On 11 June 2020, the Chief Coroner published his Guidance No 38, ‘Remote Participation in Coronial Proceedings via Video and Audio Broadcast’. This guidance builds upon Guidance No 35 dealing with hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic which we have commented on in previous blogs.
Since the lockdown began most inquests have been postponed, with coroners opening inquests and holding documentary inquests where no witnesses are called to give evidence.
The current pandemic has seen the increase in use of partially remote hearings where the court is satisfied that it is just to do so.
Continue reading “Partially remote hearings for inquests – New Chief Coroner Guidance”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provided guidance on when deaths from COVID-19 or instances of COVID-19 should be reported to it. The HSE emphasised RIDDOR reports were only required in relation to employees where a death had occurred as a result of occupational exposure to COVID-19 or a person had contracted COVID-19 in the workplace. When deciding on whether a RIDDOR report is required, a “responsible person” within the organisation should make an informed decision on whether a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 is likely to have been due to exposure at work.
Continue reading “RIDDOR reporting of deaths of health & social care employees due to COVID-19”
At the government’s daily COVID-19 briefing yesterday, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a further expansion of its testing programme for COVID-19 in care settings. Previously the focus had been on care homes providing care for over 65s and for those with dementia. Testing will now be available for all residents and staff in England whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Testing will also be extended to under 65s and to encompass for example adults with a learning disability or with mental health problems.
Continue reading “Expansion of COVID-19 testing in care settings”
In the past few months, one of the dominant news stories has been that of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social care sector. This has mostly focused upon the issues surrounding elderly care.
However, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has this week published an analysis regarding deaths of persons with a learning disability and/or autism. The analysis is based upon notifications from providers registered with the CQC where the death certificate indicates the deceased had a learning disability. This shows in the period 10 April to 15 May there was a 134% increase in deaths in comparison to the same period in 2019.
Continue reading “CQC publishes data on COVID-19 deaths & persons with a learning disability”
Our recent blogs have consistently focused on this developing saga as COVID-19 continues and as we as a nation compare ourselves to our counterparts, we are increasingly coming up short. There is a stark message coming through that our most vulnerable have been forgotten: the elderly in care homes, the detained in mental health units and those with learning disabilities.
Continue reading “Protecting the vulnerable in the midst of COVID-19”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) established the Emergency Support Framework (ESF) to ensure the CQC could continue to practice its regulatory function in maintaining safety across health and social care settings. Although all routine inspections are currently on hold, the CQC aims to use the ESF for the purpose of collating information and intelligence from a number of sources to assist the CQC with issues such as monitoring risk, identifying where support is required and delivering safe care.
Continue reading “CQC & ADASS emergency framework”
Despite early Government promises to the contrary, it always seemed obvious that the pandemic would hit care homes (residents, relatives and staff) with some force. A letter dated 22 May 2020 from the Relatives and Residents’ Association (RRA) to the CQC makes very clear the views of the RRA, who accuse the CQC of failing to protect care homes.
The RRA letter describes the following failings on the part of the CQC, and demands action :-
- Inadequate provision of data on care home deaths to the Government. Failing to do so resulted in the Government having inaccurate data and under-estimating the seriousness of the situation.
- Showing a lack of urgency, and instead complacency. For example, the CQC did nothing to rebut the early statement from Public Health England that it was “very unlikely” that care homes would be affected by the pandemic.
- Failing to represent the needs of care homes for PPE, testing and tracing.
- Providing guidance for care homes (the “Emergency Framework) only on 1 May, over six weeks after lockdown was announced, and even then, providing no guidance for care homes on how to deal with anxious families.
- Allowing standards to fall due to the decision to suspend inspections of care homes from 16 March 2020. (The CQC have said they would still arrange an inspection wherever they are aware of “significant risks” such as allegations of abuse, but otherwise, any monitoring is being carried out remotely. We understand that approximately 2000 checks of care homes have not been carried out in the last two months that otherwise would have been.)
Continue reading “The CQC and care homes – the COVID-19 crisis”
As part of the guidance from the British Geriatrics Society in relation to managing patients with or suspected to have COVID -19 in a care home setting, care home staff should be trained to check the temperature of residents displaying possible signs of COVID-19 using a tympanic thermometer. The guidance states that care home staff, where possible, should also be trained to measure other vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry and respiratory rate. This information can then be used by external healthcare practitioners such as GPs during virtual ward rounds and will help to triage and prioritise support of the care home residents and their care staff according to patient need.
Continue reading “COVID-19 – telemedicine in care homes”
During yesterday’s daily Downing Street briefing, Matt Hancock was asked by the BBC about his party’s election manifesto promises concerning social care reform.
Prior to the December general election, the Conservative party manifesto promised to reform social care. Matt Hancock was asked at the briefing yesterday by the BBC whether the government was still planning a cap on care fees that have to be met directly, and whether he accepted that social care reform could not be put off again.
Continue reading “Government is working to fulfil election manifesto promises regarding social care reform”
On 20 May 2020, the CQC published its first COVID-19 Insight document, said to be the first of its regular discussion documents on key issues affecting health and care.
The full document can be found here.
Continue reading ““CQC Insights” offers insight into key issues affecting adult social care providers”