Covid-19 Update: Latest Briefing | Vaccine FAQs | Priority Vaccination Letter for Carers | Antiviral Treatment Trial

There’s lots of information in this latest Covid-19 update, including the latest briefing and vaccine FAQs. There’s also a priority booster vaccine letter for carers, and information on a new antiviral treatment trial.

This Covid-19 update covers the release of the latest Covid-19 Briefing from the Health Influencing Team, which can be downloaded below along with the latest FAQs about the Covid-19 vaccine. There’s also information on priority vaccinations for carers, including a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID to use as proof of status. Lastly, there’s some information about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Full details on all of these topics can be found below.


Latest Covid-19 Briefing & Vaccine FAQs

The latest Covid-19 Internal Briefing is available for you to download below along with the latest FAQs on the Covid-19 Vaccine. The Briefing contains information on the Omicron variant along with some upcoming key dates. The vaccine FAQ covers questions recently asked by Brand Partners on the topic of vaccination and their obligations as employers.

Both documents are for internal use only.


Priority booster vaccinations for paid and unpaid carers

Care staff and unpaid carers should be given priority at vaccination sites in order to get their booster jab. Please find below a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID as proof of status. We encourage you to download and share this letter with any relevant contacts across your networks to ensure that all frontline health care workers, social care staff, and unpaid carers can access a booster jab with as much ease as possible. Thank you.


New NHS Study into Antiviral Treatments for Coronavirus

Age UK’s Health Influencing Team have also been asked to raise awareness about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Antivirals are a treatment usually taken in the early phase of an illness as soon as symptoms are detected, they aim to contain the virus and prevent it from progressing into a more serious illness.

Eligible patients will be contacted by the study team or a local healthcare professional to consider enrolling in the study, so we wanted to let you know about the study in case you receive any questions from those you work with.

This is not a medical trial, these treatments have already been approved by the MHRA as the medical regulator as safe and effective. The aim is to see whether prescribing the drugs as standard to some groups of patients when they test positive for coronavirus can help significantly reduce the number of people who need hospital care.

There are two possible treatments available:

  • The PANORAMIC national study is trialling oral antiviral drugs that can be taken at home. Anyone over the age of 50, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus within the last 5 days and has active symptoms, can volunteer to get involved. Antiviral drugs will be sent directly to people’s homes and individuals will be supported by a remote medical team. Care home residents are also eligible to participate and some care homes are working directly with the study organisers.
  • In addition, the most high risk patients are proactively being offered direct access to intravenous antivirals. These drugs are administered in hospital via a drip and are only available to those groups. Eligible potential patients will receive a letter or email explaining the trial and providing more information on how they will be contacted to participate if they test positive. Individuals who meet the criteria but have not been contacted can ask to be included via their GP or consultant.

The briefing below provides more information on the study, the treatments and eligible patients:

Fundraising Bulletin #17 – Updates on Public, Corporate, Trusts and Public Sector Funding | December 2021

The latest fundraising bulletin is now available for you to view below. The Fundraising Team would also like to wish you a happy and restful Christmas!

Welcome to the latest and last funding bulletin of 2021. Although a bit briefer than normal, there are some new grant opportunities that could make an important difference to your work in your communities. There is also a short survey from the Age UK Wellbeing department to complete. Wishing you a happy and restful Christmas from the Fundraising team!

You can view or download the Bulletin below:


New guidance on the benefits of physical activity for those living with long-term conditions

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has published a consensus statement on the benefits of physical activity for those living with long-term conditions. View the guidance along with some useful infographics below.

A review of the evidence about the risks of physical activity has led to new guidance to support health care professionals to have evidence-based conversations with people with long-term conditions, to empower them to gain the benefits from moving more. The key message is that the risk of adverse events when getting active is low. Find out about the guidance below, including some infographics to help spread the word.

The benefits of physical activity for people living with long-term conditions are well established. Through campaigns such as ‘We Are Undefeatable’, we know that the fear of increasing symptoms or worsening long-term problems commonly stops people from moving more. In fact, people living with long term conditions are twice as likely to be inactive.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published new guidance in a consensus statement, making clear that the benefits of being active outweigh the risks for those living with long-term conditions. This comprises a series of statements about medical risks drawn up by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, Sport England, Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly Public Health England) and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The key message is that the risk of adverse events when getting active is low, and that physical activity is safe, even for people with multiple long term conditions. Regular physical activity, in combination with standard medical care, has an important role to play in the treatment and prevention of many conditions.

