- Advice and support
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- Letters to Loved Ones
- Covid information public
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- Covid Information Staff
- Working safely on site and at home – FAQs
- Appraisals, career and wellbeing conversations – a new approach for difficult times
- Support for your mental and emotional health
- Clinical guidance
- Recording absence on eRoster
- Resources and other information
- Urgent Help
- Family, friends and carers
- Leeds Recovery College
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
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- Cancelling an appointment
- Chaplaincy, spiritual and pastoral care
- Medicines management
- Writing an advance statement
- Intensive Interaction
- How we use information about you
- easy on the i
- Accessible Information Standard
HR Updates and FAQs
Page updated December 2020
HR Advice Line support
Your HR Team are available to provide support 7 days a week, Monday – Friday 9am-5pm, with an on-call service available Weekends and Bank Holidays 8am-5pm.
To contact a member of the HR team, please call us on 0113 85 59900, and select option 5 and you will be put through to the HR Advice Line. You can also contact us via HRAdvice.email@example.com.
Should you need an urgent response, please use the phone number in the automated email response to call the HR Manager on duty.
We will aim to respond to all email queries received during our current normal working hours (Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm).
Childcare Guiding Principles
We recognise every year staff manage child care commitments within usual policy and procedures. However, due to the current pandemic circumstances there has been a request for some additional guidance on how to best support staff with this.
We have created a Childcare Guiding Principles document to set out the Trust’s approach to supporting those staff with child care needs, whilst balancing the requirement to provide a number of our services over a 24/7 period and to be as flexible and supportive as we can within those limitations. We also recognise that many staff are working from home and this brings different challenges as well.
- Contact details for HR
Your normal HR Support and dedicated HR contacts can be contacted as usual on the details below:
Team Contacts Corporate and Care Services Curtis Abbott, HR Manager Ext: 59910 / M: 07980 956 085
Jane McKeown, HR Manager Ext: 59919 / M: 07980 956 611
Janet Twinn, HR Advisor Ext: 59964 / M: 07980 958 784
Sarah Hannam, HR Advisor Ext: 59905 / M: 07980 956 609
Faye Pass, HR Manager Ext: 59920 / M:07790 982 584
Employee Relations Mags Smith, HR Advisor Ext: 59908 / M: 07980 957 466
Charlotte Noon, HR Advisor Ext: 59912 / M: 07814 769 066
Claire Powis, HR Manager M: 07980 957 753
Head of HR Operations Mubina Ahmed Ext: 57104 / M: 07790 982 599 HR Business Partners Jackie Guy, HR Business Partner M: 07866 046 545
Alison Evans, HR Business Partner M: 07980 960011
HR Change Jess Shires, HR strategic Change Manager M: 07985 859826 HR Project Manager Sally O’Connor M: 07801 264060 HR Admin Linzi North Ext: 59902
Kirby Nielsen Ext: 59921
- Annual leave and pay (Updated 30 Nov 2020)
Annual Leave guidance (Updated 30 November 2020)
During these extremely busy and stressful times it is vitally important that you take time to rest and recuperate. For this reason, we are encouraging staff to continue to book and take annual leave during the pandemic.
Even though we are all more limited in what we can do and where we can go it’s essential to maintain your work life balance by having some quality downtime.
Taking a break from work is our body and mind’s chance to recover from the demands of our jobs. We’re all juggling a lot at the moment, so it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re taking time for ourselves. The benefits of taking annual leave aren’t limited to going on holiday. It’s about taking time away from work to spend on the things we enjoy and benefit from reduced stress and improved mood.
Taking our mind off work for a few days and coming back with a rested head and a new perspective will actually make us work better.
It is understandable that sometimes you might feel it’s not a good time to have a break but we do encourage you to speak to your line manager about booking in your annual leave well ahead of time so cover can be provided if needed.
