Department of Health and Social Care launches social care recruitment campaign

The latest phase of the Department of Health and Social Care’s national adult social care recruitment campaign, ‘Made with Care’, has now launched and will run continuously until March 2022.

Created to support care providers in recruiting the dedicated staff they need, this campaign will show the amazing work that care workers do, celebrate the way they empower the people they care for, and shine a light on the emotional rewards of the role, to inspire more people to consider a job in adult social care.

‘Made with Care’ advertising will direct job seekers to Here, they will be able to find everything they need to research a career in adult social care and, crucially, search and apply for adult social care jobs near them through DWP ‘Find a Job’, including those in our operating companies.

You can read more about the campaign here.

Look out for COVID vaccine pass scams

Members of our teams have already started to see scam emails inviting them to take part in a COVID-19 Passport programme.

The emails ask recipients to click on a link to register their details, with a promise that doing so will secure a digital or had copy vaccination passport. The emails may stress that there is a short deadline to register – typically just a few days.

Such emails could show authentic-looking NHS or government branding and may, initially at least, appear to be from a reliable source. However, when checking the sender’s information to see the originating email address it will not use the expected NHS or format:

If you receive an email you suspect to be spam, please do not click on any links. Instead, report it to the IT Service Desk immediately.

Poppies at the Pullen Day Centre

Maria Gerardo has shared some photos of London Care’s Pullen Day Centre clients preparing for Remembrance Day.

Maria told us, “our clients made their own poppies this week we had all sorts of designs going on, we spoke about what we remembered from the war and the jobs they did. One client had been a Morse coder in the war and she taught people how to understand it and sent messages in war.”

“Our clients had a lovely week making their own poppies and talking about things that they remembered in the war or people they knew were veterans.”

Thanks for sharing Maria, it looks like your clients put a lot of work into their poppies and displays for the event.

Alcohol Awareness Week: 15th – 21st November

It’s Alcohol Awareness Week and this year’s theme is Alcohol and Relationships.

Many of us drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, including: to relax, to socialise, to de-stress, to have fun, to relieve boredom, to deal with feelings of loneliness, and to try and cope with or avoid problems. However, drinking too much and too often can cause or make worse, problems with our physical and mental health, including damaging relationships with our loved ones.

How does drinking affect our relationships?

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance, meaning it can radically change the way we think and feel.

  • Alcohol can alter both our mood and inhibitions, affecting our decision-making in the moment, meaning we are more likely to make rash choices, or perhaps start verbal or physical confrontations that we later regret.
  • If our partner or loved one is regularly drinking more than we are, it can impact on our own feelings, creating tension and anxiety. For example, we may feel that we take second place to our loved one’s drinking, or that they are increasingly physically or emotionally absent.
  • If we are the ones drinking regularly or heavily, we may be neglecting or ignoring the needs of our loved ones, and not fulfilling our responsibilities as a partner, friend, parents or family member.

Making some changes

This week is the ideal opportunity to think about our own drinking and ask ourselves whether we are likely to benefit from making some changes.

Here are some tips for heather drinking and happier relationships.

  • Talk it over. If you’re having problems or something is playing on your mind, it’s good to talk things through when both of you are sober.  By talking, we can help each other to better understand how alcohol might be affecting us and those around us.
  • Commit to cutting down. The UK’s Chief Medical officers recommend not drinking more than 14 units a week; that means about six pints of lager or a bottle and a half of wine.
  • Keep track of your drinking. Recording what you drink for a few weeks will help you understand your drinking pattern so that you can decide if you want to make a change. Use a free app like Try Dry to keep track of your drinking and set goals to help you cut down.

Support with Drinking Concerns

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, remember that there is always somewhere you can turn for support.

  • LifeWorks Helpline (Employee Assistance Programme) – a free and confidential service available to employees. Professionally trained counsellors are available 24/7 to offer emotional and practical support, and resources for you and your loved ones. Call 0800 1691920.
  • LifeWorks online resources – LifeWorks Addiction & Recovery toolkit offers resources and information on how to recognise signs of addiction—and guidance on how to find resources and support to guide you or a loved one toward recovery.
  • Your GP – can provide confidential advice and refer you to extra support
  • NHS Website – find support and treatment services near you
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – helpline open 24/7 0800 9177 650
  • Your Manager or HR – tell your manager about your concerns/problems – they can support you.

Eagle-eyed team recognised in Rochdale

Joanne Brannen, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire, has shared some outstanding feedback received by the Comfort Call team in Rochdale. After diligently spotting that some lifting equipment in a client’s home had been tampered with, the client’s care team quickly reported the issue in the correct manner.

