Coronavirus – latest information for Longhurst Group Colleagues

 This page was updated: 08/01/2021

This page includes key information and advice for Longhurst Group colleagues about how the organisation is responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the steps colleagues should take.

This page will be regularly updated as the picture changes so please continue to monitor this page for the latest information.


After a very different Christmas for all of us, the usual optimism at the start of a New Year has been overshadowed by the continued presence of the Coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of a new nationwide lockdown.
 
While the rollout of the vaccine provides hope for the future, the severity of the here and now remains extremely sobering and, sadly, we are experiencing its full affects with an increasing number of residents and colleagues testing positive for the virus. 
 
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on Monday, 4 January, it’s absolutely crucial that we all continue to play our part and do everything we can to control the virus. 
 
Although many of the restrictions remain the same, the most significant change is the closure of schools, colleges and universities. We will again do everything we can to support people with caring responsibilities by providing a flexible and understanding approach. 
 
As outlined before Christmas, our offices are unlikely to fully reopen until April. The guidance from the Government is stronger in this regard, with people being urged to work from home unless they’re absolutely unable to do so.
 
With this in mind, we’d again remind colleagues that you must only visit an office if it’s absolutely essential to do so.

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Our offices - updated 08/01/2021

You should only visit an office if it's absolutely essential for you to do so.

Whether it's for essential work that can’t be done from home or because you're really struggling with home working, any visit to an office must be agreed with your line manager.

In line with the approach we’ve taken throughout the pandemic, if you're able to work from home then you should absolutely do so.

If you can't work from home, please speak to your line manager urgently. 

If you do need to visit an office, please ensure that you follow the steps outlined below to keep yourself and others safe. 

Before visiting

Before visiting an office, you must take the following five steps to prepare:

  1. Only visit an office if it’s absolutely essential for you to do so
  2. Agree the visit with your line manager
  3. Book a desk using the online booking form
  4. Familiarise yourself with the health and safety guidance
  5. Colleagues are also encouraged to download and activate the NHS Track and Trace app.

When visiting

If you're attending an office, it’s imperative that you take responsibility for your own health and safety, and that of others.
 
When visiting an office, you must follow these three guidelines:

  1. Sign the log-in book when you arrive and leave. Colleagues are also encouraged to scan the displayed NHS Track and Trace app QR code upon their arrival.
  2. Use the hand sanitiser provided, follow the desk hygiene guidance and maintain social distancing at all times.
  3. Wearing face coverings when walking around the office is encouraged. 

We’ve put together some clear guidance to help colleagues to work safely, comfortably and productively at home. Details of this can be found on Our Workplace

Our offices – key information

The section below will be updated as and when further information is available.

Boston

The Boston office is now open five days a week, but the number of people visiting is limited to those that absolutely need to visit the office, and strict social distancing measures need to be followed.

  • Desks have been made available based on the capacity to ensure social distancing. This means that fewer desks will be used, and colleagues will not be working in as close proximity.
  • Colleagues will only be able to book up to seven days in advance. 
  • Bookings will be limited and on a first come, first served basis. 

Booking a workspace

Colleagues have the option of morning or afternoon bookings.

  • Morning bookings are valid from 9am to 12pm
  • Afternoon bookings are valid from 1pm to 4pm.

Important information

  • Before making a booking, please make your line manager aware and gain their approval.
  • Please also ensure that you sign in and out of the building using the log-in sheets provided. 
  • Before attending the Boston office, it’s imperative that they familiarise themselves with an office induction document and our guidance around desk hygiene

Booking form

Rushden

The Rushden office is now open five days a week, but the number of people visiting is limited to those that absolutely need to visit the office, and strict social distancing measures need to be followed.

  • Desks have been made available based on the capacity to ensure social distancing. This means that fewer desks will be used, and colleagues will not be working in as close proximity.
  • Colleagues will only be able to book up to seven days in advance. 
  • Bookings will be limited and on a first come, first served basis. 

Booking a workspace

Colleagues have the option of morning or afternoon bookings.

  • Morning bookings are valid from 9am to 12pm
  • Afternoon bookings are valid from 1pm to 4pm.

