Department of Health and Social Care | 5th June 2020
Healthcare providers can order additional personal protective equipment (PPE) through the portal to top up their existing supplies for COVID-19 in an emergency. The PPE portal can be used by social care and primary care providers to order and receive critical coronavirus (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE).
Providers who can use the service will receive an email invitation to register.
Further detail: PPE portal: how to order emergency personal protective equipment
UK Research and Innovation | April 2020| Can face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Because surgical masks are vital for healthcare workers, it is natural for the public to assume that they will be of wider benefit in preventing COVID-19. WHO recommends that a household member who has symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a mask. A person caring for people with symptoms should wear a mask whilst with them, with careful handwashing and disposal. WHO does not recommend the use of masks by healthy people in the community. Health authorities in the US, but not in the UK, are currently recommending that the public wear masks for protection.
Read the full piece from the UKRI
Can face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Department of Health and Social Care | April 2020 | Mobile coronavirus testing units to target frontline workers
Essential workers and the most vulnerable will receive increased access to coronavirus tests after the government unveiled a network of mobile testing units to travel where there is significant demand, including care homes, police stations and prisons.
The number of new mobile units is being scaled up after a successful pilot last week, which saw Department of Health and Social Care vehicles refitted to fully functioning testing sites, following a design developed by the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Today, there are 8 existing mobile units carrying out tests across the country, including in Salisbury, Southport and Teesside.
- Units will respond to areas of highest demand, travelling to test frontline workers and the most vulnerable at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons
- The new units will work alongside the country’s drive-through test sites, sending patient samples to the network of Lighthouse Labs, to rapidly increase the number of tests done each day
(Source: Department of Health and Social Care)
Full release: Mobile coronavirus testing units to target frontline workers
The Infection Prevention Society and the Central Sterilising Club |April 2020 | Strategies for managing acute shortages of personal protective equipment.
“The reuse and reprocessing of personal protective equipment (PPE) “must be a last-resort temporary measure”, according to new guidance from infection prevention experts.
The Infection Prevention Society (IPS) and the Central Sterilising Club (CSC) have published a joint paper titled Strategies for managing acute shortages of personal protective equipment. The paper provides infection prevention and control teams with a checklist of actions and practical strategies that can be used to inform local risk assessments to manage shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Re-use and reprocessing of PPE must be a last-resort temporary measure that is implemented for a limited time period to enable stocks to be replenished.
It has been developed by the Infection Prevention Society and Central Sterilising Club expert members and is aligned to Public Health England (PHE), World Health Organisation (WHO), Centers for Disease Prevention & Control (CDC) guidelines. Information is also available from the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estates Management.
They have drawn up a checklist of “actions and practical strategies” that can be used by infection prevention and control teams to inform local risk assessments to manage acute shortages of PPE.
Strategies for managing acute shortages of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic
Nursing Times Reuse of PPE must be ‘temporary last resort’ in event of ‘acute shortage’
Royal Society for Public Health | April 2020|One in five public unsure about getting coronavirus vaccine, if available
Polling of the UK public under lockdown, conducted by RSPH, has revealed that if a coronavirus vaccine were available, almost a fifith (19%) either would not get the jab (4%) or are not sure if they would (15%).
This finding is set against a context of declining vaccine coverage rates in the UK in recent years and worrying levels of mistrust in the safety of vaccines globally.
Among the 81% of respondents who said they would get the vaccine, the main reasons given were as expected – to protect themselves and others – but for the remaining 19% a variety of different explanations were given. These concerns will become clearer over time as the crisis progresses and deeper research is conducted, but the major theme was a lack of trust. Respondents had concerns around the safety, contents and efficacy of a vaccine – either due to the short timeframe and rigorous testing required, or pre-existing nervousness about side effects from vaccines.
Other explanations given by the 19% who did not say yes included:
- feeling that they have immunity already, as they believe they have had the virus
- a lack of understanding over whether they would be eligible, for example if they don’t ordinarily get offered the flu jab
- wanting other people to have the vaccine before them
- having encountered rumours about the vaccine on social media, for example that it will be contaminated with the virus
More in-depth research into perceptions of a potential Covid-19 vaccine is required to understand the prevalence and strength of any specific concerns amongst the public. It is crucial that, when any vaccine currently in development is eventually made available, public confidence in the stringent development process and final product is as high as possible, to ensure wide-spread uptake among the population.
Full unedited news release from Royal Society for Public Health
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Public Health England | April 2020 | COVID-19: guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions within hospitals and discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital to home settings
This guidance provides advice on appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions for patients recovering or recovered from COVID-19 and remaining in hospital, or being discharged to their own home or residential care.
Guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging COVID-19 patients
Guidance on infection prevention and control for COVID-19 | Public Health England
This guidance outlines the infection prevention and control advice for health and social care providers involved in receiving, assessing and caring for patients who are a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19. It should be used in conjunction with local policies.
On 2 April 2020, the main changes to previous guidance are:
- enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of health and social care contexts
- inclusion of individual and organisational risk assessment at local level to inform PPE use
- recommendation of single sessional (extended) use of some PPE items
- re-usable PPE can be used. Advice on suitable decontamination arrangements should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control
- guidance for when case status is unknown and SARS-CoV-2 is circulating at high levels
- recommendation on patient use of facemasks
Full detail at Public Health England
COVID-19 Guidance For NHS Workforce Leaders | NHS Employers
This guidance aims to help provide protection and support for NHS staff. It deals with the workforce and HR issues that are likely to arise during the current pandemic and is intended to supplement and help enact local plans.
The guidance in today’s release covers Staff health, safety and wellbeing – including advice on dealing with COVID-19 from Public Health England and the NHS Staff Council; occupational health services; staff with co-morbidities; personal protective equipment; emotional and mental support during the emergency period.
NHS Employers plans to publish further guidance later this week, which will cover:
- staff terms and conditions of service
- communicating with your workforce during the pandemic
- increasing capacity through bringing back staff and additional sources of supply
partnership working and facilities time
- enabling staff movement across organisations
- assurance around indemnity arrangements, pre-employment checks and professional registration.
Full detail: Health, Safety and Wellbeing | NHS Employers
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is seeking evidence to inform possible changes to the HPV immunisation programme, asking for evidence around one-dose schedules for the HPV vaccine | Department of Health and Social Care
The JCVI is asking for evidence to support a review of possible changes to the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme.
JCVI is interested in relevant evidence to support consideration of the potential to move to a single-dose schedule of HPV vaccine for the routine programme and other alternative dose HPV schedules.
This call for evidence may be of particular interest to those who work in the field of HPV and immunisation, including:
- clinical researchers
- mathematical modellers
- health economists
- public health practitioners
- sexual health
- implementation commissioning and delivery
- the pharmaceutical industry
Full detail at Department of Health and Social Care
What the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what it plans to do next.
This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done – and plans to do – to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, based on experience dealing with other infectious diseases and influenza pandemic preparedness work. The exact response to COVID-19 will be tailored to the nature, scale and location of the threat in the UK, as understanding of it develops.
The document sets out:
- what we know about the virus and the disease it causes
- how we have planned for an infectious disease outbreak such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- the actions taken so far in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- what we are planning to do next, depending on the course the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak takes
- the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future
Full detail: Coronavirus action plan | The Department of Health and Social Care