This quick thinking by this team ultimately helped avoid potential significant injury to their client. Thankfully the issue was able to be quickly resolved.

In sharing Rochdale Borough Council’s appreciation for the team’s attention to detail, their Contracts & Quality Monitoring Manager wrote, “Given the massive issues in the Home Care sector at this time around capacity, it’s really good to hear that staff are still so switched on and professional despite the huge workload pressures they face on a seemingly never-ending basis.

“Great job from everyone involved both at Comfort Call and in terms of the support from the team here at Rochdale Borough Council.”

Great work by everyone, and thank you for sharing Joanne.

Don’t forget that Caleb’s growing a Mo

Caleb is just over two weeks into the challenge, and here’s his progress to date!

You can get involved with this great cause by donating here. Your support will help the Movember Foundation create ground-breaking health projects that make a real difference in the lives of real men across the world.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK and the reason why the Movember Foundation are pushing forward progress in prostate cancer research, from early detection through to diagnosis, treatment and support.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 8 UK men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than 47,500 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day.
  • Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer in the UK – that’s more than 11,500 men every year.

Early detection is key

  • Early detection 98% chance of survival beyond 5 years
  • Late detection 26% chance of survival beyond 5 years

To give themselves every chance against prostate cancer, men should talk to their doctor at 50, or at 45 if they are of African or Caribbean descent, or if they have a family history of the disease.

Signs & Symptoms

Prostate cancer does not usually cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • needing to pee more frequently, often during the night
  • needing to rush to the toilet
  • difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
  • straining or taking a long time while peeing
  • weak flow
  • feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
  • blood in urine or blood in semen

These symptoms do not always mean you have prostate cancer. Many men’s prostates get larger as they get older because of a non-cancerous condition called prostate enlargement.

Signs that the cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss.

Want to know more?

Charlene is Braving the Shave for Stacey and Macmillan

Finally, Tracey Webster, Registered Manager at Abacare in Flint has let us know about a fantastic fundraising initiative by a member of the team in North Wales.

Tracey told us, “One of our carers, Stacey Sumner, is going through treatment for cancer so another carer Charlene Wilson – who has worked with her since she started – is doing brave the shave to raise money for Macmillan”.

Across the UK, incredible people like Charlene are getting sponsored to shave their hair for Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan give people with cancer the help they need to live life as fully as they can. They’re also doing everything possible to find even better ways to help people with cancer, helping to bring forward the day when everyone gets life-transforming support from day one.

Such a worthy cause Charlene, and we’re all behind you for taking on this challenge in support of your colleague, Stacey. You can find out more about the challenge and donate on Charlene’s Go Fund Me page.

Aspen Gardens marks Remembrance Day

Sandra Walker, one of our Regional Managers with Comfort Call, has shared this amazing Remembrance display constructed by service users at the Aspen Gardens extra care scheme in Stockton.

Made with the support of staff at the scheme, the display includes newspaper clippings, poetry and photos of close ones who were lost in conflict. Finished off with an abundant selection of both hand-made and real poppies, we think it does a fantastic job of recognising the sacrifices of those armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

Research study on End of Life care

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is carrying out research on End of Life Care, with the aim of improving the quality of care planning for people nearing the end of their lives.

The researchers are really interested in hearing from people with experience of helping someone else in planning for end-of-life treatment and care. If you fit that description and would like to help, you can fill in a short questionnaire.

The questionnaire takes no more than ten minutes. You can take part and find more information here.

Don’t forget that Caleb’s growing a Mo

Caleb is just over a week into his Movember challenge, and here’s his progress to date!

Did you know?

The rate of male suicide is alarmingly high and this is why the Movember Foundation are focusing their funding and research into men’s mental health. You might be surprised to hear that three out of four suicides in the UK are by men and globally, on average, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day.

The Movember Foundation believe improving overall mental health and helping men establish better social connections can reduce the risk of suicide.

How can you help

  • You can get involved with this great cause by donating to Caleb’s challenge here. Your support will help the Movember Foundation create ground-breaking health projects that make a real difference in the lives of real men across the world.
  • We’ve attached the LifeWorks ‘Suicide Prevention Toolkit’, which is designed to help you recognise the signs that someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts or showing behaviour which might lead up to a suicide attempt. Areas covered include, signs to watch for, having the difficult conversation, resources for those in need and support for those who have been affected by a suicide.
  • Have a conversation today with a friend, colleague or family member about mental health – let’s help to make talking about mental health normal and comfortable.

What to do if you’re struggling

If you are feeling anxious, low or experiencing any other symptoms of mental health problems, please seek help.

