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 we’re now in a situation where we’re living with covid – this is the new normal. The Strategic Co-ordination Group and divisional tactical groups have been stood down.

All covid related information and guidance will be issued via Trust wide 'need to know' 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. 

Please continue to follow Trust guidance in relation to the prevention and spread of the virus

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: 

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

COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for everyone undertaking CQC regulated activities

Government has announced that individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England (all frontline NHS, private clinical settings and domiciliary care sector staff) will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID by 1 April 2022. Unvaccinated staff will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, to have received their second dose by the deadline. https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/vaccine-updates

Isolation guidance for fully vaccinated staff

There is a flow chart with Guidance for staff who have been a contact of a postive case.

Household contacts with a positive COVID-19 case should not come in to work. They should remain off work for ten days. Household contacts do not need to isolate at home but should:

  • limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain safe distancing
  • limit contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Take twice weekly LFT testing.

Staff should not be allowed into work whilst awaiting the result of your PCR test.

Staff Isolation Guidance and Risk Assessment

Non-household contacts should bok a PCR test and remain off work until they receive the result. Guidance for staff 

For Government guidance, please click here.

To avoid being notified (pinged) while you are in work, please make sure 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 follow the Flow chart: Guidance for staff

Staff isolation guidance and risk assessment.

Facecovering in healthcare settings

Home working tax relief

Find your nearest test centre

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. 

We recently conducted a survey on hybrid working for the staff whose base is one of the three current Trust headquarter buildings. We asked about your experience of home working during the Covid-19 pandemic and for your views on future long-term working arrangements. Visit YourSpace to see the results.

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.

A limited number of staff have been allowed to return to V7 building from 6 September 2021. One hundred staff will be able to use the building on a daily basis. This is in keeping with Government guidance for the NHS and also in keeping with our new approach to hybrid working (home and office). It will test its viability for long-term working.

The building has been set up to facilitate safe distancing. It is the responsibility of team managers to ensure that staff numbers, each day, do not exceed their allocated amount; however, you can trade with other teams, if possible, as needed. Building numbers will be routinely monitored. If you require an adjustment to these numbers please contact: Emma.Welsby@merseycare.nhs.uk

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 apologise for the inconvenience that this is causing but clinical areas had to be prioritised. 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.

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 make sure 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 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. 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 

If your call is urgent, and out of hours, please contact your division’s on call manager via the switchboard (0151 473 0303).

*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

Manager should report COVID related absence to: HomeSwabbing.Team@merseycare.nhs.uk and OccupationalHealth@merseycare.nhs.uk. Information to be included in this proforma.

All employees report directly to their line manager. This includes sickness and COVID related absences such as self-isolation. 

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. 

Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub

Colleague support

Support booklet

how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.

Domestic abuse - Ask for Ani

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

Find their contact numbers. Or email: freedomtospeak.guardian@merseycare.nhs.uk

Infection control - 0151 295 3036

Helplines for staff (in the news)

BBC Radio Merseyside interview (starts at 32.46 minutes to 45.52 minutes) the crisis resolution home treatment team and Denise Carey, operational manager for 24/7 urgent care mental health discuss mental ill health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interpretation and translation

We use Language Line for interpretation service for word for word interpretation. 

Telephone interpretation can be pre-booked, or used in an emergency to deal with an immediate communication difficulty. To support Attend Anywhere book remote Language Line interpreters to attend video virtual clinic appointments. The service is available 365 days per year covering over 120 languages. More information here.

Language Line can be used with Attend Anywhere

Booking an interpreter: online booking system here.  

For Attend Anywhere bookings use the access code: 415789. 

Should you have any access issues you can contact Language Line on 0845 310 9900, option 2.

A quick reference guide here on the staff hub.

Self help guides and apps

Support

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 and phone psychological support.png

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

Social isolation

Do you have COVID-19?

Stay safe while isolating at home if you have coronavirus. 

Wellbeing Hub

Visit the staff wellbeing hub

Working from home?

Download the working from home 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 and returning

Managers should report COVID related absence to: HomeSwabbing.Team@merseycare.nhs.uk and OccupationalHealth@merseycare.nhs.uk. Information to be included in this proforma.

All employees report directly to their line manager. This includes sickness and COVID related absences such as self-isolation. 

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.

Please report:

  • 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. 

Occupational Health

Annual leave, international travel and quarantine

Further information can be found on the Government website including the countries that fall into each category and the requirements.

Declaration of gifts and donations

Please remember that you 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 interests (or 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.

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.

All interests should be declared within 28 days. If you have any questions or problems logging into the declaration system please email: declarations@merseycare.nhs.uk

Any offers, if they cannot be politely refused, must be declared by staff who accepted them.

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.

