find out what you should do.

North West: Blackburn, Lancashire, Bolton, Manchester, Salford and Wigan see biggest increases

The total number of confirmed cases in the North West is 647,796 as of today. This is an increase of 2,262 on yesterday. There are currently 328 people in the region's hospitals who are being treated for COVID-19, including 63 on ventilation. A breakdown by area is shown below:

Blackburn with Darwen - 21,480 (Up from 21,370) +110

Blackpool - 9,861 (Up from 9,795) +66

Bolton - 31,887 (Up from 31,778) +109

Bury - 18,714 (Up from 18,612) +102

Cheshire East - 22,223 (Up from 22,182) +41

Cheshire West and Chester - 22,671 (Up from 22,611) +60

Cumbria - 28,662 (Up from 28,602) +60

Knowsley - 17,649 (Up from 17,618) +31

Lancashire - 105,855 (Up from 105,397) +458

Liverpool - 49,659 (Up from 49,543) +116

Manchester - 57,890 (Up from 57,634) +256

Oldham - 24,250 (Up from 24,187) +63

Rochdale - 22,726 (Up from 22,654) +72

Salford - 25,387 (Up from 25,255) +132

Sefton - 24,773 (Up from 24,720) +53

St Helens - 17,363 (Up from 17,336) +27

Stockport - 22,743 (Up from 22,651) +92

Tameside - 19,378 (Up from 19,315) +63

Trafford - 17,966 (Up from 17,885) +81

Warrington - 18,474 (Up from 18,409) +65

Wigan - 31,156 (Up from 31,023) +133

Wirral - 24,868 (Up from 24,814) +54

Data is provided by Public Health England which you can view here.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The new COVID-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person. To help stop the spread, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble. In the areas listed above, wherever possible, you should try to:

  • meet outside rather than inside, where possible
  • keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with
  • minimise travel in and out of affected areas, unless travelling for work.

You should also:

  • Use your lateral flow test twice per week and isolate if you are positive
  • Continue to work from home, if you can
  • Get vaccinated and encourage others to do so as well
  • Refer to local health advice for your area (linked above)

You should self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms or a positive test result for COVID-19. There is financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus

Click here for full government guidance.

The best way to protect against the virus is to continue following public health advice. Hands, face, space, fresh air, socialise outdoors, work from home if you can, get vaccinated and take up the offer of regular rapid and PCR testing.

If you’re told to get a test, if you have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, please make sure you get tested too. By law, if you test positive or are instructed by the Test and Trace programme, you must self-isolate. You should not go to work if you have tested positive and should not meet up with others during this time.

JCVI advise on COVID-19 variant

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has issued advice to Government on the use of COVID-19 vaccines to mitigate the impact of the B1.617.2 variant of concern. Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: "Due to the rapid rise in cases of the B1.617.2 variant of concern and notable transmission in parts of the country, the JCVI advises that every effort is made to promote vaccine uptake in those who remain unvaccinated in priority cohorts 1 to 9 – these people remain at highest risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19." 

The full list of variants of concerns and variants under investigation are published on GOV.UK

In England restrictions started to lift on 8 March, this will continue with step two of the Government’s four-step roadmap.

We are currently at step 3: 17 May

  • All of the accommodation sector will reopen. You should still minimise travel away from home
  • Most restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will not be permitted
  • Indoors, the rule of six or a larger group from up to two households will apply 
  • Indoor hospitality and entertainment venues will reopen, but they must provide table service
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions, including cinemas, museums and soft play will reopen 
  • All indoor adult group sports and exercise classes can resume 
  • Some larger performances and sporting events in indoor and outdoor venues can resume with capacity limits
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend most significant life events including weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes, christenings, and bar mitzvahs.

Work from home if you are able, and with your manager’s agreement

Government guidance remains the same in relation to working from home where you are able to. 

Download the working from home psychological wellbeing checklist. You might also find this questionnaire helpful. The tips in this booklet may be helpful - Together Apart - Resilience for Remote Workers.