Important information

  • Before making a booking, please make your line manager aware and gain their approval.
  • Please also ensure that you sign in and out of the building using the log-in sheets provided. 
  • Before attending the Rushden office, it’s imperative that they familiarise themselves with an office induction document and our guidance around desk hygiene

Booking form

Rutland VAR

Retaining office space at Rutland VAR

Based on what we’ve learned during the Coronavirus pandemic, our long-term vision remains to provide the best possible service to our customers and realise our vision, while working from fewer offices and travelling less.

As we seize this opportunity to think about how and where we’ll work, we’ve made a decision about the future of the Rutland VAR office in Oakham.

In the last few months, we’ve assessed the long-term future of the Rutland office and carefully considered the facilities we are likely to need.

The survey issued to all office-based colleagues in recent weeks will help us gain a clearer picture of the office space we’ll need in the future, at Rutland and other locations. But with our existing lease being up for renewal and negotiations taking place with Rutland VAR, we’ve had to prioritise understanding the space we need and make a decision.

After speaking to colleagues based at the office and gaining a full understanding of the logistical requirements of their role, as well as assessing the current office space and other nearby alternatives, we have decided to continue leasing a ground-floor space at Rutland VAR.

It is anticipated that this space will primarily be used by members of the Assistive Technology team, as a base between appointments with customers and to store key equipment.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, colleagues attending this office will be required to use a booking system to enable social distancing.

Colleagues outside of the Assistive Technology team will continue to work from home, both in the shorter and longer term.

In the coming weeks, as the results of our Returning Stronger survey are analysed and recommendations are made, we’ll have a better idea of the future requirements of colleagues.

Where absolutely necessary, alternative arrangements may be made for colleagues who are struggling to work from home, particularly in the shorter-term. This will be done on an individual basis and in conjunction with their line manager.

All colleagues based at Rutland VAR have already been made aware of these developments.

Once the new space is ready, a decision will be made about how and when it will reopen for a small number of colleagues to access.

All offices – site managers

Anybody who needs to visit an office for essential purposes should first agree this with their line manager and then contact the relevant site manager to arrange the best day and time to visit an office.

To reserve a desk space at Boston, please read the booking arrangements above and complete the booking form.

Site Managers have been appointed for most of our offices. Details of these are listed below:

  • Beechdale, Walsall: Sarah Lowe
  • Boston: Nick Worboys and Rob Griffiths
  • Bedworth: Joely Copson (supported by Lily Seddon)
  • Birmingham: Jackie Harris
  • Braithwaite Road: Sharon Peters
  • Grimsby: Denny Batty
  • Lincoln: Chris Parkinson
  • Nottingham: Andrena White
  • Peterborough: Mark Oldaker
  • Rushden: Thomas Purdy
  • Rutland VAR/Oakham: Charlotte Holley (supported by Andy Wright). 

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Emergency Care & Support deployments

With coronavirus cases on the increase, we’re likely to need to more colleagues in our Care and Support settings. As well as recruiting new staff, we’d again ask colleagues in other teams to consider coming forward to volunteer for emergency care and support deployments.
 
We received a really positive response to a similar appeal last year, with over 90 colleagues coming forward to express their interest and five colleagues going on to provide personal care and support to our customers.
 
Personal care and support will again be the area of greatest need, but colleagues may also be able to help with other roles, such as supporting the administration of testing.
 
If you want to help and you can, it’s absolutely critical that you come forward.

This will be a deployment rather than a secondment. During your core working hours you‘ll be paid at your normal rate of pay. 

Training will be provided where needed but this will take time to mobilise. That’s why we need people to come forward straight away.
 
If you want to help out, please speak to your line manager initially. More information about how to volunteer will be released in the coming days. 

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Working in customers' homes

The latest government guidance makes it clear that tradespeople, including our contractors, can continue to enter people’s homes.
 
We remain committed to providing both routine and emergency repairs, prioritising emergencies, as well as ongoing or planned work where it’s needed, to keep customers safe and secure.
 
