Update on mandatory vaccination for homecare workers in England

On Tuesday, the Government announced that that the need for vaccination as a condition of deployment for homecare workers in England will be reversed. This change will come into force on 15th March 2022 and you can read more on the outcomes of the consultation here.

Welcoming the news, Homecare Association’s CEO Dr Jane Townson said:

“We are very pleased the Government is reversing the VCOD regulations and therefore preventing further care workers from leaving the workforce.

“Since vaccination as a condition of deployment was first announced in September, we have lost nearly 20,000 homecare workers who provide vital care and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. This decision will prevent a further reduction in the workforce, at a time when recruitment and retention has never been more challenging.

“We have always strongly supported vaccination against COVID-19, as it helps protect the recipient from severe illness and death. However, we believe persuasion is more effective and proportionate than compulsion, in encouraging uptake amongst the remaining workers with a genuine fear about vaccination. We also need to balance the mitigated risk of infection with the very real risk of even more older and disabled people going without care due to workforce shortages.’’

A big birthday for Margaret

Lynne Hewitt, one of our Regional Managers in Scotland, has asked us to share this fantastic photo of one of their service users – Margaret. Margaret recently celebrated her 100th birthday at the Highland Hotel with family and friends.

Congratulations Margaret, what a wonderful picture. We all hope you had a lovely day.


A commendation at Constance Care Blantyre

Wendy McCall, our Regional Director for the North, Northern Ireland and Scotland, has passed us some fantastic feedback received this past week. Sent to the Blantyre branch of Constance Care, the son of a service user took the time to express his appreciation for the support that three members of the team – Sharon, Elaine and Maggie – provide to his mother, writing:

“These individuals execute the utmost professionalism in the care management of my mother but also whilst under the additional stress and constraints of this dreaded Covid virus that has plagued us for two years and counting. I cannot praise them highly enough in all aspects but what is most notable for me is the sensitivity and sincerity they extend to my mother.

“Whilst your focus is rightly in delivering care to my mother, I do not think they are aware of the relief that the quality and diligence of care given has on me – to know that I fully trust my mother being in their hands. It is such a great help to me personally, as I attempt to wrestle with the understanding of this monster disease, dementia. Being a distance away and not having the best of health either, knowing these angels are there for my mother, it is such a great assistance and relief for me, more than they know.

“I cannot thank you and the team enough and are most grateful to you all.”

We want to share Wendy’s appreciation and express a huge ‘thank you’ to the three of you for the support you’ve been providing to this family through what has clearly been a very challenging time. Your hard work and dedication is making all the difference for this service user and her family, and it’s clear just how much they appreciate everything you are doing.

Guardian Homecare Ormskirk acts quickly to support people in Ukraine 

Jackie Lowe, Branch Manager for Guardian Homecare, has made us aware of an amazing crisis appeal happening in Ormskirk to support people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. Working with their local school, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College, the branch has started a collection for essential items including baby supplies, toiletries and sleeping bags.

If you’re in the area and want to help with a donation, the team are operating a drop-off point from 9:00 – 5:00, Monday to Friday. All donations will go straight to partner organisations on the ground in Ukraine as well as those working in surrounding countries to support refugees.

Jackie told us, “The Ormskirk branch staff are great champions and ambassadors for working both in partnership and supporting local charities and initiatives in support of their communities. Not only do the staff at Guardian Homecare do a fantastic job supporting and caring for the residents of West Lancashire, but also take time to go that extra mile to help all who are in need.”

The team are certainly living up to their reputation for supporting good causes Jackie, and it’s amazing to see such a quick response from the staff in Ormskirk.

Ae your team supporting people affected by the crisis in Ukraine? Let us know at communications@candchealthcare.co.uk and we’ll help spread the word.

‘Forget Me Knot’ Atlantic row for dementia support

As some of you may already know, the son of Nicky Tucker from our Bids and Contracts team –Stefan – as well as his friends Johnnie and Dirk are rowing the Atlantic for Dementia UK, a cause close to all of our hearts. This adventure has been 18 months in the planning, with training, counselling, insurances, sponsorships and much, much more to organise.

They left Portugal late January and are rowing an epic 3800 miles to French Guiana.

The trio have covered 2,140 miles so far and are aiming to complete their row in the next 30 days. Yes, that’s over 60 days at sea, in an 8-metre row boat. It’s this madness that has captured the heart of BBC Radio 5 live listeners. Following an initial interview back in January the channel received lots of requests by listeners to be kept updated, and they now have a weekly slot and have been dubbed the mad rowers.

They have endured some gruelling conditions, not least getting to Portugal in the first place, with the onset of the Omnicom variant and Europe shutting their borders to the UK. This meant Johnnie and Stef had to leave the UK on December the 20th, missing Christmas with their families and, as the boat could not be left unattended, sleeping in the back of their car for 10 nights.

They hit a massive storm just a few days into their row and Stef suffered a nasty injury to his hip. Thank goodness Dirk is a Doctor. They have continued to be hit by storms but are at last getting some decent weather now and making good headway.

So far the friends have raised nearly £65,000 for Dementia UK and you can find out more about their adventures on their Go Fund Me page.

Congratulations to Laura in our complex care division

Huge congratulations to Laura James on a well-deserved promotion. Our Service Development Manager, Kristine Pidgeon, has asked us to share her appreciation for Laura, who has recently been promoted to a role within the business development team.

Laura joined the Complete Care Amegreen team in December, in the role of Business Development Administrator. After quickly proving her skills in our fast-pace complex care division, Laura was promoted to Service Development Executive in February. In her new role, Laura will oversee the bids and tenders process – writing, reviews, portals and contracts – as well as marketing, events and social media.

Kristine described Laura’s new position as “a huge support to the whole business development team”, and we’re all certain you’ll continue to make a big impact across the division. Well done Laura.

Do you have a recent promotion in your team that you’d like to share across the group? Let us know at communications@candchealthcare.co.uk and we’ll include your news in a future round up email.

Brilliance in Bethnal Green

Dhiman Das, Branch Manager for Mihomecare in Tower Hamlets has asked us to share some feedback received from a local social worker. The social worker contacted the Bethnal Green Branch to express her appreciation for a member of the care team, Shila Begum.

Dhiman, explained, “Shila has a client who has got mental health concerns resulting in hoarding of lots of unwanted items from the street. When we started the package, her house was so cluttered that it was identified as health hazard. So, Shila was assigned to slowly declutter the house, to remove all the hazards and to make the house safe for the client.