The statements can be found on the Moving Medicine website, here: Risks from physical activity – Moving Medicine.

How you can help to spread the word

If you have time and would like to help to spread the word, you can use the assets below to share the statements through your local networks and social media channels, or use them in conversations with those you support.

The graphics for social media posts can be found here: Risk consensus statement graphics – Moving Medicine

An infographic of the statements can be downloaded as a two-page PDF here: Risk Consensus Statements Infographic

Age UK’s response to White Paper on social care

Following publication of the long-awaited White Paper on social care, Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams has released a statement which can be read in full below.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:

“This White Paper sets out some important, long overdue policy advances, but lack of investment means any changes will be modest and slow to arrive, whereas the scale of the challenge is huge and demands urgent action now. The millions of older and disabled people putting up with inadequate services, if they get any service at all, needed the Paper to turbo-charge a process of transformation, but that was never going to be possible with the meagre funding allocated by the Treasury to it at the Spending Review. Rather than the Formula One vehicle that was required, the Paper is an underpowered saloon car at best.

Over time, the Paper’s provisions to improve data collection, spread the use of IT across the care sector and put in place a stronger workforce infrastructure are likely to prove extremely valuable, the foundations of a less intensely fragile system in future. However, in all honesty most people would reasonably expect these basics to be in place already. The fact they are not reflects how badly social care has been neglected by governments for far too long. The Paper signals an important acknowledgement that this must now change, but one can’t help but be conscious of just how far there is to go before every older and disabled person who needs a decent care service actually receives it – we are way behind some other comparable countries in this respect. 

Meanwhile, Rome burns. Chronic workforce shortages are the biggest concern and seem to be getting worse, with uncompetitive pay the main culprit. There is nothing in the Paper to suggest the Government has any real strategy for dealing with it, given the lack of care funding overall. If Covid surges this winter because of the new variant these workforce problems will be magnified, with potentially disastrous consequences. There are similar concerns about unpaid carers collapsing after an unbelievably challenging twenty months too.

Mapping out a positive journey is incredibly hard when you are essentially in the midst of a crisis, the ground wobbling below your feet. That’s where social care is today, and it means that until the Government does more to put out the immediate fires, any efforts to craft a better future always risk achieving much less than they should or being undermined along the way.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance

Sources of Support for Local Partners – Latest Information

Age UK’s Quality & Transformation Team have shared an updated sources of support guide for Autumn/Winter 2021-22. Find out full details below.

As we face another challenging winter, the Quality and Transformation team wanted to remind local partners of the help and support that is still available to you. The team have updated the guide below which draws together a range of useful resources which can either be accessed directly (via this site, The Loop or through external organisations) or by contacting your Regional Link. Contact details for Regional Links are listed in the guide but if you have any questions, comments or concerns please email COVID-19EnquiryLine@ageuk.org.uk.

The full guide can be viewed or downloaded below:

Christmas Fundraising Campaign – Campaign Assets now live on Brand Hub

The campaign assets for this year’s Christmas Fundraising Campaign are now available on Brand Hub! Find full details here.

Following on from our recent update about our Christmas Fundraising Campaign, the first batch of Christmas assets are now available on Brand Hub to help you promote your Christmas campaigns on social media. If you click into ‘Assets’ they are right at the top. You will see three different versions of wording for social media, as well as images that are the correct dimensions for those channels.

Last year, you may remember that we adapted our campaign messaging to reflect the increased level of need, with the campaign line ‘Now more than ever, no one should have no one’. This year, we have a new campaign proposition asking supporters to ‘Make Christmas a little brighter for a lonely older person’. Full details can be found here.

A reminder of what you’ll see and where of Age UK’s national campaign

Online: We will be launching an integrated fundraising and brand campaign across our social channels which you may see on Facebook and Instagram, as well as testing new channels such as YouTube and Online Display to really make our campaign as digital first as possible. When streaming TV on digital channels you may also see some videos of Age UK storytellers.