With the likelihood that our contractors will be affected by operatives testing positive for the virus or needing to self-isolate, we’ll continue to review this position over the coming weeks.
 
All of our contractors will continue to follow health and safety guidance and have the necessary risk assessments in place to help keep customers safe and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
 
Before agreeing to schedule an appointment, our contractors will check whether anybody at the address has coronavirus or is displaying any of its associated symptoms.
 
More information about the services we’ll continue to provide our customers can be found here.
 
Social distancing guidance, risk assessments and other safety measures must continue to be followed in all settings.

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Track and trace for Coronavirus

Coronavirus testing

If you have Coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested within five days of becoming symptomatic. Tests can be arranged at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Please note that demand for testing remains high. If you don’t have symptoms, please don't arrange to take a test.

Care and Support colleagues who come into close contact with customers can be referred by the Group for testing if they're self-isolating because either they or member(s) of their household have symptoms.

If you're in this situation, please contact People Services to arrange an essential worker test referral for yourself and your household member.

If you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team because you have been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive, you must let People Services and their line manager know.

If the contact occurred during your work within a Care and Support service, whether that be with colleagues, residents or service users, a risk assessment will be carried out.

This will take into account the use (or otherwise) of PPE during the likely exposure, and you will be advised on the requirement to self-isolate.

You will only be tested if you develop symptoms. The rest of your household will only have to isolate if someone becomes ill.

If the test comes back negative, everyone in your household can go back to normal.

NHS COVID-19 App – Track and Trace

As you probably know, the Government has launched a new mobile phone app to support the NHS Track and Trace service.
 
The app is seen as a key part of the fight against Coronavirus in England and Wales.
 
The app will be used, alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify users if they come into contact with someone who later tests positive for Coronavirus.

Unique QR codes have already been installed in the reception areas of the Boston and Rushden offices and this will be replicated at other offices soon.

If you're visiting an office, please ensure that you have downloaded the NHS Track and Trace app and use it to scan the QR code upon entering the office. Please also continue to use the log sheets provided in reception to sign in and out of the office.

You can find out more about the new app and how to use it in the videos below. 

Managers of Care and Support colleagues are asked to remind members of their team to disable the app or turn off their phones when working in our schemes – but only when they are wearing full PPE – so as to avoid false alerts.

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Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Executive Director of Care and Partnerships, Louise Platt and Director of Care and Support, Bernadette Farrell, have recorded short videos to remind Care and Support colleagues of the importance of continuing to follow all of the guidance provided around social distancing and the donning and doffing PPE. 

Using PPE correctly

Our Director of Care and Support, Bernadette Farrell, has recorded a short video to remind Care and Support colleagues of the importance of continuing to follow all of the guidance provided around social distancing and the donning and doffing of PPE.

PPE – our guidance and processes

You will have heard about the struggles the NHS is having in providing adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their staff.

We are facing challenges of our own but would like to reassure colleagues that we are prioritising the issue of PPE to where it is needed the most to ensure that Care and Support colleagues providing personal care, or those in close proximity with residents, have the right protective equipment.

As with key workers in other sectors, Care and Support colleagues who are providing services to customers but are still able to follow the government guidance around social distancing while doing so, have not been issued with PPE.

A dedicated team, set up to help us to maintain the best possible care and support service, is working hard to procure as much equipment as we can to help us through the coming weeks.

Louise Platt has also recorded a video covering the guidance and processes we have in place for PPE.

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Living and working during the pandemic

Coronavirus: colleague wellbeing

  Coronavirus: colleague wellbeing

At Longhurst Group we understand the importance of supporting colleagues with their health and wellbeing, as well as enhancing their economic resilience.

To support colleagues going forwards, as well as helping you through these challenging times, we have created a page that outlines our free employee assistance programme and how you can access up-to-date financial information from CFED. Follow this link to find out more:

  Coronavirus: colleague wellbeing and support

Delivering core services

Fundamentally, we are following the Government advice as closely as we can, to keep people as safe as we possibly can and to try our very best to maintain the core and essential services that we provide to our customers.