  • To speak with someone immediately, contact NHS 111 on 111 or contact Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Call LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme 24/7, on 0800 1691920 for immediate confidential support from trained counsellors if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or if you have been affected by a suicide.
  • If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.

Alcohol Awareness Week: 15th – 21st November

Next week is Alcohol Awareness Week, run by the charity Alcohol Change UK.

The annual campaign’s aim is to get people thinking and talking about alcohol and its effect on our lives and those around us, and to take actions to change our drinking behaviour for the better.

Key Facts

  • 10.4 million adults are estimated to drink at harmful levels.
  • More than twenty people each day die as a result of the harm caused by alcohol.
  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer.

This year’s theme is Alcohol and Relationships.

Alcohol and relationships are closely linked. Many of us associate alcohol and socialising, and alcohol can become a big part of our connections and interactions with those around us. But when our own or a loved one’s drinking starts to negatively affect our relationships, or stands in the way of us taking action on our own drinking, it can have a huge impact on our lives.

Next week, we’ll be looking at the ways in which alcohol can affect our relationships along with signposting to help and support if you have concerns about your alcohol consumption or that of a loved one.

Why not start by completing an Alcohol Use Assessment on the LifeWorks app or website. The confidential survey, located in the Wellbeing section of the platform, will help you to assess your current alcohol consumption and signpost you to relevant support and tips based on your answers. You can access the service here – if you are unsure of your login detail or have any questions about LifeWorks please contact the team.

Mandatory vaccination confirmed for home care workers in England

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced this week that the government will make vaccination mandatory for all health and social care workers in England unless they are clinically exempt. This legislation is due to come into place from April 2022.

Work is already underway to prepare our processes for this change, as well as to support any staff who are yet to vaccinate to get their jabs. We’ll share more information in the coming weeks and you can read details of the announcement here.

Christine Brooks wins at the Great British Care Awards

We are sure you will all join us in congratulating Christine Brooks – Head of Nursing for ICCM and Total Community Care – for winning the Frontline Leaders Award at the Great British Care Awards.

The Great British Care Awards are a series of regional events throughout the UK and are a celebration of excellence across the care sector. The purpose of the awards are to pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence in their field of work.

The awards evening was held at ICC in Birmingham on the 30th October 2021 and Chris took home the award despite strong competition from seven other finalists in the category. This particular award is given to a leader who has shown clear commitment to improving the delivery of care and support within their team. The judges chose to recognise Chris for demonstrating leadership qualities by reflecting on what could be better and supporting others to bring about change.

Chris will now automatically be put through to the National finals for the Frontline Leaders Award, taking place in March 2022. Congratulations Chris and best of luck for the National award next year!

Halloween fun at City & County

It seems that there were plenty of spooky celebrations happening across the City & County family to mark Halloween this past week. First of all, Joanne Brannen, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire, sent us some photos of Hurst Meadows Extra Scheme getting into the Halloween spirit.

Staff and service users dressed up for the event, whist the whole scheme was decorated in ghoulish garb. Great work everyone.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the teams at our fiancé shared service centre in Nottingham held a pumpkin carving competition. Our Accounts Receivable Manager, Carrie-Ann Brown, had the tricky task of choosing a winner and loser.

The lucky winner of the best carved pumpkin was Caroline Hawkes’s team, whilst the ‘winner’ of worst pumpkin was awarded to Ivanka Cobo-Harris’s team.

We don’t know how you chose Carrie-Ann, they both look great to us! Either way, both teams walked away with a selection of sweet treats for their efforts.

Grow a Mo with Caleb

Movember is an annual event encouraging men to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health.

The Movember Foundation are one of the leading charity’s changing the face of men’s health and their aim is to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives. The charity prioritises funding for the three biggest health issues facing men: mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

This year our very own Group Director of Operations, Caleb Atkins, has signed up to the Movember challenge and each week during November will share with us his moustache growing progress.

Caleb has sent us a clean-shaven photo to kick-start the challenge!

Over the next few weeks, as we cover Caleb’s Movember progress, we will also be sharing information about the biggest health issues facing men: mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Get involved

  • Donate – You can get involved with this great cause by donating here. Your support will help the Movember Foundation create ground-breaking health projects that make a real difference in the lives of real men across the world.
  • Grow a Mo – why not join Caleb and share with us your Movember progress photos each week by sending to The more of us involved the better!
  • Share your story – if you have been affected by the Movember campaign, personally or through a partner or friend, please share with us your story by emailing

High praise for Festus in Hackney

Amal Verde, Registered Branch Manager for London Care in East London, has shared some impressive feedback received by a member of her team. Festus had been supporting a client of the London Borough of Hackney social care team and, following a huge effort to improve this individual’s life, the Senior Social Care worker reached out to thank him, writing:

“My client was complex in his presentation, in that he had severe and ingrained self-neglect tendencies, and one had to be persistent and robust and adopt particular ways of working with him.