Isolation guidance for fully vaccinated staff

There is a flow chart with Guidance for staff who have been a contact of a postive case.

Household contacts with a positive COVID-19 case should not come in to work. They should remain off work for ten days. Household contacts do not need to isolate at home but should:

  • limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain safe distancing
  • limit contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Take twice weekly LFT testing.

Staff should not be allowed into work whilst awaiting the result of your PCR test.

Staff Isolation Guidance and Risk Assessment

Non-household contacts should bok a PCR test and remain off work until they receive the result. Guidance for staff 

For Government guidance, please click here.

To avoid being notified (pinged) while you are in work, please make sure 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 follow the Flow chart: Guidance for staff. 

Staff isolation guidance and risk assessment.

Facecovering in healthcare settings

Find your nearest test centre

 

Car sharing

COVID Car Sharing SOP – This SOP has been updated to include students who will need to car share whilst on placement with teams across the Trust.

COVID Triage SOP – This SOP has been updated to reflect the new Infection Prevention and Control Guidance issued on 24 November 2021.

To access the latest Standard Operating Procedures, visit YourSpace.

 

Christmas Decorations

Click here to read our Have a happy COVID-safe Christmas guidlines.

Your infection prevention and control team doesn’t want to be the Ebenezer Scrooge of Christmas. We are part of one large Mersey Care family, so have some guidelines for celebrating safely with your work family.

Here are their guidelines for celebrating with your work family: Have a happy COVID-safe Christmas.

For help and advice contact infection control: 0151 295 3036 or for Mid Mersey: 01925 664 851. 

 

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.

Every action counts – because I care

Fans (electric)

The Trust does not support the use of bladed fans in any setting.

Please read the SOP here

guidance on how to cope in hot weather.

Flu

Flu vaccination appointments

We are now making available flu only vaccinations for those staff who may have had their COVID-19 booster elsewhere, or are not yet eligible for their booster (not reached 26 weeks after the second dose). These appointments are available for all Mersey Care staff with clinical contact, including social contact with patients or service users, as well as those staff who are over 40.

Please book your appointment via this link and choose ‘Flu only’ booking your appointment  

Hands, Face, Space

Keeping your environment clean and ventilating the workspace is extremely important in the fight against COVID-19. Opening windows to allow in fresh air 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:

Safe 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.

Self testing swab guidance and translations

 https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-test-kit-instruction​

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 (see Standard Operating Procedures

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.

Donning and doffing

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

The admissions process has been reviewed, 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. 

Find out more and how to order here: https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/reminder-about-your-lateral-flow-test-kits

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 (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

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/ 

Mid Mersey Division staff: https://nwbstafftesting.xmerseyhc.nhs.uk/.

Lateral flow testing – twice weekly

You must not complete lateral flow testing if you 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.

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/

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

It’s really important that we all undertake testing to help prevent spreading COVID-19 whilst asymptomatic. If you are testing at home, or 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, 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 or 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.

You need to call your line manager 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

To add Lateral Flow Test recording to your mobile phone, type into your phone browser: https://stafftesting.merseycare.nhs.uk/

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 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

 

Some of our COVID-19 processes and guidance are slightly different for Mid Mersey divison services, which you can view here

Face masks when outside

You no longer need to wear a face mask across all sites when you are outside.

This includes outside sports such as football but all staff MUST undertake lateral flow test before participation of close contact sports.

However, if staff and patients are in very close contact, for example when using hand cuffs, staff must continue to wear face masks.

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 compulsory for everyone undertaking CQC regulated activities

Government has announced that individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England (all frontline NHS, private clinical settings and domiciliary care sector staff) will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID by 1 April 2022. Unvaccinated staff will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, to have received their second dose by the deadline.

Read more here:https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/vaccine-updates

Roaming Clinics

https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/vaccine-updates

If you’ve not yet had your first dose please email: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

booking your appointment  

If you need to change an appointment, or have any other questions, please email: Vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk

 

Flu vaccination appointments

Please book your appointment via this link and choose ‘Flu only’ booking your appointment  

Do you have questions about the vaccines?

Read the NHS FAQs here: https://yourspace.merseycare.nhs.uk/vaccine-faqs

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.

Actor Adil Ray, OBE and others from the BAME community have come together to share an important message about the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

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

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 2021 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 visit: https://merseycarenhsfoundationtrust.nhsbookings.com/v2/ If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your line manager who will be happy to help.

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

COVID-19 vaccine

Remember you have to be 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.

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/

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

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 not eligible to be vaccinated at our clinic, please call 119 or go online to register for your vaccine appointment. You can also attend walk in, mobile or pop up vaccination clinics in your area. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, please read here.

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

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 line manager 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

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?

If you’re still not convinced, hear from Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

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.