As things change in during the course of the pandemic, it is possible that colleagues could be deployed in different roles and services to ensure that we can continue to provide these services.

Working, pay and what it means for you [UPDATED]

Working, pay and what it means for you

We have created a dedicated page that covers our approach to pay during this pandemic.

This page includes comprehensive information about the different scenarios colleagues may face during the coronavirus outbreak and our pay approach for each.

Coronavirus: working, pay and what it means for you

Annual leave

To help us to do everything we can to support customers and residents at a time when they need us the most, we need to remain as resilient as possible.  

With that in mind, colleagues who provide frontline care and support may be asked to cancel pre-booked annual leave to cover other colleagues who are absent due to illness or self-isolation. 

If this happens, colleagues who provide this cover will either be able to carry over up to 10 days' annual leave to the next financial year, or exchange the leave they haven't taken for payment. The rate of pay will be equivalent to the overtime rate paid during the pandemic so far. 
 
All other colleagues should ensure they've booked all of their outstanding annual leave before the end of this financial year.

In exceptional circumstances and, with the agreement of your line manager, you may be able to carry over more than the permitted five days' annual leave (pro-rata).
 
Line managers are asked to use their judgement about this on a case-by-case basis.

Working from home – ICT guidance and information

  Working from home – ICT guidance and information

Our ICT team has provided a complete rundown to getting set up for home working. Follow the link below to access advice, factsheets and contacts if you need any help.

  Working from home - ICT guidance

Out of hours support

  Out of hours support

During weekends, the following teams are offering an additional emergency out-of-hours service:

People Services

People Services will be on call at weekends between 8am and 8pm for emergency support and advice to managers and care and support colleagues.

If you need emergency support and advice please call:

Rachel Bennett: 07918 742 239 – this call may be directed to other colleagues

Communications

In the event of a crisis or urgent media enquiry or interview request from a member of the media, at any time during the week, please contact:

Jon Reeves: 07436 538 292
Matt Dannatt: 07795 447 296

If the call isn’t answered straight away, please leave a voicemail with clear information and contact details and the team will respond as soon as possible.

ICT

ICT operation will run from 8am to 5.15pm but support calls can be logged at any time through the ICT portal and will be picked up.

However, in emergencies, the team will be able to take support calls between 5.15pm to 8pm.

Further support with CCTV will be provided, on a rota basis, for care and support locations from 4 April.

Health and Safety

For urgent issues only, please contact:

Thomas Bolsher: 07584 346 043
Emma Basham: 07501 470 675

If the call isn’t answered straight away, please leave a voicemail with clear details and contact details and the team will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.

What steps should colleagues take in their day to day jobs?

Wash your hands

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use the anti-viral hand sanitisers that are available at all offices.

Catch it, bin it, kill it

If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose in your elbow or with a tissue. Throw the tissue away into a closed bin and clean your hands thoroughly. This can help to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
Please continue to follow advice around washing your hands thoroughly and regularly. Please always wash your hands:

  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at work
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving work and on arrival at home.

Colleagues handling post or cash should wash their hands as these items will have been handled by various people in transit.

We are doing everything we can to prepare in the event of care and support locations needing a deep clean. Where a symptomatic person has passed through a communal area, all handrails, door handles, surfaces that are touched, should be cleaned.

We have communicated with all of our contract/employed cleaners and increased routine daily cleaning of all high contact areas (door handles/releases, computer keyboards, bathrooms, kitchens) etc.

We have shared the government guidance on decontamination in non-healthcare settings and assured ourselves that provision is in place to undertake deep cleans of workplaces/homes in the event of a confirmed case.

Remember, if you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulties, or have lost your loss of sense of smell or taste, please seek early medical assistance.

Other sensible steps to take

For colleagues working away from office locations, as well as regular handwashing, please use hand sanitiser where this is available. Where supplies are unavailable, please consider using local facilities that may have hand sanitisers that you can access within your working area.

Public Health England recommends avoiding direct or close contact (within two metres) with anybody who is potentially infected with the virus. Please be mindful of reducing close contact with people showing symptoms of the virus (cough, difficulty breathing, fever, loss of sense of smell or taste).