“The house was so cluttered that the client had no place to sleep because the bed couldn’t be seen in the bedroom. Shila took the challenge to clean the house step by step and encouraged the client not to bring in any unwanted items from outside – resulting in a clean, comfortable habitat.

“Following a visit last weekend, social worker was so impressed and mentioned that Shila had done a tremendous job clearing the house and making it safe for the client so she almost didn’t recognise the place.”

A massive ‘well done’ Shila. It sounds like you’ve certainly gone above and beyond to give this client a home that they can live in both comfortably and safely. The appreciation from this social worker was definitely well-justified given the difference you’d made to this client’s life.

Sharing success for Sue in Preston

Ross McCrann, Branch Manager for Guardian Homecare in Preston, has asked to share a compliment he received about a member of the Preston team – Sue Brome. Sue works as part of the local crisis and reablement services.

During their end of service review, three separate service users have complimented Sue’s practice over the past week. Specifically, they have shared that Sue “goes the extra mile”, that she “is a breath of fresh air” and that she is “a credit to the team”.

Ross told us that “the senior passed this information on during her supervision, and it is lovely that another staff member has gone out of their way to ensure that positive feedback is passed along. And it is even more heart-warming to receive such feedback about Sue, who works on some of our most challenging and pressured services.”

Ross continued, “Sue is obviously making a difference and a positive impact on the people that she is supporting, and we send her a massive thank you to us all from the branch at Preston.”

Thank you for sharing Ross and it seems that you’ve made a big impression on these service users Sue. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to everyone you support.

Making the difference at Moore’s House

Joanne Brannen has sent us some glowing feedback about the staff at the Moore’s house Extra Care scheme in Salford. Lisa Sullivan, a local social worker, was so impressed by the Comfort Call team’s support for the mother of one of her clients that she took the time to get in touch.

Lisa contacted Joanne to say, “Just wanted to come back to you as I spoke to daughter of a service user. She was very complimentary about staff at Moore’s House and I just wanted to pass this on.

“It isn’t the first time I have had positive feedback about Moore’s House when gathering feedback for safeguarding or my own case who I visited last week. Thought it was important to take five minutes just to write you an email.”

A huge thank you to all of the hard-working staff at Moore’s House. It’s fantastic to see how word of your amazing care and support is spreading through the local community.

Improving spinal injury support in complex care

Never ones to rest on their laurels, our complex care clinical team have recently been sharpening their skills in supporting clients with spinal injury. Provided by their partners at the Spinal Injury Association, the team took part in the Good Clinical Practice in Spinal Cord Injury training day.

Meanwhile, the complex care division have also assembled a team to take part in this year’s Spinal Circuit 2022, which takes place in March. In this challenging event, participants can choose to run, walk, push or cycle to help the spinal injury community complete a virtual circuit covering all eleven spinal units in the UK.

Coming in at a mighty total distance of 1799km, every penny raised from the challenge will go to Back Up, a national charity which inspires people affected by spinal cord injury to get the most out of life and rebuild their independence.

Best of luck with the challenge everyone, we look forward to sharing your progress in the coming weeks.

Praise for the team at Raynes Park

Magdalena Trepczynska, Regional Manager – London, has asked us to share compliment received about the Raynes Park London Care branch. Following a fall and a stay in hospital, one of their service users sadly had to be transferred to a nursing home.

With the service user no longer having flat or the need for homecare support, her niece reached out to express the family’s gratitude for the team’s support over the years, writing, “I would just like to put on record how wonderful the carers were who looked after my aunt. The two principal carers were Marion and Sharon. They were exceptionally caring, and ensured that my aunt was looked after and safe. Please pass on my sincere thanks to them.

“In addition, I would like to comment on the efficiency of the staff who answered the telephone. They were always polite and knew who I was, as well as my aunt. My husband and I live a two hour drive away. Knowing that my aunt was cared for so well give us both peace of mind, for which we are eternally grateful.”

It’s amazing to see the whole team’s work recognised by this family – from the staff who were a welcome reassuring voice on the phone to the diligent care team. Amazing work everyone at Raynes Park, and it certainly seems like well-deserved prise from this family.

Sarah Kwofie shares expert advice on vaccine uptake

The Homecare Association has recently developed a series of videos to support home care providers to encourage COVID-19 vaccine take-up among care staff. And, very our Sarah Kwofie is one of the experts featured!

In this video, Sarah – along with Joanna McCall from Home Instead – talks through top tips on increasing vaccination rates in the homecare workforce.

You can see more of what Sarah and other colleagues in the sector had to say here.

Let’s talk about physical health: Staying active helps wellbeing

Staying active boosts wellbeing at any age. If you remain physically and mentally active, you’ll not only have more fun, but you’ll also promote your overall health and wellbeing.

Research shows that staying active can help you to, live a longer and healthier life, stay mentally sharp and feel more optimistic.

You don’t have to run marathons to benefit from staying active. You can promote your wellbeing by seeking out physical and mental activities that you find rewarding. You might prefer yoga or hiking, joining a book club or choir, going to a football match with friends, or visiting a park with grandchildren.

Different activities offer different benefits. You’ll get the most benefits if you take part in a variety of healthy, enjoyable, and meaningful activities.

Try to find activities that will:

  • Strengthen your ties to family and friends. Maintain strong connections by getting together with friends/family regularly, either face-to-face or via video/phone chats. Plan holidays or reunions, share family stories.
  • Help to get 30 minutes of vigorous exercise on all or most days of the week. To stay fit and socially connected take a brisk walk with a friend/colleague, attend exercise classes, join a sports team – a scheduled commitment with others will hold you accountable.
  • Stimulate your mind. Enrol on a class, join a book club, play in a band, try a puzzle.
  • Get you involved with a group or cause to find a sense of purpose. Consider mentoring, volunteering, joining a community group.
  • Help towards reading  for at least 20 or 30 minutes a day. Early research suggests staying mentally sharp can help to delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Don’t forget there is support available to all our staff through LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme.

By visiting the LifeWorks app and/or website you can access articles and videos to help improve your physical health and well-being, including ‘Making Fitness Fun’, ‘Staying Fit and Healthy as You Get Older’ and the ‘Health and Wellbeing Toolkit’.

You can access the service here – if you are unsure of your login detail or have any questions about LifeWorks please contact the team

Please also remember, if you would like to talk to trained counsellors, call the confidential assistance programme 24/7 on 0800 169 1920.