Government four step roadmap paused in England

As announced on 15 June by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, there will be a four week pause at step 3 rather than moving into step 4 on 21 June. Step 3 restrictions will remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on what you can and cannot do. It is expected that England will move to step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case risks have reduced.

You can socialise indoors in a group of up to six people or two households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Pubs, theatres and other venues can open indoors. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can open for people on holiday. Read the guidance on what you can do.

The Delta COVID-19 variant (first discovered in India) is spreading in EnglandSee where it’s spreading fastest and find out what you should do.

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.

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. This includes if you have to work from home because of coronavirus. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home. For further information or to make a claim, follow the link.

Hands, Face, Space

Please follow the link to a two minute video produced by Government and share with colleagues, family and friends.

NHS app

People are able to check in to a venue by scanning a QR code. Our estates and facilities team have distributed QR posters that should be displayed in all sites.

It's important that you use the app at all times, including while at work, except if you:

  • store your phone in a locker while you're working or are involved in a leisure activity, like swimming
  • are already protected by a Perspex (or equivalent) screen
  • are a health and care worker and are wearing medical grade PPE, such as a surgical mask, in a clinical setting.

In most of these situations, you're already protected, so it is highly unlikely that you would catch the virus. If your phone is not with you, use the ‘pause’ function on the app so that the contact tracing part doesn’t work. Or, you could switch your phone off.

If you forget, you might get an alert because an infected person was near your phone when your phone wasn’t with you. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing.  Please find a link to FAQs.​

Follow the link to see six features with an explanation of what they do https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/

For detailed information in relation to the roadmap, click here.

NHS tests to check for coronavirus are available

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

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 weekly at a local council run site. 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 call the staff sickness line.

Twice Weekly Testing for all patient facing staff

Lateral flow tests are available within each of the divisions and will continue being rolled out to all patient facing staff. Testing takes only a couple of minutes with the result appearing within approximately 30 minutes.

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. A negative result from the previous seven days can be considered as sufficient evidence. As ever, testing is only one part of the approach to reduce risk and it is critical that visiting professionals don and doff PPE appropriately and follow the relevant infection control measures when visiting a care home including hand hygiene and distancing, in order to help keep care home residents and staff safe. Full guidance can be found here.

Absences

Please make sure any new, extended or closed absences, either Covid or non-Covid related, are reported to the Sickness Absence Line by contacting them on 0151 472 7555, it’s 0151 471 2422 for high secure wards and rehab, Scott Clinic/Rowan View and Rathbone wards, everyone else uses the central number. They are available 8am to 9pm, seven days a week.

This includes symptomatic and self-isolating staff - requests for testing will not be processed unless the absence is reported via this route. Then:

  • The swabbing team will contact the staff member if they are on the absence list received from the absence line
  • The swabbing team assess whether the staff member needs a home swab or can attend the Hunter Street site (for Merseyside staff only) as the home swabbing team has limited capacity.

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

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 in Local, Community and Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Divisions 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

Government guidance remains the same n terms of working from home. 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. The single most important action we can all take in continuing to fight coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Please follow Government guidance.

Working at home guidance

Absence reporting and returning line 0151 472 7555

You must report all sickness absences (Covid and non-Covid related) on the first day of absence by either the you or your line manager on the number above. This reporting process also applies to any extension to the projected absence date and final confirmation that the absence has ended. 

Exceptions for using the number above include: ward and rehabilitation staff at Ashworth Hospital, staff at Scott Clinic/Rowan View Reed Lodge/Auden Unit and Rathbone Low Secure Unit who should call the clinical support office on 0151 471 2422. Medical staff have an alternative reporting system.

Community Services Division only - absence reporting

As part of the phasing out of the current absence line which was put in place as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19, divisional employees will be reverting to pre-COVID absence reporting processes.

From 1 June 2021 all Community Services Division employees will be required to report absences or changes to absences directly to their line manager. This includes sickness and COVID-19 related absences such as self-isolation. Employees will not be required to contact the absence line.