Childcare and caring responsibilities [UPDATED]

With schools now closed, many colleagues will have concerns about juggling their work alongside childcare and home schooling.
 
The children of people identified as key workers, such as our Care and Support colleagues, should still be able to attend school and other education settings.

However, we believe that due to the services we provide, many more of our colleagues could be classed as key workers. If you'd like the Group to write a letter to your child's school outlining how, in your role, you could be classed as a key worker, please contact the People Services team. 
 
It appears as though some schools are suggesting that only children whose parents are both key workers will be able to attend school. This is contrary to government guidance and, where it occurs, we’ll look to contact schools to raise our concerns.
 
If you’re in this situation, please contact the People Services team.

If you’re unable to find alternative childcare during working hours, either through other family members, forming a childcare bubble with one other household, or child-minding services which remain available, you must discuss your working arrangements with your line manager.
 
During this extended lockdown period, colleagues are likely to need to work with children present or to agree a flexible working arrangement, which may include changing their hours.
 
If you’re in this situation, please speak to your line manager as soon as possible. 
 
Managers are asked to assess people’s requirements on a case-by-case basis and to flag any concerns to their Director or Executive Director.

Time off and pay

Colleagues are entitled to take up to 10 days’ Special Leave to provide childcare during this lockdown period. This 10-day entitlement remains in place for the rest of the 2020/21 financial year and includes any special leave you’ve already taken.
 
After these 10 days (in total) have been used, you’ll need to take annual leave or unpaid leave, unless you're able to agree a more flexible working arrangement with your line manager.

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Coronavirus and travel

Public transport closures

As and when any public transport closures are announced, we would like to reassure frontline colleagues that should you need to use a taxi to get to your work location, we will reimburse you for this cost.

Please keep a receipt for any journeys to and from work which are made via taxi and claim these back through your expenses.

Non-essential travel

Please do not travel between offices or other work locations. If you feel it is absolutely essential for you to travel, please speak to your line manager.

All meetings, training, events and conferences should now be cancelled or take place remotely using the available technology.

Travelling abroad

Following the government announcement that people travelling to various countries will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival back home and, in recognition of what’s likely to be an ever-changing picture, we have updated our guidance for colleagues travelling outside of the UK.

The latest list of countries where quarantine measures are not in place upon return to the UK can be found here.

Before booking a trip or travelling abroad, please check this list to see whether you’ll be required to self-isolate for 10 days upon your return.

Please also bear in mind that, as we’ve seen with Spain and other countries, quarantine restrictions could be reinstated or introduced for people returning from any country at any point.

If the country you are travelling to is not on this updated list and you are required to self-isolate for 14 days when you return, then you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Before travelling, you will be required to provide contact details and the address you will self-isolate from upon your return.
  • You must complete the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive back to England.
  • Once returning home, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you don’t provide contact details, you could be fined £100 and if you refuse to self-isolate, you could be fined £1,000.
  • Travel outside of the UK remains limited and subject to the rules implemented by different countries. You should check government guidance on travelling to specific countries before your journey.

Longhurst Group’s guidance

With the ongoing pandemic creating an uncertain and unpredictable situation, the Group would advise colleagues to think very carefully about making new arrangements to travel outside of the UK in the coming weeks and months.

If you would be unable to fulfil your normal duties at home during a 14-day quarantine period then – in line with government guidance - you are advised not to make new arrangements to travel outside of the UK, unless this travel is deemed as essential.

Colleagues who are able to work from home will continue to do so during a 14-day quarantine period following their holiday.

Colleagues who are unable to work from home and booked their holiday before May 1, 2020, will be entitled to their normal contractual pay during the 14-day quarantine period, even though they are unable to fulfil their normal duties. If appropriate, alternative duties can be found then colleagues may be required to carry these out during this two-week period.

If you are travelling to a country where quarantine rules are in place following your return to England, we have created the following scenarios and guidance to help you understand what this will mean for you.

Scenario One

I booked my holiday before May 1, 2020. When I return to England, I am able to continue my role while in quarantine for 14 days at home.
 