“I wanted to acknowledge that Festus’s input with my client was utterly invaluable. Festus put in the effort to really get to know my client on a human level, and he went above and beyond to provide care to him in a meaningful, compassionate way. My client was someone who felt very isolated and confused about his situation, and Festus’ compassionate touch gave him a sense of connection and dignity in what turned out to be his last stages of life.

“I am highly impressed with Festus’s work on this case, and I think he should be commended. We so often are quick to write to complain when things go wrong, and yet we sometimes forget to write to compliment when things go right.”

Amazing work Festus and thank you Amal for sharing this impressive feedback.

Recognition for Ileana at Noble Live In Care

Shona John has passed us some amazing feedback for a key member of the care team at Noble – Ileana Latis. Following Ileana’s commitment to her client, both her locality manager and the client’s next of kin wrote to express just how big a difference she makes to his life.

Noble’s Locality Manager, Vicky Hogan, wrote: “Ileana is every managers’ dream carer, she has everything organised and if does not know something asks. She is confident, compassionate and keen to learn. Ileana thinks ahead and continually talks to her client even when not providing care, she treats him as a complete person.

“Ileana’s client is bed bound and nonverbal. Despite this, Ileana will now when he is unwell, knows how he communicates and acts accordingly to every need.”

Meanwhile, the client’s next of kin, Sandra, said of Ileana, “she is a very kind, compassionate carer who shows empathy for her job role. Ileana treats her client like any other person even though he is no verbal and bed bound. She keeps him clean and well cared for, even the house is kept to a high standard.

“Ileana gives me the confidence not to worry about him, I know if Ileana feels there is something wrong she will manage this immediately and keep me informed, she gives me  peace of mind and takes the worry off of me, I can relax. I feel that she is not just a carer, but a trusted friend.”

Such amazing feedback Ileana, it’s clear how much of an impact you’re making to this client. We are very pleased to confirm that Ileana has won Noble’s Carer of the Month Award this month – and there’s no doubt that it’s a well-deserved win. Congratulations.

Let’s talk about… nutrition

Why nutrition is essential to weight loss

One of the biggest questions many people on a weight loss journey struggle with is whether diet and exercise are equally important.

The key to weight loss is taking in fewer calories than you burn.

Did you Know?

  • To shed a single pound, you need a 3,500-calorie deficit
  • It takes a great deal of activity to create a 500 to 700 calorie deficit through exercise

Making changes to your nutrition is a far more efficient method than exercise alone, although combining the two will give you the best results for maintaining weight loss and staying healthy.

Healthy Eating Basics

Healthy eating involves both choosing healthy foods and eating them in amounts that are right for you. Even if you eat a balanced diet, you may develop a weight problem if the food you eat contains more calories than your body needs. Why not try the following tips:

Familiarise yourself with how many calories you need each day

The number you need depends on factors such as age, gender, height, activity level and overall health. Use the BMI calculator on the NHS website.

Keep a food diary

Write down everything you eat. You can use online calculators and nutritional labels on food to get an accurate idea of calories in the food you eat.

Mindful eating

Start by being mindful of your choices, focus on making healthy swaps instead of traditional dieting, e.g. drink more water and eat more whole fruit and veg. Eat a range of healthy food to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. Make sure you eat regularly and take your time when you eat, making sure you are aware of your hunger signals.

Long service in Thornliebank

Shannon Murray has shared this week that the Constance Care Thornliebank team have been celebrating the long service of some of their colleagues this week.

Sharing decades of support to the people of Glasgow between them, these three care workers have made a huge impact in the area. Firstly, Maureen Corcoran has 20 years, Amanda McDonald has 17 years and finally Irene Wales has 19 years – impressive stuff!

Shannon told us, “All three of these care workers are a credit to the team I have and it would be great if they could be in the weekly round-up”.

We couldn’t agree more Shannon, thank you all for your continued support to your colleagues and service users.

Sharing successes at Advantage Healthcare

Steph Mohan, Service Development Director in our complex care division, has shared a story which reinforces that no matter how tough it can be at times, our staff make a real difference where it matters. Catherine Wilkins and Fiona Fairclough at Advantage Healthcare pulled out all the stops to make a client’s final days as good as they could be – but the result was better than anyone could have expected.