New guidance and process on carrying over and selling annual leave
Read the latest guidance from our Workforce Team on carrying over and selling your annual leave, and how to request this: COVID19-Annual-Leave-Guidance-Carry-over-selling-Annual-Leave
Do staff members retain the right to public/bank holidays when self-isolating or shielding?
Where the public holiday is rolled up into a leave entitlement for shift workers or part-time workers, yes this would be retained. For staff where the public holiday is not rolled up into a leave entitlement, no this would not be retained.
What is the Trust’s guidance on excessive working?
We’re grateful for all you’re doing to respond to the pandemic and support business continuity. It’s still important that working hours do not become overly excessive or demanding, as this could have a negative impact on your wellbeing and resilience, and the care and safety of service users. In light of this, the HR team has developed guidance on the Trust’s position in relation to working time.
Am I eligible for the national government furlough scheme?
No, the government expects the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations as the majority are continuing to provide essential public services or contributing to the response of the coronavirus outbreak. Where organisations receive public funding for staff costs, the expectation is that they will continue to pay staff in the usual way and furlough will not be an option.
What do I get paid and will the period go on my sickness record?
If you can work from home, your manager will try to arrange the appropriate equipment to enable you to do so. In this case you will be classed as working and recorded as WFH – Working from Home.
If you are unable to work from home you will be placed on IsolateNW (Isolate – Not Working) for the period of isolation and paid normal basic pay.
This if for staff who are not at work and are not working due to:
- Being symptomatic
- Living with someone who is symptomatic
- Being a member of an extremely vulnerable group that has been advised to self-isolate
- Bank staff FAQs (Reviewed November)
Support for bank workers (November 2020)
In order to receive Financial Support, Bank Workers must meet the criteria for Self-Isolation whereby they are self-Isolating for one of the following reasons:
- They are exhibiting symptoms of Coronavirus.
- A household member is exhibiting symptoms of Coronavirus.
- A direct (authenticated) instruction has been received from the NHS Track and Trace App.
You are not eligible if you have been told to self-isolate following instructions from non-NHS bodies for example, pubs, hair-dresser, schools, friends etc.
Quarantining is defined as workers who need to isolate following a return from holiday / travel abroad. The Trust is currently not able to offer any financial support for those who are under quarantine.
Test and Trace payment £500
This payment is for staff on low-incomes who, having been instructed to self-isolate by an authenticated NHS Track and Trace text, feel unable to do so as it would cause financial hardship.
Most Bank Workers will be eligible for financial support if instructed to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace. However, if your work history with the Trust is limited, you may only be eligible for little or no pay. In this instance the Trust advise Bank workers to apply via the government website for access to Track and Trace support payments.
As a bank worker how do I report that I am self-isolating and what do I get paid? (updated 6 August)
You will need to contact the Bank Staffing Dept 0113 85 59900 Option 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide the date that you started self-isolating from and the reasons for your self-isolation so that we know approximately how long you will be self-isolating for. Please also provide information about any shifts, including the date, time and location that you had booked in Healthroster during this period of self-isolation.
You will be paid for any duties that you had booked for the duration of your isolation. This will cover booked shifts for 10 days if you have symptoms or 14 days if someone that you live with has symptoms. If you continue to have symptoms at the end of the 10 or 14 day isolation period you will need to contact the Bank Staffing department to extend your isolation period and ensure any further booked duties are cancelled and then paid.
I’m a bank worker and I have possible COVID 19 symptoms. What should I do and will I continue to receive my basic pay/any enhancements (updated 6 August)
If you have symptoms you are advised to stay at home for 10 days, even if your symptoms are mild. The most common symptoms are:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back or a temperature of 37.8 degrees or higher
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Please do not book a GP appointment or attend your GP practice.
If you live with other people, they should also stay at home for at least 14 days to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine. If anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 10 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.
The most up-to-date public guidance is always available online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
I am a bank worker how do I report that I am in the category of being at increased risk?
If you are 70 or older, are pregnant or have a condition that may increase your risk from coronavirus (refer to www.nhs.uk for examples of clinically vulnerable groups) please inform the Bank Staffing Dept on 0113 85 59900 Option 2 or email: email@example.com.