All Community Services Division supervisors will be required to record all sickness and other COVID-19 related absence directly into ESR via ESR Supervisor Self Service - with the exception of Teams Live on Health Roster*.

(*Teams Live on Health Roster will record absence directly in the Health Roster System, Allocate. This transition will be supported and communicated by the Health Roster team).

A further communication regarding ESR Self Service will be issued to all supervisors with links to user guides, access to training and additional information. Annual leave reporting will not be affected and should continue to be requested via ESR Self Service or SVLs for shift allowance teams.

Please check who you’re phoning

Useful phone numbers are on the Trust website here so you can access them if you become unwell or unavailable whilst at home.

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 pack 

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.

Domestic abuse 

A code word in pharmacies offers a ‘lifeline’ to domestic abuse victims just ‘Ask for ANI’. The Ask for ANI 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

  Pat Prescott  0777 496 9085
  Mark Riding on 0788 100 2626 (works predominantly in community Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  Steven Morgan on 07818 522 043 (works predominantly from Monday afternoons to Thursday)

Or you can email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Infection control - 0151 295 3036

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

  Pat Prescott  0777 496 9085
  Mark Riding on 0788 100 2626 (works predominantly in community Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  Steven Morgan on 07818 522 043 (works predominantly from Monday afternoons to Thursday)

Or you can email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Staff swabbing - 0151 285 4484

For anything regarding staff swabbing, available 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

If a staff member is requesting a test but has not yet contacted the staff absence line, they will be advised to do so on 0151 472 7555. This will enable the Trust to have a full record of those who have isolated due to COVID-19 symptoms. The absence reporting team notifies the names of any staff who may potentially require testing to the staff testing team. stafftesting@merseycare.nhs.uk

0151 471 2451 occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk

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

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.

Q&As (last updated 1 April 2021)

Click on the document where the updated guidance risk assessment document for supporting our most vulnerable and potentially vulnerable colleagues (v20) has been included. 

HR question? 

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

Absence reporting and returning phone line 

Absence reporting – Community and Local Services Divisions

Community and Local Services Division employees have reverted to pre-COVID absence reporting processes from 1 June 2021.

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.

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 http://sharepoint.merseycare.nhs.uk/sites/hr/SitePages/COVID19%20Risk%20Assessment.aspx

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

In light of the escalating number of COVID-19 cases across the North West, which may be associated with the new variant strain, 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.

COVID-19 scenarios

The occupational health team has had many questions regarding when staff and their families need to isolate and when they need to have a test for COVID-19. If you need any clarification or advice contact: occupationalhealth@merseycare.nhs.uk or Infection.ControlTeam@merseycare.nhs.uk​

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.

Lateral flow testing after the vaccine

It is really important that, those who’ve been required to test, continue to test yourself even after having the vaccine. Although vaccinated people will have more protection from COVID-19, not enough is known about the vaccine’s impact on a person’s ability to transmit the virus. Everyone who has received the vaccine should also continue to follow all infection prevention and control measures. Together, this will help manage infections and help protect other staff, service users/patients, as well as your friends and family.

Lateral flow testing - recording results is a legal requirement

In line with the reduction in community transmission rates of COVID-19, as of 1 April 2021, Mersey Care colleagues working in inpatient areas should revert to baseline frequency lateral flow testing - this is twice weekly, instead of daily.

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.

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 where the sites are on your local authority’s website. If you leave your home to go to work or to go shopping you should be testing weekly.

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.

When you receive your PCR result, you must call the staff sickness line on 0151 472 7555 to provide confirmation of your result (whether positive or negative). Exceptions for this line include: ward and rehabilitation staff at Ashworth Hospital, staff at Rowan View, Auden Unit and Rathbone Low Secure Unit who should call the clinical support office on 0151 471 2422. Medical staff have an alternative reporting system.

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.

If someone you live with is displaying symptoms, everyone in your household should isolate and book a local test via: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or 119, you also need to report that you are isolating to the sickness line, even if you’re working at home. Do not attend a walk-in testing centre if you have symptoms.