Guidance: You can continue working from home as you have been during the Coronavirus pandemic without the need to book any extra annual leave.

Scenario Two

I booked my holiday before May 1, 2020. When I return to England, I am not able to continue my role while in quarantine for 14 days at home.
 
Guidance: You will be entitled to your normal contractual pay during the 14-day quarantine period. If appropriate, you may be given alternative duties to carry out during this two-week period.

Scenario Three

I booked my holiday on or after May 1, 2020. When I return to England, I am able to continue my role while in quarantine for 14 days at home.
 
Guidance: You can continue working from home as you have been during the Coronavirus pandemic without the need to book any extra annual leave.

 

Scenario Four

I booked my holiday on or after May 1, 2020. When I return to England, I am not able to continue my role while in quarantine for 14 days at home.
 
Guidance: You will have to take additional annual leave, unpaid leave or a combination of both, to cover the 14-day quarantine period.

 

An ever-changing picture

Following the sudden and unpredicted change in circumstances to countries, such as Spain, it is possible that colleagues may have booked a trip believing they wouldn’t need to quarantine on their return to the UK, and will now have to quarantine for 14 days.

If you made travel arrangements between Monday 6 July 2020 (when quarantine restrictions had been lifted) and Saturday 25 July (when quarantine restrictions were reinstated), and you are unable to continue your role at home during the 14-day quarantine period, please speak to your line manager.

Line managers will refer individual cases to a Director for guidance and the best possible solution will be agreed.

Making new arrangements to travel abroad

Colleagues should follow government advice and avoid any non-essential travel to countries where quarantine measures are in place upon your return.

Colleagues travelling to any country should be mindful that quarantine restrictions upon your return to the UK could be introduced or reinstated at any point.

If you are unable to carry out your normal duties while working from home, please think very carefully about making any new arrangements for non-essential travel abroad.

As outlined earlier, if you made travel arrangements after May 1 and are not able to continue your role at home, you will have to take additional annual leave, unpaid leave or a combination of both, to cover the 14-day quarantine period.

If in doubt, please discuss this situation with your line manager or speak to People Services for further guidance.

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Falling ill with Coronavirus – advice for colleagues

Government guidelines and our responsibilities

We take our responsibilities as an employer extremely seriously and want to ensure that everybody is following the government guidelines. This will help us to do everything we can to keep everyone safe.

Shielding

If you have been contacted by the NHS and advised that you need to shield yourself at home, it is crucial that you inform your line manager and People Services immediately.

  Frontline care and support colleagues within this category must stop coming into work. 

High-risk groups

If you are more vulnerable and classed by the government as being in a high-risk group (including people with underlying health conditions, those over 70 and those who are pregnant), it is crucial that you inform your line manager and People Services immediately.

What to do if you think you have Coronavirus [UPDATED]

The Uk Government website confirms that the symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

There are several other symptoms linked with COVID-19. These other symptoms may have another cause and are not on their own a reason to have a COVID-19 test. If you are concerned about your symptoms, seek medical advice.

In the unlikely event that a Longhurst Group colleague has confirmed coronavirus, the organisation will immediately undertake a risk assessment to determine who they have been in contact with and work with health professionals as per NHS advice to help prevent further spread.

Symptoms and self-isolation

If you have any of the symptoms associated with Coronavirus, however mild, please contact People Services as soon as possible and follow the government and NHS advice to stay at home and self-isolate for ten days.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 11 online, call NHS 111 for dial 999 in a medical emergency.

If you feel well enough and can work from home, please do so. Your line manager or other colleagues will check in with you by phone on a daily basis over the isolation period to maintain communication and provide support. 

If you are feeling too unwell or are unable to work from home, please speak to your line manager.

During self-isolation, please stay at least two metres (about three steps) away from other people in your home, sleep alone (if possible) and wash your hands regularly, for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.

Stay away from vulnerable people, such as older people and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible.

Underlying health conditions include people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease and respiratory conditions.

