This was the first meeting of the Covid Risk Committee for 2021 and following the Christmas and New Year break.
The Regional reports were reflective of the continued increase in infection rates across the country and the inconsistency between regions in the provision of Lateral Flow Test Kits. The committee was pleased to note this appeared to be an improving position.
The Committee noted the change from ‘Tiered’ restrictions to a national lockdown and the actions that have been taken to support this change. Letters have been sent to employees, the individuals we are supporting and their families explaining the changes in guidance and the implications on visiting services. Members were also reminded that Furlough was now back in place where appropriate.
The Committee discussed the potential for flexibility around managing annual leave to ensure colleagues are not disadvantaged where they have been unable to take leave due to their commitment to sustaining support during the past year. The committee noted that individual cases will be decided locally on their own merits.
The Committee were advised that the COVID-19 ‘Hub’ has now been established on the website and all Colleagues have been sent a link to the area. The Hub is there to provide useful information and guidance. This will be constantly updated as things change and will include a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ to help reduce uncertainty and any anxiety people may be suffering.
The Committee noted the current statistics around infection rates with 5.8% of the individuals we support currently infected. The Committee was sad to receive the news of the COVID-19 related death of one person during the Christmas break.
The Committee was pleased to note that the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in Wales has made good progress and that 42% of our colleagues in Wales have been vaccinated to date. The roll out in England is less advanced. 5 colleagues have been vaccinated in Stoke with 16 individuals we support in the region scheduled to receive the vaccine during the week beginning 11th January. Vaccination is also expected to commence at Abbeyvale in County Durham the week commencing 11th January. Encouragingly, requests for information in preparation for vaccinations, are starting to be received in other localities.
It was also noted that Flu Vaccine were now more readily available and we continue encourage all employees to be vaccinated where possible.
“The Committee wishes to express its gratitude and admiration for all of those people working at NCG and recognises the commitment they have continued to make throughout the year and over the Christmas and New Year period. We have heard amazing stories of people going the extra mile in many different ways to ensure the people they support are safe, secure and engaged”.