You need to call your 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/

Those colleagues who continue to struggle recording in Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Division can ask Anne Church to do it for them. Anne will need: your name, date of birth, date of first test and the outcome (whether positive or negative) and then the results of any subsequent tests. Also provide the LOT number of the box issued to you, and the c number from the plastic device (if you don’t have the c number it can be recorded as 0000).  

If you have a box of tests and are no longer willing or able to use them (for example if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and have to wait 90 days), please return the box by contacting the person who gave you your testing kits.

As part of the Government’s COVID-19 testing programme, staff with no clinical or social contact with patients, and not displaying symptoms, are also encouraged to take up the opportunity to be tested weekly at their local authority run site and you can find details of where the sites are on your local authority’s website. If you leave your home to go to work or to go shopping you should be testing weekly.

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.

When you receive your PCR result, you must call the staff sickness line on 0151 472 7555 to provide confirmation of your result (whether positive or negative). Exceptions for this line include: ward and rehabilitation staff at Ashworth Hospital, staff at Rowan View, Auden Unit and Rathbone Low Secure Unit who should call the clinical support office on 0151 471 2422. Medical staff have an alternative reporting system.

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.

If someone you live with is displaying symptoms, everyone in your household should isolate and book a local test via: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or you can call 119, you also need to report that you are isolating to the sickness line, even if you’re working at home. Do not attend a walk-in testing centre if you have symptoms.

You need to call your 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

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.

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. 

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.

Continue to wear masks

Public Health England and Government set out guidance that all NHS staff need to wear surgical face masks unless in an office on their own (COVID-secure area). All staff, clinical or non-clinical, working in a clinical or non-clinical area, must wear a surgical face mask when at work, and when moving between different areas. This applies to staff working in all of our Trust sites and everyone working on our Trust sites, for example, contractors.

All staff are reminded that where practicable, we should all adhere to social distancing. Staff should also always complete thorough hand hygiene and frequently decontaminate surfaces. Good ventilation of spaces is also important in reducing the risks of COVID-19.

The wearing of surgical face masks by all staff in non-clinical and clinical areas of our settings will play a significant role in reducing further transmission of COVID-19.

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

Huge thanks to all staff who continue to comply with PPE arrangements, behaving in accordance with our organisational values and the Trust’s work on civility and respect. You must continue to fully embed this into your routine for the safety and wellbeing of yourself and others.

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.

A guide showing information on how to wear a mask safely

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

Flu and COVID-19 vaccine

There must be a time delay between people having their flu jab and having the COVID-19 vaccine. There’s a national expectation of 100 percent of NHS staff having the flu jab

We’d like every member of staff to have both the flu and COVID vaccines. As you know, the flu has a serious impact on the health of thousands of people every winter, and with COVID-19 too, we need as many of our staff as possible to be fit and well over the coming months. So, don’t delay, if you’ve not had your flu vaccine already, please book now or use that page to tell us if you had your jab away from work.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) four step process

Please watch the following short film to remind yourself of the correct four step process for donning and doffing PPE.

Basic PPE video

Extended PPE for Aerosol Generating Procedures including full length gowns and eye protection:

(PPE) elearning training available on ESR 

The Infection Prevention and Control team has updated PPE eLearning training available for colleagues within the Trust as follows

Mask fit testing update

We have been notified that the 3M 8833 and 1873 masks in use across the Trust are no longer available via the supply chain. In response, the Trust has identified new masks for staff to use. Staff in Community and Local Divisions who use the above masks will need to be retested for one of the following three masks:

  • Mexim 2016V
  • 3M Aura 9330+ (if you pass fit testing for this mask, you will automatically pass on 3M 1863+ without the need for further fit testing)
  • 3M 1863+ (if you pass fit testing for this mask, you will automatically pass on 3M Aura 9330+ without the need for further fit testing).

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.