For more information please visit gov.uk

Coronavirus testing

Using the Coronavirus self-testing kit

In the video below, which has been produced by the Department of Health and Social Care, Dr Amir Khan explains how to use the self-testing kit for Coronavirus.

Dr Khan runs through the process of conducting the simple nasal and throat swab and details the steps needed to ensure a test is correctly returned for processing.

The Coronavirus Testing Call Centre can be contacted on 0300 303 2713 between the hours of 7am and 11pm. This service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 0300 303 2713.

As you’ll have seen on the news, Coronavirus testing is gradually becoming more accessible for key workers, with more mobile testing centres being opened and an increased number of appointments becoming available.  

People Services are on hand to support colleagues, including those in Care and Support and those providing other frontline services, through the testing process, but you can do your bit to help things run as smoothly as possible.

If you or a member of your household have symptoms associated with Coronavirus, please ensure that you make your line manager and People Services aware as soon as possible.

On a daily basis, People Services are submitting a list to Public Health England of all of our key workers who have reported having these symptoms, as well as those that have reported that a member of their household has symptoms.

Those included on this list will then receive a text message from Public Health England, prompting them to book a test within 48 hours.

If colleagues need any support with booking a test, they are asked to speak to People Services or their line manager.

If you have a test booked, please let People Services and your line manager know when it is booked for and the result of the test.

Louise Platt has recorded a video covering the testing process and how we can help colleagues through this.

Guidance around self-isolating

With Coronavirus cases on the rise and contact tracing identifying an increasing number of people who may have come into close contact with somebody that has tested positive, it's important to remember what processes to follow if you're required to self-isolate.

Whether you have tested positive for Coronavirus or you're self-isolating because you have symptoms or have been identified as being in close contact with someone that has tested positive, it's imperative that you inform your line manager and People Services straight away.

Even if you're able to work from home and feeling well enough to do so, it's absolutely crucial that you make your manager and People Services aware that you are self-isolating, so that we can build up a clear picture of the number of colleagues experiencing this situation.

Further guidance about when you need to self-isolate and what you should do is detailed below: 

When should I self-isolate?

You are required to self-isolate for at least 10 days if:

     
  • You test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) or show symptoms
  • You have been in close contact* with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus.
  •  

You are required to self-isolate for 14 days if:

     
  • You live with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms.
  • Someone in your support bubble has tested positive or has symptoms.
  • You are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate.
  •  

*Close contact is defined as: 

    • Face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus.
    • Being within two metres of someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus, for more than 15 minutes.
    • Travelling in a small vehicle (such as a car) with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus.
    • Travelling in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus.

When don't I need to self-isolate?

You don't need to self-isolate if:

  • A member of your household is required to self-isolate but doesn’t have symptoms (This could include children sent home from nursery or somebody contacted by NHS Test and Trace). If the individual develops symptoms, colleagues would then need to self-isolate.
  • You work in Care and Support providing personal care and come into contact with a colleague or customer who has tested positive or has symptoms, as long as you were wearing appropriate PPE while in contact with this person.
  • You have been at work with a colleague who has tested positive or has symptoms, but the workplace is COVID-secure and has followed government guidelines.
What happens if I become ill or have to self-isolate?

Sickness leave and pay

Visit Coronavirus: working, pay and what it means for you for a full review of the Group's work and pay arrangements during the Coronavirus pandemic 

Pre-existing health issues

If you have significant health issues and are concerned you may be at higher risk of contracting coronavirus, please speak to your line manager and ensure that people People Services are aware that you have consider yourself to be at risk. If you are well enough and happy to do so, please continue to come to work or work from home, if you are able to do so.

If you develop any of the symptoms associated with the virus, please seek immediate advice from NHS 111 and contact your line manager so that a risk assessment can be conducted.

Self-isolation guidance for health and care settings

Public Health England has published updated guidance on the management of people in health and social care settings according to exposure, symptoms and test results. 

The self-isolation period has reduced from 14 to 10 days for health and social care workers. If you are returning to work following a coronavirus test, there are two flowcharts that indicate the process to follow, whether you are symptomatic or asymptomatic.