Catherine shared the news, saying, “I received a referral from a local hospice who have been supporting a young mum of two boys whilst she has been in Papworth. They informed us that this lady is complex palliative and wanted to spend the last few weeks at home with her children, we were asked if we could turn this around in three days.

“After many calls, encouraging, prompting and cajoling we managed to put a team together 24/7 and found clinical staff to produce the documentation required. A huge effort has been made by many professionals from the primary, secondary and community sectors along with our staff to make this happen.

“Most important of all, our carer was there waiting to take on the huge responsibility of looking after Juliet, something that a whole army of hospital teams have been doing up until now.

“Seven weeks on and we have been informed by Papworth Hospital that they haven’t seen Juliet look so well and we must be providing great care. Juliet is now being put on a lung transplant register, this is the best news and shows there are miracles.”

Steph told us, “This news, coupled with Sally Wheeler, Caroline McPherson and Christine Brooks reaching the Great British Care Award finalists and Leanne Henderson’s mock inspection result of ‘outstanding’ in the Wales branch – the first in Advantage Healthcare’s history of mock inspections – has really made me proud of what we are achieving in a challenging period of change, on every level! Well done all.”

Well-said Steph, it sounds like the whole Advantage Healthcare team is making a real difference to the lives of everyone they support.

The Dunes team remembers Sara Benvin

Sandra Walker has shared with us the details of a moving remembrance service held by the team at The Dunes Extra Care scheme in Redcar for their manager, Sara Benvin. A long-time and very much respected member of the Comfort Call family, Sara had been with the business for more than 15 years.

After starting as a care worker in Hartlepool, Sara progressed to being a registered manager for domiciliary care before joining the Redcar Extra Care schemes in 2016. Sadly, Sara passed away suddenly earlier this month whist still an active member of the Comfort Call team.

In celebration of Sara’s life, the team held a small service this week in the gardens of the scheme, attended by staff, service users and their families. Even colleagues that Sara had worked with previously – during her employment with Comfort Call and Careline Homecare – made time to join and remember the part Sara played in their lives.

The order of service started with a song and a reading, and all who attended where given a yellow rose to lay on a bench dedicated to Sara’s memory in the scheme’s garden. In sharing memories of Sara’s impact on her colleagues and service users during the service, Amanda Stirling said, “Sara really could light up a room with her smile and her laugh was infectious.”

Amanda continued, “The one thing that always stands out about Sara is she made time for everyone. No matter what she was doing, she was always prepared to talk if that’s what was needed or to just listen. Sara loved working in the care sector, it was never a job for her it was a vocation. She has touched the lives of so many that it’s fair to say she made a difference and will continue to make a difference through us her friends and colleagues.”

We couldn’t have put it any better Amanda, it’s clear just how much of an impression Sara left on everyone she worked with.

Spook-tacular decorations at Aspen Gardens

Sandra Walker, Regional Manager at Comfort call shared some pictures of some amazing Halloween decorations at Aspen Gardens. Service users at the scheme took time to make some creepy crafts ready for the 31st.

We think they look frightfully good, well done everyone.

Big birthdays across the City & County family

Firstly, Vicky Judge, Registered Manager at Advantage Healthcare in the North West shared a picture this week of a perfect party. Their client Daniel had a birthday party last week, with all of the care staff did a collection for the fantastic birthday cake.

The team even made food in branch to make sure the celebration was a complete success. Great work everyone – Daniel certainly looks like he enjoyed the effort everybody put in.

Lisa Spencer, Care Coordinator at Poppy House in Ashton-under-Lyne has also asked us to share the branch’s best wishes for Jean Appleton – one of their senior carers – who turns 60 this week.

Lisa told us, “I thought Jean deserves a mention as she does lot for our community group and occasionally even travels to different branches in a supporting role. We decorated our office for her and presented her big bottle of vodka as well as Pandora bracelet.”

Happy birthday Jean, it looks like you had a fantastic day.

Supreme service from Sally Smith

Marie Parrish and the team at Advantage Healthcare in Peterborough wanted to share their appreciation for their considerate colleague Sally, who is marking eleven years with the business this week. 

Marie told us, “Sally, we know you have worked hard for this accomplishment and we truly appreciate your dedication. She has seem the business change many times, and she has always stayed loyal to us and her clients.”

“Sally is always offering to help when is available. She has been working with one of our clients for over seven years and the relationship between them is amazing. We would like Sally to know we are so proud to have her as part of our work family. We hope that you keep up the good work for many years to come.”

We couldn’t agree more Marie. Thank you for everything you’ve done – and continue to do – for your colleagues and clients over the years Sally!