 

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

We’re seeing an increase locally in COVID-19 cases and there remain just under 15% of our staff unvaccinated. With evidence of success of the vaccine ever increasing, those staff who have not had the vaccine should consider their health, that of their family and friends and our service users, many of whom are vulnerable. You could be asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus. Our activity within services, and in the population generally, has increased due to lowering of COVID-19 restrictions.

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. If you have a question or an issue with your second appointment, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

BAME communities

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

If you are yet to have your jab, please be confident that it’s safe, it’s the right thing to do and it will very likely save lives.

The British Islamic Medical Association is recommending that the Muslim community take the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when offered. There is no content of animal origin (ie. no gelatine) in the vaccination. The vaccination has been developed to help to protect vulnerable and specific groups from the considerable risk of harm which COVID-19 can cause. It is likely that greater harm will come from the infection than the effects of the vaccine.

However, it is important to remember we need to remain vigilant and continue to wear a mask, observe safe distancing and practice good hand hygiene as advised. You can find more information about the position of BIMA here.

All vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child and have to be passed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for approval. Once a vaccine is being used in the UK, it continues to be monitored by the MHRA and Public Health England to ensure it is safe and effective.

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.

Muslim community

The British Islamic Medical Association is recommending that the Muslim community take the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when offered.

There is no content of animal origin (ie. no gelatine) in the vaccination. The vaccination has been developed to help to protect vulnerable and specific groups from the considerable risk of harm which COVID-19 can cause. It is likely that greater harm will come from the infection than the effects of the vaccine. However, it is important to remember we need to remain vigilant and continue to wear a mask, observe safe distancing and practice good hand hygiene as advised. You can find more information about the position of BIMA here.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) COVID-19 guidance for mosques

Click here for more information on the guidance and the prime minister’s roadmap.

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

Family members

The Trust is only able to offer appointments to Mersey Care staff family members who meet the criteria. You must use your family member’s NHS number when booking and this link will help you find it: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/find-nhs-number/ Please ask that they bring ID to their appointment.

Underlying health conditions (info for family members)

There is good evidence that certain underlying health conditions increase the risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. The main risk groups identified are set out below:

  • chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
  • chronic heart disease (and vascular disease)
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease including epilepsy
  • Down’s syndrome
  • severe and profound learning disability
  • diabetes
  • solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers
  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
  • asplenia and splenic dysfunction
  • morbid obesity
  • severe mental illness.

Other groups at higher risk, including those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, will also be offered vaccination alongside these groups.

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.

National text messaging service for appointments

The NHS COVID-19 national booking service is sending text messages to some people to invite them to book a vaccine appointment at a vaccine centre or pharmacy led site. If you have already booked an appointment or would prefer to wait to be invited by a local GP, you do not need to do anything if you receive the text. You can trust your text message is genuine if it comes from ‘NHSvaccine’, includes a link to the NHS.uk website and gives you the option of phoning 119.

Always remember that:

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips. 

NHS number

Here’s a link to a really good tool to help you find your NHS Number, which you’ll need to book your vaccination appointment. Fill in your name and date of birth and get either a text or email with your NHS number.

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

NHS reminds people to get their second COVID-19 jab

The first dose of the vaccine gives good protection from COVID-19 after around three or four weeks but the second dose is needed for longer lasting protection. Although the majority return for their second dose, a number are outstanding, leaving individuals without the full benefits of vaccination.

Health leaders are calling on people to keep their second dose appointment - it’s not too late if you’ve gone more than 12 weeks since the first. Until recently, people had been invited to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine dose between 11 and 12 weeks after the first. However, Government has announced plans to reduce this to around eight weeks for over 50s and others at higher risk from COVID-19.

Any member of staff who has gone over 12 weeks (84 days) since their first dose and has yet to receive their second dose should contact: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

You will have the best protection after two doses. Please remember to bring your appointment card to your second appointment. If you have had Pfizer for your first vaccine, you will receive the same for your second dose. However, given the availability of vaccines going forward, all new vaccinations will be done using the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine.