COVID precautions in our branches and offices

Last week the Prime Minister announced a further relaxation of rules and guidance for the general public and for employers in England covering the wearing of face coverings in public places, home working and self-isolation. These changes have prompted a review of our own approach for “COVID-Secure working’’, and we have made some adjustments to our policies relating to staff working in our office locations across the UK.

Despite promising data, there is still risk to us from relaxing our own COVID restrictions in the workplace. We have to bear in mind we are operating in a sector in which most of us are only a transmission or two away from someone who is still very vulnerable to the virus.

In view the above, as of 24th January anyone working in and visiting offices must wear a face covering where they are:

  • unable to maintain social distance of at least 2 metres from others,
  • or, where they are eating or drinking during a break.

As of next week (31st January), we will relax the “home first” approach to home working, so that people that usually work in the office but that have been working at home may return to the office to work. Note that our policies on home and hybrid working remain unchanged.

Also as of 31st January non-essential visits to office locations from shared services such as Business Improvement, Quality and Health and Safety may also resume. If you are a visitor from one of these teams, please remember to observe the same safety measures as those you are visiting.

We will keep the situation under weekly review and update you as and when we decide that any further changes can be made.

Lucky escape in an office fire

Last Tuesday a wall heater at one of our branch locations caught fire because of a fault and, for reasons we don’t yet know, the fire alarm failed to go off. Thankfully staff at the branch noticed smoke, evacuated the building and called the fire brigade. The fire was contained and no one was injured.

We’re glad to report that everyone is safe and well. However, the situation was a reminder to us all that we never know when a fire could occur, but you can make sure you are ready if it does. Please make sure you are familiar with any arrangements at your workplace and speak to your manager if you are not sure.

Let’s Talk About Physical Health: Physical assessment, advice and support

Taking care of your physical health is good not only for your body, but also for your work, life, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Don’t forget there is support available to all our staff through LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme.

By visiting the LifeWorks app and/or website you can access articles and videos to help improve your physical health and well-being.

The LifeWorks ‘Health and Wellbeing Toolkit’ offers ideas on how to adopt and maintain healthy habits and boost energy levels in your daily life. Areas covered include:

  • Making fitness fun
  • How to be active without joining a gym
  • Quick tips for starting and sticking with a weight-loss plan
  • Quick tips for starting and sticking with an exercise programme
  • Walking for exercise

Why not start by taking the Total Wellbeing Physical Assessment?

  • Answer a series of questions about aspects of your current lifestyle to see how well you are doing – it only takes a few minutes.
  • Relevant content is suggested based on your answers (so be honest), to help you make even the smallest changes to improve your health.
  • It’s also completely confidential!
  • Click the ‘Assessments’ tab under the ‘Wellbeing’ tab and click ‘Total Wellbeing Assessment Physical’ to get started.

You can access the service here – if you are unsure of your login detail or have any questions about LifeWorks please contact the team.

Please also remember, if you would like to talk to trained counsellors, call the confidential assistance programme 24/7 on 0800 169 1920.

Police protect our clients from scams in London

Maria Gerardo has shared a reassuring story from the Pullen Day Centre in London. Following their Christmas celebrations a few weeks ago, the centre’s clients were paid a visit from their local police force to share advice on keeping their details safe from scammers.

The police spoke to our clients about scams and gave practical advice on how to identify and avoid scams. As well as handing out informative leaflets, they also gave out alarms for our clients too.

Do you have any tips on spotting scams that might be useful to share with our teams across the group to protect service users? Send any suggestions to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk and we’ll include them in a future Weekly Roundup email.

New Care Minister visits London Care

Yesterday, our London Care branch in Rotherhithe welcomed the new Care Minister Gillian Keegan MP on a visit organised by Homecare Association CEO Jane Townson.

The Minister met members of the care worker team at the branch to hear first-hand about the challenges they face in delivering care in Southwark. Gillian Keegan MP explained the Government’s plans to tackle the social care crisis following its recent funding announcement.

Director of Policy and Communications Max Wurr said, “We are delighted that the Minister chose to visit one of our companies within just a few days of taking office and were encouraged by her willingness to listen and by her positive approach. We will await this autumn’s social care White Paper with interest to see more detail about how the new funding will reach the front line and support our wonderful and dedicated workforce.”

You can read more about the visit on the Homecare Association website. Huge thanks go to the branch manager Olu Fademi and Regional Director Sarah Kwofie for their help in organising the visit.

Homecare Association rebrands and relaunches

Our professional association, The Homecare Association (formerly the UKHCA), has rebranded and relaunched its fantastic new website. You’re all invited to pay a visit and bookmark the page here.

The Homecare Association is the UK’s membership body for homecare providers, ensuring that homecare is valued so that all of us can live well at home and flourish within our communities.

The association has been a real ally and voice for our sector for many years and especially over the past eighteen months and we think they’ve done an amazing job with the new image – do let us know your thoughts so we can pass them on.

Changes to international travel rules in England

From 4am on 4th October the rules for international travel to England will change. The current traffic light system will reduce to a single reduced red list of countries, and simplified travel measures for arrivals.

The rules for travel from countries not on the red list will depend on each traveller’s vaccination status. However, PCR tests will not be needed for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England.

You can read the full rules on the red, green and amber lists here.

Have your say on mandatory vaccinations for care staff

Don’t forget that the Government needs your input on plans for staff in all health and care settings in England to be required to have COVID-19 and flu vaccines. The intention is to protect vulnerable people and follows the recent decision to make vaccinations mandatory for staff in care homes.

As we shared with you last week, we will be making a corporate response to the consultation. However, individual employees and members of the public are welcome to make their own personal responses here.

Kellie and Neil tackle three peaks in three weeks

Complete Care Amegreen’s Kellie and Neil completed their #3PEAKSIN3WEEKS challenge in support of the Spinal Injuries Association over the weekend by conquering Ben Nevis! We’re sure we speak for everyone when we say how proud we are of them both. They have tackled some obstacles along the way but they didn’t let that stop them and they can now say they have reached the summit of 

the three highest peaks in the UK.

In Kellie’s own words “I have been working with Spinal Cord Injured clients for 10 years now and I feel extremely privileged to be marking my 10 year anniversary with this challenge of a lifetime. I am honoured to be sharing this milestone with a charity and organisation so close to my heart.”