Stoptober – It’s never too late to quit smoking

If you have been smoking for a long time, you may wonder whether it’s worth trying to stop after so many years. The fact is, it’s never too late to enjoy the health benefits of stopping.

What happens when you quit?

The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll notice the changes to your body and health. Look at what happens when you quit for good.

After 8 hours Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide levels in your blood with have reduced by half.
After 48 hours All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.
After 72 hours If you notice that breathing feels easier, it’s because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy levels will be increasing.
After 2 to 12 weeks Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.
After 3 to 9 months Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%.
After 1 year Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s.
After 10 years More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker’s.


If you haven’t stopped smoking yet, there is still time!

Why not join the thousands of people stopping smoking this October.

The key to success if to never give up trying.

Support to get started…

  • NHS Smokefree – offers free support in the form of an app, personal quit plan, email support, telephone helpline support and Facebook support group.
  • British Lung Foundation – the website offers information about the health effects of tobacco use and programmes to help people quit.
  • Don’t forget to visit LifeWorks, our employee assistance programme for online resources to help you stop smoking.

Meet the Complete Care Amegreen team today

If you’re at the British Association of Brain Injury & Complex Case Management conference in Birmingham today, then why not make your way to stand 26 and say hello to Jody Tierney and Lisa Ruffell from Complete Care Amegreen?

Jody recently joined the team as a Care Service Manager responsible for on-boarding new business, and together with head nurse Lisa, is already at her first event flying the Complete Care Amegreen flag.

Not only are Jody and Lisa excited to be at BABICM’s 25th Anniversary today seeing everyone face to face after so long, but by paying them a visit you could also be in with the chance of winning a bottle of fizz!

Congratulations Caleb

Following his nomination last month, we’re very pleased to report that our Group Operations Director, Caleb Atkins, has been elected to join the Homecare Association board. Representing large, mainly state-funded homecare providers on the board, Caleb will help influence sector decision-making and build the prolife of the homecare sector.

The Homecare Association is the UK’s membership body for homecare providers, with their board primarily made up of nominated individuals elected from member organisations. The board also includes key senior staff and notable people, who represent the homecare sector as ambassadors.

Caleb will start his duties immediately, replacing our Director of Policy and Communications, Max Wurr, who has stepped down from his role on board. Max recently completed his maximum of three terms with the homecare Association, serving an impressive total of nine years with the organisation.

A well-deserved result Caleb – congratulations from everyone at City & County.

Naomi saves the day in Berwick

Danielle Russell, Branch Manager for Careline Homecare, let us know this week about a quick-thinking member of the Berwick team. Naomi Clark was in the right place at the right time, aiding a member of the public when he injured himself after falling from his bike.

Naomi kindly gave us the details, writing, “I was attending a call when I had seen a man had fallen off his bike. I parked my car and without thinking rushed over and administered first aid as he had a bad cut on his hand. I then thought this is too bad a cut and the man needed medical attention so took him over to Berwick Minor Injuries Unit. The man was lovely and thanked me very much for my help when I booked him in at MIU and receiving these wonderful flowers was just an amazing gesture that being kind to others does pay off.”

Danielle followed up by saying “Naomi is a well-respected member of the team and highly thought of by all of her service users. She has recently taken up position as FCS. Due to her quick thinking Naomi managed to assist the gentleman and assist him to receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner.”

Fantastic Naomi. It’s always amazing to see just how committed our staff are to supporting their local communities – whether that’s for our service users or anyone else who needs our support.

Meeting the Lord Mayor of Westminster

Maria Gerardo at London Care’s Pullen Day Centre, sent us some pictures of a sensational (early) Silver Sunday event at the centre. Maria explained, “As our day centre is closed at weekends so we got to celebrate on Friday instead”.

Maria told us, “The Lord Mayor of Westminster came to visit our Pullen day centre for silver Sunday last Friday with their singer Lucy Clark. Our clients had a lovely time and they even did some dancing.

“They all got to meet the lord Mayor and have tea with him, it was such a wonderful special day and a day that we all must appreciate our older people on.”

Looks like a great day was had by the staff and service users at the centre Maria. We hope everyone had a super Silver Sunday – or Friday!

Over 600,000 more social care staff needed in the next decade

The Health Foundation predicted this week that up to 627,000 extra social care staff will be required in England to improve services and meet care needs by 2030/31. This represents a 55% growth over the next ten years.

The projections of future health and social care funding requirements also show up to an additional £14.4bn will be needed to meet the country’s social care needs over the same time period.

The report highlights the recruitment crisis currently facing our sector, discussed by Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson in this blog.