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

Please note that the vaccination centre is no longer open at weekends. Opening hours are shown below:

  • Monday 10.00am to 5.00pm
  • Tuesday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 8.30am to 8.00pm
  • Thursday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm

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 

Announcement regarding AstraZeneca vaccine (Oxford) and under 30s (8 April 2021)

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance states: There are some adults under 30 without underlying health conditions who were prioritised due to an increased risk of exposure and/or to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to vulnerable individuals. This includes health and social care workers, unpaid carers and household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. Acting on a precautionary basis, if these persons are still unvaccinated, it is preferable for them to be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, if available.  

For recipients in cohorts 1 to 9 aged under 30 who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and are scheduled to receive a first dose of AstraZeneca on or after 9 April, the following actions will need to be taken:

  • For those who have a first dose appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy on or after 9 April, booked through the National Booking Service, these appointments will be cancelled centrally. For those booked via the Mersey Care booking system, these appointments will be cancelled by the vaccination centre. Individuals will be asked to contact their GP team to discuss the benefit and risks to them of receiving the AstraZeneca or another vaccine
  • If, following a conversation with a clinician, an individual chooses to go ahead with the AstraZeneca vaccination, all vaccination sites will make this option available
  • If an individual chooses to have another vaccine, the NHS will put appropriate arrangements in place.

JCVI guidance also states: All those who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should continue to be offered a second dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective of age. Therefore, for recipients in cohorts 1 to 9 who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca and are due to receive their second dose, no further action is required and these appointments should continue.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is clear that the only individuals who should not have a second dose of AstraZeneca are those set out here: people with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, acquired or hereditary thrombophilia, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or antiphospholipid syndrome should only be considered when the potential benefit outweighs any potential risks. People who have experienced major venous and arterial thrombosis occurring with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine should not receive a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.

JCVI has weighed the relative balance of benefits and risks and advise that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of adverse events for individuals 30 years of age and over, and those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease. Therefore, for recipients in cohorts 1 to 9 aged 30 years and above who are scheduled to receive a first dose of AstraZeneca, vaccination should continue.

Please find helpful links with further information:

MHRA response to the precautionary suspensions of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

Background:

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine adverse reactions, see our weekly report

From: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Published: 14 March 2021

Last updated: 16 March 2021, see all updates

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

Dr Alice Bird, consultant obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, talks about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G9wTksLu8U

If you're pregnant, or think you might be, you can have the COVID-19 vaccine. You'll be invited when your age group is offered it or earlier if you have a health condition or reason that means you're eligible. It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination online using the national booking system. During the booking process, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant. This is to make sure you’re offered an appointment for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Suspected adverse drug reactions and how to report them

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) request that all suspected side effects to COVID-19 vaccines are reported via the dedicated coronavirus Yellow Card site. The purpose of the Yellow Card Scheme is to provide early warning that the safety profile of a product requires further investigation. By reporting side effects, everyone can help provide more information on the safety of the vaccines. All healthcare professionals and members of the public (patients or carers) can submit a report.

Suspected side effects should be reported using one of the following routes:

Your GP must be informed of any adverse reaction to a vaccine so it can be recorded in your medical records. Similarly, if reporting sickness absence due to side effects, please let your sickness absence line know.

What to report - all suspected vaccine induced side effects, even minor effects (sore arm, headache, feeling unwell). The vaccines are new and it is especially important that they are monitored closely and any suspected incidents are quickly reported.

When to report - at any point following administration of the vaccine. This can be immediately after the vaccine is administered or at any time in the following days or weeks. There is no time limit. Side effects can be reported after the first dose, after the second dose or after both doses if necessary.

When reporting side effects to vaccines or medicines, patients and healthcare professionals are encouraged to provide as much information as possible, the MHRA states that the following information should be provided:

  • Information on the person who has experienced the side effect (essential)
  • The name of the vaccine suspected to have caused the side effect (essential). Include the vaccine brand and batch/lot number if available
  • A description of the side effect (essential)
  • Any other medicines being taken around the same time, including non-prescription and herbal remedies (if available, if not please do not let this prevent you submitting a report)
  • Any other health condition that the person who experienced the side effect may have (if available, if not please do not let this prevent you submitting a report).