Having now completed the three peaks, Kellie has said that Ben Nevis was by far the most challenging and she says “the one thing that remained on my mind and got me to the summit of the 1,345 metre mountain, was remembering the reason I am doing this, for Martin, his team and the SIA.’”

Please join us in congratulating Kellie and Neil, and lets do all that we can to mark this fantastic achievement by reaching their fundraising target of £2000! Small or large, every little helps, please follow this link to donate and show your support.

Welcome to the North Devon team our new Care Manager Sian Jones!

Over the past 20 years Sian has acquired a vast amount of knowledge and experience within the care sector which is partly why we believe she is perfect for HomeLife Carers.

Sian hosts an approachable and supportive attitude towards her care staff with an ‘open door’ policy and a desire to see all staff progress both personally and professionally.

In addition to her role as Care Manager, Sian also visits our service users in the community alongside our dedicated team of care workers across North Devon.

Sian’s aim is to offer a more personal service, and with a smaller, close-nit team in place we believe this will have a positive effect on both our care staff and service users alike.

These are exciting and promising times ahead for HomeLife Carers and look forward to you joining us on this journey.


Webinar – inspiring quality in social care

Skills for Care is holding a webinar to celebrate quality in social care in England, looking at:

  • What is quality in social care?
  • Living quality: sharing experiences and tips on quality social care from the perspectives of local government commissioners, providers, and people with lived experience.
  • Future quality: what will change in how we approach quality over the next 2 to 3 years and what will the potential impact be?

The event, which is part of the Quality Matters initiative and has been developed by a group of national social care and health organisations led by NICE and Skills for Care, will explore people’s experiences and perspectives about what quality means in adult social care, both now in pandemic management and recovery planning, and what quality social care means in the future.

The webinar is suitable for anyone working in frontline adult social care management with an interest in improving quality of service delivery. It takes place on 14th October 2021 at 1.30pm and you can register here.

Natasha’s marathon for mental health

Natasha Punter from the Business Support Team returned to the office recently after successfully completing the Brighton Marathon in aid of CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

Natasha’s reasons for tackling a challenge in aid of mental health are incredibly personal, she told us, “My very dear friend of 22 years took her own life last year after her mental health deteriorated quite rapidly during lockdown. She was young, so full of life and the very LAST person I thought would walk in front of a train.”

“In the month after this I saw a film on the BBC about a young man whose mental health was adversely affected during lockdown last year, and he took his own life leaving his fiancé and young son, he was just 27. The pandemic affected mental health far more than we think and CALM are a charity trying to help families and anyone struggling mentally with thoughts of suicide. CALM supported his family through the aftermath but said they could not even fund their helpline past 5pm, which really hit home how charities were also affected last year, and I felt I had to fundraise for them.”

“I’d never even thought about running a marathon before but thought why not – it was a good way to raise funds and take on a personal challenge. And I raised £770 in the end!”

Such an impactful story Natasha and congratulations on smashing your first marathon. It’s not too late to support Natasha’s amazing cause either, you can find out more and donate on her Just Giving page.

Helen and Gloria save the day in Swansea

We were recently contacted by a member of the public to tell about the heroics two members of the Abacare team in Swansea, Gloria and Helen. After he was involved in a traffic accident with a lady who had blacked out, Mr Goodwin wanted to express his appreciation for Gloria and Helen’s clear thinking in a crisis.

Mr Goodwin told us, “Gloria and Helen were traveling behind the lady’s car and were quick to respond to the incident. They both took control of the situation making sure I was fine, but then moved straight onto the lady trapped in hers. Once we managed to get the door open they turned into two heroes. They comforted the lady and kept her calm, all whilst this was going on dealing with the passing public.

“Once the situation was in hand Gloria left the incident advising that she had a client to attend to, and Helen would stay on until the ambulance arrived.

“These two ladies Not only took charge of a serious incident but also had the professionalism to think about their appointments and patients, no doubt needing just as much care. I’m not sure what sort of recognition your company have but these two ladies made a difference today and they very much need recognising for it.”

We couldn’t agree more, such an inspiring response by two amazing members of the Abacare team. Their manager, Helen Tennant, let us know that Mr Goodwin even dropped by the branch later with bottles of Champaign for his two heroes.

Government publishes plan for COVID response this autumn and winter


The Government has published its COVID Response – Autumn and Winter Plan for 2021 (here), a five-point plan to address a rise in COVID-19 and flu cases in England this winter.

The plan sets out a programme of booster COVID-19 jabs for those who were in the first phase for vaccination and whose second jab was more than six months ago. This starts on 20th September and includes all adults aged 50 years or over, as well as frontline health and social care workers – including our care teams.

The recommended booster is a single dose of the Pfizer jab or half-dose of the Moderna one. People can even get the booster at the same time as their flu jab, which will be especially important this winter.

The Winter Plan confirms PCR and LFD testing will remain free and that legal requirements to self-isolate will continue. The Plan also advises that compulsory face masks for the public and vaccine passports also remain a possibility.

Fifteen years of support from brilliant Bela

The Quality team have asked us to extend their thanks to Bela Thakrar who, this week, marks her fantastic fifteenth anniversary as part of the City & County family.

After joining London Care way back on the 18th September 2006 as a care support worker, Bela’s skills and passion immediately shone-out as she supported the community around the Northwood, Eastcote and Ruislip area.

Upon moving to the Willow House Extra Care scheme in 2015, Bela also started helping with risk assessments and care planning. Bela’s skills meant that she was soon offered the role of team leader at the scheme, before taking the opportunity to start a new service – Newcroft House – in 2017. This gave Bela further in-depth knowledge and experience of running and establishing the extra care services, which Bela was able to expand on at the nearby Willow House scheme too.

It was whilst at Willow house that Bela’s commitment and keen eye for detail were recognised with the offer of a new role, that of Clinical and Support Manager, which Bela now enjoys with the Quality team.

A huge thank you from all of us at City & County for your commitment over the years Bela. We all look forward to working alongside you for a long time to come.

Consultation on mandatory vaccination of the home care workforce in England

The Government is seeking views on plans for staff in all health and care settings in England – including home care – to be required to have COVID-19 vaccines. This is to protect vulnerable people and  follows the recent decision to make vaccinations mandatory for staff in care homes.

It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could deliver health and care services. The consultation will also seek views on whether flu vaccines should be a requirement for health and care workers.