Winter funding package for Scotland

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf’s new funding package for health and social care will offer adult social care staff in Scotland who are currently paid the real living wage a pay rise of over 5%.

The £300 million funding package to increase health and social care capacity in Scotland includes over £60 million to maximise the capacity of care at home services and up to £48 million to increase the hourly rate of social care staff to match new NHS band 2 staff.

The package will also include £4 million to help staff with their practical and emotional needs, including pastoral care and other measures to aid rest and recuperation. You can read more here.

Could you contribute to health and safety at City & County?

We are still looking for a branch manager, an Extra Care manager and someone in shared services – such as finance or IT – to join the health and safety committee.

If you are one of those categories and you feel that you could positively contribute, please email by Monday 18th October explaining why you think you would be a good fit for the role.

If you have already applied, you don’t need to do so again – we will be in touch.

World Menopause Day – 18th October 2021

World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th October. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.

So what is the menopause?

Menopause is a natural stage of life that millions of women experience. Menopause is marked by changes in hormones and is the end of the menstrual cycle and childbearing years.

It usually occurs, between the ages of 45 and 55, as women’s oestrogen levels decline, with the average age being 51 in the UK. 1 in 100 women will experience menopause before 40 years of age. Hormonal imbalances, chemotherapy, radiation or a hysterectomy may also cause premature menopause.

What are the symptoms?

Not all women encounter menopausal symptoms and the process can be very different for each person. Commons symptoms include:

Physical changes:   Emotional changes:
  • Hot flushes
  • Irregular periods
  • bloating and weight gain
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia and night sweats
  • headaches and migraines
  • nausea and dizziness
  • hair thinning
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • forgetfulness
  • mild depression

Support options available

Whether you want to find out more information on the menopause for yourself, or you want to be able to support a family member, friend or colleague here are a few options:

  • Menopause Matterswebsite provides information about the menopause, menopausal sypmtoms and treatment options.
  • Manage my menopause – Tailored menopause advice provided by experts. Complete a questionnaire and receive a tailored advice document.
  • Womens Health Concern – part of the British Menopause Society, providing confidential independent service to women for health, wellbeing and lifestyle guidance. Advice is given by telephone, email and online factsheets.

Don’t miss out on the mandatory vaccination consultation

Remember that there is still time to contribute to the consultation on plans for staff in all health and care settings in England (including home care) to be required to have COVID-19 and flu.

You can add your voice here. You have until 11:45pm on Friday 22nd October.

Astley Court’s crafty ‘Care Crow’

Kirsty Howcroft, Scheme Coordinator Astley Court in Manchester sent us some photos of a creative project by service users at the scheme. Working together with the Comfort Call care team, the service users assembled this super scarecrow, which they have named Care Crow.

The project will be displayed at the local annual Scarecrow trail, which is held from the 5th of October to the 8th of November.

Kirsty told us that they have also started a harvest festival collection for the local food charity Milk Aid, providing food for families that are less fortunate. Amazing work everyone!

Have your team or service users got involved with a local community activity as well? Send your pictures to and we’ll share them across the City & County family.

Recognition for brilliant Betty

Quality Care Services at Newry’s long-serving staff member, Betty Stewart – mother to 7 children, 22 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and another 2 on the way – recently received an award from Her Majesty the Queen for long standing service to local charities.

Betty joined the Markethill Community Festival Committee in 1977, she remembers the date as it was the same year the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee.  Since then, Betty has worked tirelessly raising money for many local children’s charities over the years and was ‘gobsmacked’ when she received the award.

It was presented to her recently in Hillsborough Castle and she showed her award to the office team in Newry, clearly bursting with pride. Betty suffered a fall in July and damaged her ribs, but we’re delighted to have her back with us – a valued and loyal member of Quality Care Services.

Congratulations Betty we’re all very proud of you.

A wonderful day at Westbourne Park Day Centre

Joanna Budhu shared some brilliant photos from a recent event at the Westbourne Park Day Centre. On the 1st October, the Lord Major of Westminster and counsellors came to visit the centre to promote Silver Sunday on the 3rd October which is an event for older adults and their carers.

Joanna explained that “All service users, visitors and staff were up dancing to the wonderful performance, our visitors were very pleased with the welcome from the centre and everyone but joked they were tired after all the dancing!”

“It was a wonderful afternoon for our service users and staff after such a difficult time for the centre.”

Looks like a great time was had by everyone Joanna – especially the Lord Major! If you’ve arranged an event at your service recently, then why not send your pictures to and we’ll share them with the City & County family.