Should I still be working if I am at increased risk?
The advice for people who may be at increased risk from Coronavirus is the same as for most other people, including travelling for work purposes if you cannot work from home. You will need to be extra cautious in following social distancing rules and infection control guidance.
I have a family member who has received a shielding letter and is self-isolating. What should I do and will I continue to receive my basic pay/any enhancements
If you are not required to self-isolate on medical grounds but feel unable to attend work, please have a conversation with your managers should explore what other options are available. For example:
- working from home
- redeployment into another part of the Trust
- a temporary voluntary move into alternative accommodation
Managers will need to be considerate of any care arrangements that may be compromised by staff not being at home. In these instances, employers are encouraged to use maximum flexibility to ensure the needs of both staff and the service are maintained.
Where staff are required to remain at home for the purposes of maintaining care arrangements, managers will need to consider what work can be undertaken at home and, where this is not possible, exercise discretion and use the flexibilities they already have to support staff during this period.
To find out more please contact your local bank team.
I am a bank worker how do I report that I am shielding?
People most at risk from Coronavirus are sometimes called “shielded” or “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV)” people, and these will be contacted by the NHS via letter.
If you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day that you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change.
Please contact the Bank Staffing Dept on 0113 85 59900 Option 2 and send a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a shielding member of Bank Staff what do I get paid?
All shielding bank staff will be paid as basic with average enhancements, including average basic and enhancements for Bank Workers calculated over a 3 month period.
What is the advice for bank staff on working across wards / sites?
When booking duties, Bank staff are asked to limit their working to a particular ward or site to minimise exposure / cross-infection wherever possible.
Bank and Agency staff may be asked to work on another ward for all or part of their booked shift when necessary. Please be assured that we are treating all patients as if they are potentially Covid positive meaning that regardless of ward, appropriate PPE will be made available for all interactions with service users.
All staff should be mindful that the COVID-19 virus is widespread and many staff and service users could have the virus without showing any symptoms. In this regard, the PPE measures in place are designed to ensure that the risk of exposure and transmission is minimised on all wards whether cases have been identified or not.
It is advisable that bank staff who work across Trusts / organisations limit their work to their primary job.
I want to work away from wards with COVID-19 positive patients. Can the bank staffing department send daily updates so I can make an informed choice?
The Bank staffing department cannot keep a daily record of positive cases and advise staff. Coronavirus is wide spread and all your interactions with patients must take place as though they are a COVID19 positive case, in line with the scientific evidence.
More suspected / positive cases can be expected across our wards in the days and weeks ahead and it will be a false assurance to label a particular ward as COVID free.
- General FAQs (Reviewed November)
Please visit the working from home page for more information.
Department of Education – Guidance for schools
To support our staff with school age children we have created the following summary of guidance taken from the Department for Education Guidance for full opening: schools. You can also download the Trust’s COVID-19 Childcare Guiding Principles which covers our approach to supporting those staff with child care needs, whilst balancing the requirement to provide a number of our services over a 24/7 period.
All schools must follow this process and ensure all staff are aware of it.
Ensure that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days and ensuring anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home, are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).
If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms.
Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
Where a child is sent home due to a COVID-19 case in their bubble and there is no government requirement for the employee to self-isolate.
Where an employee’s child has been sent home because they have been in close contact with a suspected case, but does not themselves have symptoms of COVID-19, the child should self-isolate but other members of the household are not required to do so. This will often mean however that alternative childcare is not available or appropriate and may happen at very short notice creating childcare issues for the member of staff which mean they are unable to attend their workplace. The employee will not be entitled to COIVD-19 special leave where there is not a government requirement on them to self-isolate and therefore, the Trust will be as supportive and flexible as possible when considering options for these employees. Options available for managers & staff to consider in relation to each episode include:
- working from home, for example this could include completing online training
- temporarily reallocating work to the employee which could be undertaken at home, either within the organisation or the NHS more widely
- agreeing a temporary change to working arrangements, such as a change of hours or a different combination of shifts that can be organised around care;
- using previously accrued TOIL and allowing additional flexibilities in relation to retention of accrued TOIL in preparation for possible childcare issues
- making up time lost through working additional hours/shifts
- using annual leave, local special leave, local carers’ leave – and allowing leave to be used flexibly and broken down into sessions/hours
- where local paid leave policies have been exhausted consideration of extending them, particularly where an individual does not have another person living within their household with whom they can share the care arrangement
- unpaid leave, as a last resort.