As you will know from our regular communications, City & County strongly supports the vaccination of health and care staff, and we are pleased that the majority of our staff have obtained their vaccinations. However, we are concerned that making vaccinations mandatory could seriously impact staff capacity and the continuity of the vital care services we provide.

We will be making these points in a corporate response to the consultation. However, you are also welcome to make your own personal responses here.

New guidance materials for flu vaccination

As our teams across the UK continue to manage the impact of COVID-19, let’s not to forget how important a simple flu jab is to ensuring the safety of our staff and those we care for.

Flu vaccination for social care staff directly working with people clinically vulnerable to flu is free and strongly encouraged. Public Health England (PHE) have developed guidance to support staff to understand the importance of getting the flu vaccine this season.

There are materials for staff in different care settings, covering who is eligible, how to get a vaccination and where you can get one from. The guidance also answers some common questions about the vaccine – for example, did you know that you cannot catch flu from the flu jab because there are no live viruses in the vaccine?

You can find out more and download the materials here.

Encouraging words in Tameside

Finally, one of our Careline Homecare branch managers, Vicki Kinder, shared some inspiring feedback she’d received from the Tameside commissioning team. Victoria Heyes, Commissioning and Contracts Officer for Tameside Metropolitan Borough, contacted Vicki to say:

“I feel things seem to have got harder all round all of a sudden. I know this might seem an empty gesture, but I want you to know I couldn’t be more proud to work with you. Hold your head up high, because you are amazing and doing a fantastic job.”

Such amazing feedback Vicki and thank you for sharing. It’s so rewarding to see just how much commissioners appreciate the hard work that our teams are doing every day.

What the new changes in COVID restrictions mean for us

A high number of our service users and a significant proportion of our staff are in higher risk groups in relation to the impact of COVID infection. While the general restrictions for the public may be relaxing, our legal and ethical duties to protect you and our service users do not disappear.

With the virus again spreading at speed, self-isolation rules still in place, and a general shortage of new staff, we cannot afford to have high levels of absence as we go into the summer – the continuity of services depends on you and your colleagues keeping well and at work.

In view of the above, we have taken the difficult decision that there will be very little change at this stage in terms of how we ensure COVID safety at work: 

PPE and infection control in care delivery

There are no changes planned in the government guidance on infection control and the use of PPE in care services and no changes to our policies at this time. Care workers and other front-line staff must continue to:

–          Practice regular handwashing and use face masks, gloves and aprons whilst delivering care;

–          Wear masks when sharing vehicles travelling between service users’ homes;

–          Undertake routine lateral flow and PCR testing (both of which remain free to care staff) as directed by management;

–          Notify their manager of their vaccine status;

–          Wear a mask or face covering when they visit the office.

PPE in live-in care

There is a slight change on the guidance on PPE in live-in care services as Public Health England        has updated its guidance on PPE for homecare in England to include a new section on live-in care (here).

Managers who are delivering live-in care should read the whole document, but a key point is that the guidance specifies that care workers living with a service user for long periods will be considered part of the household and as such will not need to wear PPE whilst doing domestic duties unless anyone in the household is known to have COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms.

PPE must still be worn for personal care, however, and live-in care workers are subject to the same rules on self-isolation as everyone else in the event that they develop symptoms or test positive for the virus.

COVID-Secure practices in offices

Managers must review their COVID-Secure office risk assessment (seeking assistance from hse@candchealthcare.co.uk as required) to ensure that they remain up to date and fit for purpose. Staff in offices must continue to:

–          Practice regular handwashing and cleaning regimes;

–          Maintain social distancing – (social distancing in training rooms may now be reduced to “1m+” providing trainees are wearing a face covering and other control measures, such as fully open windows are in place);

–          Wear a face covering when sharing a workspace with others;

–          Observe all other risk control measures, such as ventilation.

  • Managers must continue to keep collecting and submitting their COVID-19 data, both internally and externally as appropriate, and including information on vaccine uptake. However, please note that managers in support services (i.e. locations other than branches and Extra Care sites) are not required to maintain vaccination data on their staff.
  • All staff must continue to observe the rules on self-isolation if they have COVID-19 symptoms, test positive, or are otherwise directed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. (This requirement is set to change in mid-August for those that are double-vaccinated).

We echo the words of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in relation to individual responsibility. We can impose policies and rules at work, but we cannot control what you do in your own time. However, we would remind you that if you work in a role that means you will be coming into contact with people who may be unvaccinated or otherwise particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, as most of you do, you have a duty as a citizen to act responsibly to protect others. We urge you, in every aspect of your life, to:

  • Be sensible and risk-aware;
  • Get fully vaccinated and take advantage of regular free testing;
  • Avoid situations and places where large numbers of people are gathering without precautions, especially indoors, and consider continuing to wear a face covering in such spaces and on public transport;
  • Respect the fact that many people are still frightened about the prospects of catching the virus.

As ever, we will keep all the above under review and let you know if and when policies change.

Travel restrictions and quarantine – a reminder

From 4am on 19th July, the government is dropping its recommendation against travel to amber list countries. Arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS-administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days to allow for the vaccine to become effective), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine.

Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to travel carriers in advance of travel. Pre-departure testing, and day 2 (PCR) testing measures are to remain. Children under the age of 18 will be exempt from quarantine on returning to England from amber countries.

We urge everyone considering overseas travel at present to carefully consider the risks and to plan accordingly, and to be reminded of our policy on self- isolation following travel see below.

Rules on self-isolation following travel

Operations and Central Support Teams
If you travel to a country where you are required to self-isolate upon return and you are able to work from home, you may do so for the required period of quarantine. However, if you test positive for COVID-19 during this period of isolation and you are unable to work, then our SSP policy will apply.

If you are required to self-isolate upon return and you are unable to carry out your role from home, then your period of isolation should be taken as annual leave, or unpaid leave. However, if you test positive for COVID-19 during this period of isolation and you are unable to work, then our SSP policy will apply.

Care workers
Care workers required to self-isolate upon return should take annual leave, or unpaid leave for the required period of self-isolation. However, if they test positive for COVID-19 during this period of isolation and they are unable to work, then our SSP policy will apply.

Welcome to our new Director of Complex Care, Jonathan Byrd

This week we welcome Jonathan Byrd to the City & County family. Jonathan will be leading the team at our recently formed complex care operating division.

Aligning our complex care businesses to better support our customers and frontline services – as well as set us up for future growth – has meant looking at the structure of the support functions across all of our brands and identifying changes that will make the most of our shared experience and skills. We’re thrilled that Jonathan will be on board to oversee these improvements as Director of Complex Care.