Thank you to Ron from the team in Sunderland

Nicole Donoghue, one of our Comfort Call registered managers, asked us to share her appreciation for her dedicated team member, Ron. After thirteen years of supporting vulnerable people at the Sunderland branch, Ron has made the decision to retire and will be sorely missed by his colleagues.

Nicole told us, “Ron has been an inspiration, an asset and has worked with myself for all of this time also. He is respected highly by colleagues, social workers and service users and their families – receiving a lot of compliments over these years. We gave Ron a present as a token of our appreciation and he came to the office to see us all.”

Nicole continued, “We are so sad to see Ron retire however it is definitely a well-earned rest”.

We wish you all the best for your retirement Ron, and thank you for all the years of dedication to your colleagues and service users in Sunderland.

10th October is World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year. The day is held globally to encourage people to think about their own, and others’ mental health, and to raise awareness of efforts to support positive mental health and wellbeing.

Did you know?

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Mental Health is everyone’s business

We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. Investing time into our own mental health is key to looking after ourselves. However, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start.

Whether you want to take the first steps towards getting some help or learn more about helping those around you, there are many different ways to get help and support:

  • Our Employee Assistance Programme with LifeWorks, offers both online resources to help improve mental wellbeing, as well as a 24/7 assistance helpline, where employees can talk to trained counsellors. If you are struggling with your mental health call the free confidential helpline on 0800 1691 920.
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Mind – call 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans – call 116 123

Here are some ways you can support yourself:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Connect with others

Here are some ways you can support others:

  • Express concern, and offer practical help (do not force it)
  • Offer your time to listen
  • Reassure them
  • Be patient

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Matters have specially recorded this short video for us to help create an awareness of mental health – covering the signs, symptoms and causes of mental ill health and support techniques available.

Why not:

  • Take some time out of your day to watch this video
  • Reflect on what mental health means to you and your own state of mental health,  and
  • Start a conversation with your friends, family or colleagues about mental health

Mental Health Matters (MHM) is a national charity with over 35 years of experience in delivering high-quality mental health and social care services. They support more than 15,500 people every month to access treatment and achieve their recovery goals. Visit their website here for helpful resources and information.

Raising Money for Cancer Research

The CCH finance team in Nottingham put their baking skills to good use in raising money for Macmillan Coffee Morning 2021 – 6th & 7th October 2021. Sukie Dosanjh and team have raised £270,98 so far but every little helps in the fight against cancer. Please help out at

Congratulations to Nicola at Squires Gate

One of our regional managers in the North West, Samantha Bond, wanted to share the recent promotion of Nicola Frame to branch manager at Squires Gate in Blackpool. After joining the team as a care coordinator last year, Nicola hit the ground running and quickly showed her potential as a leader in the branch.

Samantha said of Nicola, “She has been a breath of fresh air and expressed interest in becoming a manager. After interview, we successfully appointed her for the BM role. Nicola is currently being mentored into the role alongside still doing her other duties whilst we backfill her. Nicola is taking everything in her stride. Super proud of her.”

Congratulations Nicola, sounds like a very well deserved appointment as a branch manager.

Stoptober – The 28 days stop smoking challenge

Stoptober is a Public Health England initiative that encourages smokers to stop from smoking for 28 days in October.

Did you Know?

  • If you can make it to 28 days smoke-free, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.
  • Stopping smoking not only improves your physical health but also is proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing. Quitting can improve mood, and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

Ways to quit…

Many people try to quit smoking with willpower alone, but it’s much easier with the right help. There are lots of support options available, so try a combination that works for you.

  • Find your local stop smoking service to get free expert help
  • Pharmacists will recommend suitable stop smoking aids
  • Ask for support from family and friends
  • The NHS offer a free personal quit plan – answer four easy questions to help you find the combination of support that’s right for you
  • Download the NHS Quit Smoking app, which allows you to track your progress, see how much you’re saving and get daily support

We’re delighted to announce that our Group Operations Director, Caleb Atkins, has been nominated to join the Homecare Association board. Caleb’s valuable experience in leading homecare across the UK makes him a prime candidate to influence decision-making and help build the prolife of the homecare sector.

Caleb Atkins

The Homecare Association is the UK’s membership body for homecare providers, with their board primarily made up of nominated individuals elected from member organisations. The board also includes key senior staff and notable people, who represent the homecare se

ctor as ambassadors.

Our Director of Policy and Communications, Max Wurr, will be stepping down from his role on The Homecare Association’s board after completing his maximum of three terms – an impressive total of nine years with the organisation, both as a board member and more recently as their vice chair.

Max’s imminent departure has prompted the election of the new board member, which will take place at The Homecare Association’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 13th October. Best of luck for the voting process Caleb, we’re all behind you.

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 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.’