Offline: We have inserts, door drops, partially addressed mail and our Warm Appeal all launching in November. As usual, we will have some PR activity around Christmas and be looking at ways we can involve our celebrity ambassadors to generate coverage and amplify our campaign.

The campaign will be driven by the experiences of real people who have been supported by Age UK’s national Telephone Friendship Services who have been kind enough to share their stories. Our lead storyteller is Terry, who you will see on the majority of our creative, and our two supporting storytellers are Connie and Michael.  All three of them will feature heavily across our digital channels, as well as in print. We are so grateful to them all for sharing their stories with us to help support the Christmas campaign.

Useful contacts 

We’d love it if you’d like to get involved in the campaign this year.  If you have any questions, please find some useful contacts below:

Important Guidance on Obligatory Vaccinations for all CQC Registered Services

From 1st April 2022, individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England (including secondary and primary care) must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, regardless of their employer.

On 11th November it became obligatory for all people that work in a care home in any capacity, to be double vaccinated against Covid-19. This same obligation is also being placed on any organisation with a CQC registered service or any with a patient/client facing workforce operating as part of a CQC-regulated service. From 1st April 2022, individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, regardless of their employer, including secondary and primary care. Find out more below, including who this regulation applies to and next steps you can take.

On 11th November, it became obligatory for all people that work in a care home in any capacity, to be double vaccinated against Covid-19. That meant that care homes had to dismiss (or redeploy out of the service) any of their staff and volunteers who had not been vaccinated by that date. In order to do this, they needed to prepare, both in terms of gathering the appropriate data on their workforce and also thinking about the process they needed to go though with any staff that were not double vaccinated by the deadline.

The New Regulation

This same obligation is now also placed on any organisation with a CQC registered service or any with a patient/client facing workforce operating as part of a CQC-regulated service. From 1st April 2022 individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of their employer, including secondary and primary care.

The government regulations are expected to come into effect from 1 April 2022, subject to parliamentary process. This means that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline.

We know from the implementation of this new regulation in the care home sector that not every single volunteer and staff member will have been vaccinated by the deadline. Some people may refuse the vaccine for health reasons or other reasons personal to themselves. It is very likely that mandatory vaccinations in care services will put some people off coming into or staying in the care sector for their employment.

The overriding risk therefore is that this new regulation will increase the number of staff vacancies and make it more difficult to recruit to care services.

Who does the regulation apply to?

The new regulation applies to any person who works in a client or patient-facing role in any CQC-regulated service, even if their employer is not the regulated provider. It also applies to volunteers in similar roles. People in office-based roles who do not come into contact with service users would not fall under this regulation.

So, for example: an administrator in an office working in a Home Care team who does not see service users in their homes would not require double vaccinations, but a Foot Care Assistant in a regulated home-visiting foot care service, or a volunteer driver in a Hospital Discharge service would fall under this regulation.

Next Steps

We know that one-to-one conversations have been the most effective way to support colleagues to make an informed choice, often leading to vaccination uptake. Therefore, it is important for line managers to arrange and have supportive one-to-one conversations with unvaccinated staff members to identify reasons for vaccine hesitancy and provide information that will support them to make an informed decision about the vaccine.

You can find Covid-19 vaccine communication materials from the NHS here. Organisations should encourage individuals who have not yet been vaccinated to use the resources available and discuss with their own GP or trusted healthcare professional if they wish to have a further conversation or have any questions around vaccination.

It is important that these conversations with staff are supportive and empathetic, rather than coercive. It is also useful to try to make it as simple as possible for staff and volunteers to get the vaccine, for example by allowing time in work for them to do this if necessary, or giving them the locations of the nearest vaccine centres.

It is important that organisations gather the relevant intelligence on their workforce through these conversations – ask staff and volunteers to share with you their vaccine status and to demonstrate this with their vaccine passports, cards or letters. Record which staff have been vaccinated and which will get vaccinated.

Ensure that the deadlines will be met: for a first vaccination, the deadline is 3rd February 2022. For someone awaiting their second vaccination, this could be any time up to 31st March 2022.