Jonathan’s last role was with Ramsay Healthcare UK where, as Group Projects Director, he led on major strategic business transformation projects including acquisitions and corporate reputational risk. With over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, Jonathan’s knowledge of our sector will be vital in the shaping of the Complex Care Division. Welcome Jonathan!

Podcast part two – CQC strategy 2021

Last week, we provided you with a link to Anthony Collins Solicitors’ podcast on the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new strategy for how it regulates health and social care in England.

You can now listen to part two here.

The first part is also still available here

Contract Wins

We’ve been awarded a platform agreement for Homecare, Respite and Sitting services as Custom Care – Cannock, as part of the Staffordshire County Council contract.

Thank you to Nicky Tucker and Ellie Cross, and everyone involved in the bid for their work securing it.

We’ve also been successful with the same platform agreement for Homecare with HSG – Stoke on Trent with Staffordshire County Council. Thanks to everyone involved for their great work on this bid, with special mentions to Helen Dale, David Percox and Cat Starr for their time and effort.

Congratulations Paul!

Paul Kershaw, our North West region Training Officer, has accepted an offer from the Greater Manchester Police Inspector and Mayor Andy Burnham to be part of the newly formed Independent Community Scrutiny Panel Committee (ICSP.)

This voluntary role will scrutinise Greater Manchester Police’s stop and search processes and powers with the Committee’s findings feeding into the Force’s Equality and Diversity policy. Well done Paul!

Wonderful Wembley photos

Sadly for England fans, it didn’t come home, but our teams still made the most of England’s appearance in the final of the Euros.

One of our Regional Managers, Juliana Inegbese, let us know about how the service users at Bristol Court in Hounslow enjoyed the match. Juliana told us that they all had a fabulous time – they certainly look like they are enjoying themselves.

Karen Stevenson, our Accounts Administrator, also told us about her her weekend in Wembley.

Karen and her son Ben were lucky enough to get tickets for the Final last Sunday and they decided to make a weekend of it. Karen, who is a steward at Derby County Football Club, was taken aback by the positive atmosphere. Karen explains, ‘….for all the bad publicity for various reasons, there was plenty of good and beautiful, amazing people on and off the pitch.’

A reminder on travel restrictions and quarantine

Following further updates from the government on travel restrictions and quarantine, please remember our policy on self-isolation upon returning to the UK.

Any staff in operations and central support teams who travel to a country where you are required to self-isolate upon return, if you are able to work from home you may do so for the required period of quarantine. However, if you test positive for COVID-19 during this period of isolation and you are unable to work, then our SSP policy will apply.

If you are required to self-isolate upon return and you are unable to carry out your role from home, then your period of isolation should be taken as annual leave, or unpaid leave. However, if you test positive for COVID-19 during this period of isolation and you are unable to work, then our SSP policy will apply.

We urge everyone considering overseas travel at present to carefully consider the risks and to plan accordingly.

Time is running out to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme

We’ve recently sent our reminders on our weekly communications regarding the applying for the EU Settlement Scheme.  

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and if you haven’t already done so already, then please don’t forget to apply for the scheme. You’ll need to make an application to continue living in the UK and the deadline date is 30 June 2021, which isn’t long.

Please click on this link to apply as soon as you can. Applications are free of charge.

Once you’ve received your response with settled or pre-settled status, please provide your share code to the HR department. The main contact for this is Rochelle.Jackson@candchealthcare.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you with your share codes.

Getting out and about for Dementia Action Week

Maria Gerardo, Day Centre Coordinator at the Pullen Day Centre, has sent us some fabulous pictures of the centre’s activities with service users during Dementia Action Week.

The London Care team had originally planned for a garden tea party to bring their service users together, but sadly the British weather had other ideas. So, instead, the team went out into to visit their clients and the community through the week.

The first picture is of our service User Norman, who was talking and reminiscing about Pimlico – which is where the day centre is based. Norman and his care worker, Bisi, went through a book with all the different places around Pimlico, comparing how it looked then compared to now. Norman and Bisi also shared a sensory activity where you have to smell and touch an item and guess what it is.

Next we have Tina, who took our lovely client Rosemary out for a stroll. They visited a number of parks around Pimlico and discussed how much they have changed since Rosemary has lived there.

Finally, Marlene took Ms Joly around Dolphin square where they visited the shops inside the building. After their walk, they even sang some of Ms Joly’s favourite songs to help her reminisce.

Thanks for sharing Maria, it’s great to see our clients being able to get out and about as COVID-19 restrictions ease. We hope they had a great time visiting old memories.

Welcome to our new branch and scheme managers

There are some new faces that you’ll be getting to know across the branches and schemes at City & County. We’d like to offer a warm welcome to our new managers, who you’ll get to work with over the coming months.

Across our Extra Care schemes, we’ve recently been joined by Louise Hogan who covers Jackson Gardens and Bailey Court in Knowsley, and Edward Amissah at Bristol Court. We’ve also had a new arrival, Louise Witwit, who will be managing multiple schemes across the Liverpool area – Links View, Meadow Court, Millachip Court and Latham Court.

At our homecare branches, we’d also like to welcome Sussana Ansah in Crayford, Vicki Kinder in Tameside, Mel Bartley in Nottingham and Stuart Archer in Plymouth to the City & County family. We look forward to getting to know you all.

A Model Branch milestone

This Monday we reached a huge milestone for the Model Branch programme, with our final homecare site being transferred from CareFree rostering system to the Model Branch. This takes us to an impressive 112 sites now live on the platform.

Liam Arnold, Head of System Implementation, asked us to pass on his appreciation for everyone’s hard work in getting to this stage, writing:

“I cannot thank you all enough for the hard work and engagement throughout the last three years to get us to this big milestone. The pride and passion we see each branch bring to the project to ensure a safe smooth transfer blows my mind at each go-live… so thank you!

“We could not have done any of this without you and your teams so please pass on my thanks. The journey isn’t over, we still have more sites to go and even more exciting digital transformation to come. The fun has only just started!

“You all are a true inspiration for the business, to manage business as usual as well as a huge digital transformation programme is testament to you all – and equally putting up with me and my squad at times.”

A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed in getting us to this landmark point in the roll-out of Model Branch.

Men’s Health Week 14th – 20th June 2021

Next week is Men’s Health Week and this year’s theme is Mental Health and COVID-19.