The isolation period remains at 14 days for care home residents and for anybody (including all care and support colleagues) who has been admitted to hospital due to a confirmed case of Covid-19. 

Guidance for colleagues working in care settings

If you have been admitted to hospital as a result of Covid-19, you should isolate for 14 days from your first positive PCR test result. As indicated above, this applies to all care and support colleagues admitted to hospital as a result of Covid-19.

If you’re notified as a contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the community (outside the health or social care setting or your place of work), you should inform your line manager and self-isolate for 10 days, in line with guidance for non-household contacts.

This advice should be followed regardless of the results of any previous SARS-CoV-2 PCR test or antibody test results. A positive antibody result signifies previous exposure, but it is currently unknown whether this correlates with immunity, including protection against future infections.

Residents who are known to have been exposed to a confirmed Covid-19 patient (an exposure similar to a household setting), should be isolated or cohorted only with residents who do not have Covid-19 symptoms but also have been exposed to COVID-19 residents, until 14 days after last exposure. This also applies to residents who have previously recovered from Covid-19 and have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Guidance for colleagues working in supported living

If you test positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test, even if you are asymptomatic.

Your household should also stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day the test was taken. If any member of the household develops symptoms of Covid-19 during the 10-day period, they should continue to stay at home and isolate for 10 days after the onset of their symptoms, in line with the stay at home guidance. The individual should also arrange a test to check if they have Covid-19.

Coronavirus-related absences: reporting an absence and returning to work

Coronavirus-related absences: reporting an absence and returning to work

Reporting a Coronavirus-related absence

It’s crucial that all colleagues report any Coronavirus-related absences to People Services.

If a colleague or a family member have any symptoms which require them to be absent from work, or they’ve been told they need to shield, please also pass this on to People Services.

If a member of your team has symptoms but is still working from home or they have been tested for Covid-19, either because they’re unwell or as part of a local testing scheme for care and support workers, please inform People Services to ensure we have an accurate picture of who is affected across the business.

  Reporting an absence
Please report absence to the People Services Team on 01205 319623 or by email to peopleservicesteam@longhurst-group.org.uk

 Advice and further information
For more information about the procedure for coronavirus-related absence, please read the latest coronavirus-related absence form.

If you’d like advice on either absence or supporting colleagues impacted by coronavirus, please email employee.relations@longhurst-group.org.uk or contact one of our dedicated COVID-19 Employee Support team members, Rav Brahach (for non-care) on 0247 684 8148 or Monika Baginska (for Care and Support) on 01205 319 644.

Returning to work after a Coronavirus-related absence

To help colleagues navigate their return to work following a Coronavirus-related absence, a specific form has been created.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) return to work form covers the reason colleagues may have been absent – including illness and self-isolation - and provides guidance around the questions that line managers will need to ask.

Please use this form for all Coronavirus-related absences. Once completed, please email them to People Services.

  Download
Access and download the Return to Work form on Our Workplace.

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  Press enquiries

Should you receive a media enquiry, this must be passed on to Jon Reeves or Matt Dannatt in the Communications Team as soon as possible.

Colleagues should not comment or agree to being interviewed without the Communications Team being informed first.

In the event of a crisis or urgent media enquiry or interview request from a member of the media, at any time during the week, please contact:

Jon Reeves: 07436 538 292
Matt Dannatt: 07795 447 296

If the call isn’t answered straight away, please leave a voicemail with clear information and contact details and the team will respond as soon as possible.

 Further questions

If you have any queries or concerns, then please speak to your line manager or alternatively contact the People Services team on the details below.

  01205 319 623

  PeopleServicesTeam@longhurst-group.org.uk

  Further updates

Communication updates will be issued on a regular basis, via email and on this page – longhurst-group.org.uk/coronavirus.

 Workplace Facebook

Workplace Facebook is a fundamental tool for colleagues to use to stay updated, keep in touch and continue to virtually work as one team. 

If you have not already activated an account on Workplace Facebook, please take this opportunity to do so as soon as possible. A dedicated group will be set up for all Coronavirus-related communications in the coming days.

If you need any support with using Workplace Facebook, please contact the Communications team.



    
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