Health Minister announces Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland

On the 10 of September, the Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed his intention to bring forward a new Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland, to help protect care home residents and other vulnerable members of society.

This commitment is in response to the first report from an independent review commissioned to examine the health and social care system’s response to care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care Home which had previously been identified.

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Government publishes Adult Social Care Winter 2020/21 Plan

The government has now published its Winter Plan for Adult Social Care.  This detailed document sets out a plan for social care for adults of all ages for the coming months.  The Plan applies to England only.  It notes that COVID-19 will be circulating at the same time as normal winter flu and viruses, so there is likely to be additional pressure on the health and social care sector.  The Plan specifies the role central government will play as well as setting out its expectations for local authorities, NHS organisations and social care providers. 

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Joint statement by CQC & MHS published

In the face of recent criticism of its response to COVID-19, the CQC has issued a joint statement with the Deputy Chief Inspector for Mental Health Services (MHS) setting out their ongoing approach to the pandemic.

The full statement can be read here.

From 6 October, the CQC and MHS will commence a roll out of a new ‘transitional regulatory approach’ (TRA). The first areas to experience this will be adult social care and dental services.

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Care homes warned of a rise in COVID-19 cases

The Department of Health and Social Care contacted English care home providers via a letter last Friday to warn of the rise of COVID-19 cases in care homes.  This message was as a result of new data based upon regular testing of staff and residents now undertaken in the majority of care homes in England.   Testing data shows new infections have quadrupled in recent weeks, in particular amongst staff.  The concern is that the infections will spread to vulnerable residents. 

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Charity launches legal challenge to restrictions on care home visits

A dementia charity is seeking a judicial review of visiting restrictions set out in the government guidance in care homes.  Visiting restrictions were put in place earlier this year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic following official guidance to try and limit the spread of the virus amongst vulnerable residents.  However John’s Campaign, which fights for people with dementia to be supported by their family carers, says that in person visits by family members are crucial for these residents. 

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Lack of PPE may have contributed towards COVID-19 death of a home care client

There has been significant focus in the media in the last few months on the effect of COVID-19 on the care sector and in particular the lack of PPE available, especially at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

A recent report by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has highlighted confusing governmental guidance on whether home care carers should wear PPE or not.  The HSIB investigates patient safety in NHS funded care.  The HSIB report notes that the primary guidance produced by Public Health England on 6 April 2020 did not mention the need to wear PPE when caring for an “extremely clinically vulnerable” client.  Further guidance produced after the report did mention the need to wear PPE but the primary domiciliary care guidance was not updated until 13 May 2020 to confirm that PPE should be worn when visiting extremely clinically vulnerable clients.   

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COVID-19 – Clinical negligence protocol

A new protocol for the handling of clinical negligence claims during the COVID-19 crisis was agreed on 14 August 2020 between NHS Resolution (NHSR), the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) and Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA).  The Protocol has been modelled on a best practice approach to litigation agreed between APIL and FOIL.

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How many deaths in care have there actually been?

It is no secret that the spread of COVID-19 within the care sector has been the subject of significant media attention and cause for concern amongst those involved with care. But how hard can it be to answer the question: ‘How many deaths on care has there actually been?’ The answer is: it’s all in the detail. Continue reading “How many deaths in care have there actually been?”