Men’s Health Week is celebrated globally and the overall aims of week are to:

  1. Heighten awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages.
  2. Support men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices / activities.
  3. Encourage the early detection and treatment of health difficulties in males.

Even before the pandemic, men’s mental health was a cause for concern. There is a grave disparity in the high number of men who die from suicide and the low number of men who seek treatment for depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges.

The ‘Can do’ Challenge – Each day, try a different way

The five ways to wellbeing are five things we can all do that are scientifically-proven to help us feel better. For each day of Men’s Health Week we are calling on everyone to choose a different way to wellbeing.

The five ways are:

  • Connect – connect with other people (e.g. call an old friend you haven’t since before lockdown);
  • Active – move your body (e.g. go for a run/walk/swim);
  • Notice – take notice of the environment around you (e.g. turn off your phone for an hour);
  • Discover – learn something new (e.g. read a book you haven’t read before);
  • Offer – do something for someone else (e.g. volunteer for a local community group).


Thank you for everything you are doing

Around 9 million people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including many of our services users and frontline staff. And as vaccinations surge ahead, estimated numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community are declining along with hospital admissions.

All this gives reason for some cautious optimism as we move towards the first signs of spring. Thank you once again to everyone working so hard to keep our services running and to protect our vulnerable service users – we fully understand what a difficult phase in the pandemic these past few weeks have been.

Infection control guidance still fit for purpose

We’ve been asked recently whether current infection control practice is fit for purpose, being as the new variants of COVID-19 might be more contagious.

There was good news this week that a review by the UK Infection Prevention Control Cell has confirmed that the current guidance is still good – meaning that there is no change to the infection control measures we currently use. Please also remember that the need to follow infection control rules, including the use of PPE, remains the same whether staff or service users have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Constance Care Livingstone impresses the inspectors

Lorna Muir, Regional Director for Scotland, contacted us this week to say a massive ‘well done’ to the team at Constance Care Livingston who received the outcome from their recent Care Inspection. Twelve months ago, the service was under close scrutiny by the Local Authority as well as our regulators, and the management team were dealing with major staffing and quality issues.

This latest inspection has highlighted the improvements and hard work of the entire branch and management team that have transformed the service. Feedback from the inspectors included a glowing report of how well cared-for their service users felt during the pandemic:

“People told us that the support they received was caring, professional, compassionate, and respectful. People were very confident in the care staff’s practices with regard to Covid-19 and felt care workers were well trained in infection control and personal protective equipment. People felt confident in their care because staff have been trained appropriately and had good underpinning values.”

In addition, the inspectors praised the improvements in leadership at the branch, saying:

“All the staff we spoke with said they were well supported and that the manager had been instrumental in turning the service around. This was reflected in comments from the people supported. Established management systems, policies, and procedures were in place, along with flexible systems to support staff learning and development. The systems included quality assurance and actions for improvement. This meant there was an overview of the service with a focus on improvement.”

Congratulations to everyone in the Livingstone team for your hard work. The feedback was well-deserved, considering the effort everyone has put into the improvements, with one service user commenting that they “could not fault the care during COVID -19”.

Andrea makes an impact at Guardian Ormskirk

Margaret Macdonald, Regional Manager for the North West, has shared some outstanding feedback she’s received from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The son of a service user – who was cared for by the Guardian Homecare team in Ormskirk – had taken the time to share his family’s story through the CQC feedback portal.

The service user’s son had kind words for the whole team but he wanted to highlight the dedication of one member of staff in particular:

“My mum has had care workers for several years now. Initially only a couple of quick visits a day. As time has gone on her COPD has worsened and her mobility deteriorated. In early January 2021, she was told her life expectancy was very limited, days, maybe weeks. The NHS staff and district nursing team moved mountains to ensure she was allowed to return home.

“The district nurses sorted out some night cover by Guardian Homecare as me and my brother were on a 12-hour each vigil. I have my own family and medical needs and my brother had work commitments. Neither of us was getting any sleep.

“I can only say we were given our own Mary Poppins for four nights. Her name is Andrea Thomas. She fully explained what she would do and would only call is if we really needed to get there fast. Andrea kept records of what she did, briefed us the following morning also.

“On the final night of January 16th. Andrea called us both out and within 20 minutes we had arrived. My mum had just passed away. She was again brilliant with us both and was clearly a little upset herself as she had cared for my mum when her health was much better.

“Thanks so much to Andrea and all the staff at Guardian Homecare Ormskirk.”

The local CQC inspector, Naison Chaparadza, echoed the feedback – saying, “Thank you for continuing to support people in a caring manner, I think your staff need to be proud of themselves especially during these difficult times. What they do makes a huge difference to others and this is one example. Keep it up and thank you.”

Time to Talk Day

It’s Time to Talk Day and over the last few weeks we’ve been encouraging our teams to recognise this day and have conversations about mental health.Time To Talk

Well done to all those who took part and had a conversation about mental health. It would be great to share more about what your teams have been doing to help support colleagues with their mental health during the pandemic – please keep sending your stories to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk.

Our commitment to our teams

As a business, we want to make a positive change towards the mental health in our workplace. Over the coming months we will be sharing with you our commitment to wellbeing and asking for your thoughts and ideas on how we can make positive changes. Watch this space.

Celebrities call out vaccine misinformation

A group of celebrities representing ethnic minorities and communities from across the UK have released a video addressing vaccine misinformation.

The group, which included actors Adil Ray and Meera Syal, as well as cricketer Moeen Ali and presenter Konnie Huq, appealed to minority ethnic communities in the UK to help address hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus has disproportionately impacted minority ethnic communities, but these communities have also been subject to misleading information around the vaccine. You can watch the video here.

A new name for
Interserve Healthcare

As you may recall, in November we completed the purchase of Interserve Healthcare from Interserve Group Limited. As part of City & County, the Interserve Healthcare team continue to deliver specialist complex care for adults and children living with a wide range of conditions in their own homes.

Joining City & County has brought new opportunities for Interserve Healthcare to deliver care to many more people across the country. To reflect this change, we’re pleased to announce that they will be renamed to Advantage Healthcare – a name which they used until their acquisition by Interserve Group, and one with more than 20 years’ history of supporting families across the UK.

Their vision remains the same as it always has been: to provide outstanding care and services to all of their clients and their dedicated staff. We believe the Advantage Healthcare name truly represents this approach, giving everyone they support the benefit of receiving the highest possible standard of care.

