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DHSC updates COVID guidance on safe staffing during COVID-19

Updated guidance for England sets out expectations of providers on limiting the routine movement of staff during COVID-19, and how to manage the risks of deploying individuals who work in multiple settings.

Providers are reminded that safe staffing avoids routine movements between settings. Mitigations may include block booking agency or other temporary staff, and in exceptional circumstances, leaving a 10-day interval between visits from staff who routinely attend two settings.

The Infection Control Fund (ICF) is provided to support adult social care providers to compensate staff whose normal hours are reduced due to restrictions on their movement. It can also be used to provide private transport or encourage walking or cycling to and from work and support this with changing facilities or rooms. Further detail and guidance on how the ICF can be used to compensate staff can be found in the ICF round 2 guidance.

There is also £120 million fund for local authorities to support staffing capacity, for example, by paying overtime rates. See the Workforce Capacity Fund for adult social care.

Restrictions on staff movement should also apply to care homes that have been assured by the CQC to operate as a designated setting. Guidance details the staffing requirements and advice on managing staff movement.

  • The deadline for NHS and social care staff to book vaccination appointments online via the NHS website has been extended until further notice. Appointments can also be booked over the phone by calling 119 free of charge, 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. As part of the booking process, staff need to self-declare they are a health or social care worker and will be required to bring proof of employment to the appointment.

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