It is vital therefore to record details of those staff and volunteers who intend to decline having a vaccination and the reasons why. Unless they are exempt, or later change their mind (it is worth having more than one conversation with colleagues in this position just in case) you will need to be clear with them what your procedure will be from an employment point of view when the deadline passes. Will you be able to redeploy these staff and volunteers to another, non-regulated service? Or, will you need to dismiss them on 1st April? The conversations you have with staff will need to make the consequences clear. Ensure you have sought HR advice on the dismissal process and what letters and other communication will be required for those staff.

Organisations need to start acting now to gather appropriate data and consider the actions required of them and their staff by 1st April 2022.

Contact

If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact: stuart.prince@ageuk.org.uk

Age UK’s comment on the social care cap vote in the House of Commons

Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams comments on the recent vote in the House of Commons on the social care cap.

Following the recent vote on the social care cap in the House of Commons, Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams has released a statement which can be read in full below. We have also written a template tweet which you can use to share Caroline’s statement if you wish. This can be found at the end of this article.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

“The Government’s amendment may have been passed by the House of Commons but no doubt the House of Lords will fulfil its constitutional role and give it the intense scrutiny it needs. We hope Peers will vote to overturn it.

No one disputes that the amendment significantly waters down the Government’s plan for a cap on catastrophic care costs and does so in a way that protects only the better off. This is unfair and means the people who are most in need of protection against the risk of their care bills wiping out all their assets are least likely to receive it. Many of these older people whom the Government is now proposing to let down will have bought their council homes under the ‘right to buy’, an extraordinary situation for this group of Ministers to have created. 

When the Prime Minister announced his intention to activate Sir Andrew Dilnot’s cap on catastrophic costs three months ago Age UK said that this reform was definitely worth having, but increasingly the jury’s out.  Since then, the Government has failed to give social care the financial settlement it needed at the Spending Review; announced a National Insurance increase to help social care and then admitted almost all the money is going to the NHS; and made vaccination compulsory for care home staff without any plan to replace the thousands of workers its own analysis says will walk away as a result.

The fact that the Government is now intending to effectively gut their proposed cap on catastrophic care costs is therefore just the latest in a series of wholly unsupportive decisions so far as social care is concerned. What are we supposed to think about the Prime Minister’s pledge to ‘fix social care’ now?”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK

Template Tweet

If you’d like to share Caroline’s statement on social media, please feel free to use the wording and link below:

No one disputes that the amendment passed this week significantly waters down the Government’s plan for a cap on catastrophic care costs in a way that protects only the better off. We hope Peers will vote to overturn it.

Read Age UK’s full statement 👉 https://bit.ly/3oXl8Iy

Reminder: Deadline Extended for Dementia Programme Grant Funding!

A reminder that the deadline to apply for the second round of grant funding for the Dementia MCST Programme has been extended to Monday 6th December.

A quick reminder that we have extended the deadline to apply for grant funding for the Dementia MCST Programme, with at least 12 grants still available! We appreciate that this is a very busy time of year, so we hope this extra time will enable more Partners to be part of this exciting programme. The application process remains the same and you can find out full details about the programme, including how to apply, on the Loop here. Applications are open until midday on Monday 6th December.

We would welcome all applications, however if you feel you are best placed to apply in our final cohort later next year then please let us know here.

If you have any queries about this funding opportunity, then please don’t hesitate to email dementiamcst@ageuk.org.uk.


If you have any queries about this funding opportunity, then please email the team on DementiaMCST@ageuk.org.uk. If you’re having any trouble accessing the loop please email theloop@ageuk.org.uk.

We are very much looking forward to continuing our work with the Age UK Network in making this programme a great success.

Fundraising Bulletin #16 – Updates on Public, Corporate, Trusts and Public Sector Funding | November 2021

The latest fundraising bulletin is now available for you to view below. There’s still time to complete our short feedback survey about this bulletin too.

Welcome to the latest funding bulletin! This edition includes an update on a proposed new round of the Tackling Inequalities Fund – now called the Together Fund, a highlight feature on the Age UK Think Digital programme, and new and ongoing grant funding opportunities for local Age UKs. We hope you find it useful. A big thank you to everyone who has responded to our feedback form about this bulletin so far, the survey will remain open until November 30th, so there’s still time to share your thoughts if you’d like to.

You can view or download the Bulletin below:


%%footer%%