We are developing a new Advantage Healthcare brand – including a new logo and materials, new email addresses, new brand colours and imagery for the entire business. Our priority is to maintain the high levels of service that both the Interserve Healthcare and Advantage Healthcare brands are known for.

Over the coming weeks you’ll start to notice different uniforms and the Advantage Healthcare logo in use. Our priority is to refresh the public-facing materials and we’ll aim to get the main changes in place by the end of February, though you will start to see the new name in some places from today.

Let’s start talking about mental health at work – Time to Talk Day Time To Talk

Thursday 4th February is Time to Talk Day – a day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change to help spread the word that you can talk about mental health anywhere – including at work.

It’s important to talk with someone about potential unhappiness in your life or health concerns.

On 4th February, let’s all take the time to have a conversation about mental health, whether that be with your colleague or your line manager. Visit the Time to Change website to find out more.

LifeWorks – Employee Assistance Programme

Please remember you can also take advantage of confidential expert help – at no cost – with professional counselling services available through LifeWorks, our employee assistance programme.

Professionally trained counsellors are available 24/7 to offer a sympathetic ear, emotional and practical support, and resources for you and your loved ones.

This completely confidential service is there to help you. No one will know you have called.

Call LifeWorks on 0800 1691920 today to access the right support for you. Alternatively use the Chat function on the website or app to start the conversation.

Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Wonderful feedback in Westminster

Kasia Brzyszcz and the London Care team in Westminster received some impressive feedback this week from Westminster Council. The local Quality Assurance Officer, Lorraine Ive, made a point of contacting Kasia to express just how impressed the Adult Social Care and Health team is with London Care’s response during the pandemic. Lorraine wrote:

“We have been working together for a few months, and I just wanted to say that I am impressed by the quality monitoring calls, and the work that is being done out in the community by the care staff during this really testing time. I admire those out on the field – in particular the way they are keeping people safe and themselves.

“Also well done to you and your coordinators for steering the ship and keeping things consistent. Thanks for all your hard work.”

Well done to everyone in the Westminster team, it’s reassuring to see how much the local authority appreciate the difference you are making for their community.

Care worker vaccine survey (England)

Researchers want to hear from care workers in England about their views and experience with the COVID-19 vaccine. The findings of this study, which is being carried out by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation, will be shared with Public Health England to help inform policy decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination amongst health and social care staff.

Care workers in your teams who have already received their vaccination can complete the survey here.

And, we’re back…Happy New Years and here’s to enjoying a better one than the last.

Critical worker guidance amended for school attendance

The Government has recently updated its guidance on which jobs count as ‘key worker’ roles, clarifying that the following are key workers:

–          Care workers

–          Other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers

–          Support and specialist staff required to maintain the health and social care sector

This means that everyone employed in City & County remains a key worker.

The changes were announced after schools raised concerns about too many children remaining in school under the latest lockdowns. The new guidance confirms that children with at least one parent or carer who is a key worker can go to school or college if required. Parents and carers have, however, been asked to keep their children at home if they can.

If you’re a CCH employee in need of a letter confirming your key worker status, please speak to your branch manager or HR.

Hana volunteers to tackle COVID-19

We found out this week that a member of our HR team, Hana Dedman, has volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. Following an intensive training schedule, we’re pleased to announce that Hana is now ready to fight the coronavirus pandemic with St John Ambulance. Hana told us why she chose to sign up:

“I chose to volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccines and become part of the National program during this pandemic, for a few reasons. Firstly, there is a clear and genuine need for people to help, but also a feeling that I wanted to support our local community to try to help. In addition, I feel passionate about helping the NHS in any way I can, due to the excellent care given to my Father during his battle with his heart condition and subsequent care he received. Sadly, we lost my Father a few years ago, however I am sure my helping, would have made him proud.

“Since joining City & County in January 2020, I have witnessed our care workers dedication in supporting the vulnerable ensuring we deliver our care packages successfully and appreciate how hard they work in difficult circumstances.

“I came to realise that without the support of volunteers and speedy administering of this life saving vaccine, there would be significant delays causing health issues and further hardships on businesses, people’s livelihoods and most importantly, being able to see our family and friends again.

“Signing up as a volunteer with St John Ambulance who are working in partnership certainly wasn’t an easy task to say the least, there were a series of assessment with a pass rate 80% and a full day’s training too. Looking forward to getting started.”

Well done Hana, you’re going to make a huge impact on the lives of those you vaccinate – as well as their friends, families and colleagues. You can find out more about volunteering with St John Ambulance to make a difference during the pandemic here.

Battling the elements in Stirling

Mathew Green, Registered Manager at SCRT Homecare, got in touch today to express his gratitude to two members of the team in Stirling.

Following the extremely cold weather and heavy snow in the area, two of the branch’s dedicated coordinators braved the harsh weather to make sure that service users got the care they needed. Mathew told us:

“Massive thanks to Branch Coordinators Shannon Murray and Kimberley Boyd for the Stirling branch, who were fast-acting this morning to help carry out care calls due to the snow and ice. Both had to abandon their car and walk through the ice and snow to get to our most vulnerable service users.”

Thanks to you both. It’s amazing to see just how committed our teams are to supporting vulnerable service users across the UK.

MOTs and lockdown

You may remember that during the lockdown last spring, MOT centres were closed and that the expiry dates of existing MOT certificates were extended. During current lockdowns however, the Government has confirmed that vehicle MOT centres can stay open in all areas of Great Britain.

As a result, there will be no extensions in the current lockdown. If you own and rely on a vehicle, please don’t forget to book an MOT as normal if it’s due.

Free carbon monoxide awareness webinars

The Gas Safe Charity is offering free, on line carbon monoxide awareness Zoom workshops, aimed at anyone who visits or works in the homes of vulnerable people.

The workshop lasts about an hour and explains the sources, signs and symptoms of high and low level carbon monoxide risks in the home and includes relevant scenarios to explain what steps to take if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.

Sessions are available from January through to March. You can find out more information and book your place here.

Vaccinations underway at our Extra Care schemes

We’re pleased to confirm that COVID-19 vaccinations are now taking place at some of our Extra Care schemes. We received the photos below today from Bristol Court in Hounslow, where service users and staff have started to receive their jabs.

So far, more than 100 people at the scheme have been vaccinated. We’ll bring you more updates on how the vaccination programme is reaching our teams and service users across the UK over the coming weeks.