For further information in relation to this, please contact: Debbie.bowden@merseycare.nhs.uk

Protect yourself and those around you

Those colleagues who’ve been offered the vaccination and aren’t taking up the offer must consider that:

  • COVID-19 kills and the latest variant is affecting populations differently to the wave one variant in that indications are that it is much more virulent
  • The new variant is much more transmissible
  • Trials have shown the vaccine is effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms
  • Regular lateral flow testing is a very effective way of checking your infection status
  • It’s your responsibility, as an employee of the Trust, to do everything possible to keep patients and colleagues safe when you’re at work.

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.

Vegan/vegetarian friendly?

There is no material of foetal or animal origin, including eggs, in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website. For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19

Hesitant?

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported. If you’re still not convinced, hear from Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

If you would like the vaccine: https://merseycarenhsfoundationtrust.nhsbookings.com/v2/ 

For those finding it difficult to get to Maghull Health Park, several local trusts have offered to vaccinate our staff. These include: East Lancashire Hospitals and Liverpool Heart and Chest.

If colleagues in Whalley haven’t received the link already, please contact vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk who will send your name to the Royal Blackburn and Royal Blackburn will send you a link to make an appointment. For those preferring Liverpool Heart and Chest, please contact vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk and they will send you a link to make an appointment.

In order for the programme to continue being delivered as efficiently as possible at Maghull, can you please:

  • arrive on time for your appointment - if you’re too early it would be appreciated if you wait in your car in order to allow safe distancing  
  • if attending by car, the postcode is L31 1FN, follow signs to the vaccination centre and the one-way system on the site
  • wear a mask
  • provide your NHS number (if you don’t know it, download the NHS app to get your number).
  • cancel appointments if you have coronavirus symptoms, or for any other reason, by email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk.

Please find a link to information on the COVID-19 vaccine in easy read for sharing.

Scam messages

Lots of people are getting in touch with screenshots of a new scam emails around vaccines. Anything that asks for bank details is a scam. Do not click these links. Please forward the email to: report@phishing.gov.uk

Guardian article

Please find a link to an article on our vaccination roll out in Liverpool for patients with learning disabilities by our learning disability facilitators, ICTs and central primary care network. “Less buzz, a gentler pace: the vaccine clinic for learning disabled people”.  

Mythbusting

1. A Facebook post shared thousands of times has claimed that “the new vaccine for COVID-19... will literally alter your DNA. It will wrap itself into your system. You will essentially become a genetically modified human being".

mRNA vaccines work by introducing a molecule into the body which instructs cells to build a disease-specific antigen. The antigen is then recognised by the immune system which produces antibodies to fight the real thing. It doesn’t change the body’s DNA or “wrap itself into your system”. mRNA vaccines are generally viewed positively as they are cheap, and don’t involve using part of a virus, like some traditional vaccines.

2. Facebook posts have claimed that Government is planning to change the law to allow untested and unlicensed vaccines to be given to the public - which is untrue. Any vaccine given to the public has to go through several stages of testing. Tom Phillips, Editor of FullFact, said: "Vaccines are some of the most scrutinised forms of medical interventions. The data says that they are safe and effective. They have side effects, but all medicines have side effects and the benefit of using them far outweighs the small risks that there are."

3. A Facebook post claiming to show how a “mandatory coronavirus vaccine” would be enforced has been shared hundreds of times. As it stands, no vaccines are mandatory in the UK. It will be up to Government ministers to decide if a COVID-19 vaccine would become a legal requirement. Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said that he would like and encourage people to get a vaccine when it is available but has not said he would make it mandatory.

4. False news reports have been circulating online claiming that Dr Elisa Granato, one of the first participants in the UK's human trials of a possible vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has died shortly after being injected with the vaccine. But Dr Granato is not dead and the reports are fake. She took to Twitter in a bid to stop the misinformation from being shared.

5. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data. Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility …There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility. Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems.” Follow the link for more.