Changes should seek to meet the needs of the individual balanced against the needs of the service at the time.
How can I prove that I am an NHS Key Worker?
All NHS staff are classified as key workers and therefore are permitted to travel to and from work, as well as for other essential purposes. To support you should you be stopped, we are providing you with a template generic letter which you should complete and present with a valid ID badge.
Please complete this letter and try to ensure you can present it to the authorities if required either by:
- Print it out and keep a copy with you
- Save it and email it to yourself
- Save it so it can be available via your smartphone i.e. via cloud storage, Google docs etc.
- Take a screen shot image and save this onto your smartphone
Staff needing alternative accommodation
Should staff need to secure accommodation at hotels if they have been affected by Covid-19, please refer to Staffnet for information.
- Redeployment and recruitment (Reviewed December)
Recruitment activity across the Trust has not stopped during the current pandemic. Instead we have increased our support and are actively working with clinical and critical services to ensure new staff are “work ready” and in post as quickly as is possible.
We will continue with recruitment activities and essential pre-employment checks using virtual technology. We are also working with the Workforce and Training teams to assist new starters with Smartcards, ID/Security Badges, appropriate training, and where possible, completion of new starter paperwork.
We have worked closely with the DBS Service, NHS Employers and the Department of Immigration to ensure that any process changes still meet all necessary standards, and our public employer obligations. These changes have been in operation since 25 March 2020 and there have been no significant issues.
We appreciate that there is some confusion, however we want to reinforce that the Recruitment Team are fully able in supporting recruiting managers with these process changes. Guides and support are available to help recruiting managers and all changes are embedded in TRAC the Trust’s recruitment management software system.
We are also working with Operational Management teams to ensure that any recruitment activities are closely linked to overall strategic service delivery.
If you would like to discuss a vacancy, recruitment, or the new processes and how to proceed please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are here to help you. You can contact us directly on email@example.com or call 0113 8559900 – Option 1.
How will redeployment work?
For anyone who has feedback or questions, you can contact the redeployment team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A paper setting out the agreed approach to deployment and redeployment of staff in order to maintain minimum safe staffing levels within the agreed priority services of the Trust is available to download: Revised Deployment approach – October 2020.
For full guidance and support on redeployment
Please read the full list of redeployment FAQs – updated October 2020.
At times, you may be asked to work at different sites where the request is reasonable and additional support is required to deliver our services. Please follow the infection prevention guidance when working across sites to minimise the risk of cross-infection.
If you have any concerns please speak with your line manager, clinical team manager or whomever you feel comfortable.
Obtain a copy of Professional indemnity cover for healthcare staff 2020
Thank you to everyone who is working flexibly to support staffing across the Trust during these unprecedented times.
- Retirement, pensions and death in service (Reviewed July)
The HR Team has produced a list of FAQs relating to retirement and pensions.
If you want now to consider or re-consider your retire and return options please discuss with your manager or speak to HR on 0113 85 59900 (option 5)
Local Contacts – useful contact information for further guidance:
If you want further information relating to your personal pension circumstances then you can contact our local pension officers who are part of the Payroll service at: Leedsthemail@example.com or call one of the following numbers:
- 0113 206 4874
- 0113 206 6222
- 0113 206 5036
- 0113 206 6289
The NHS Business Authority have a wealth of pension information available for retirees / potential retirees at this time of the Covid-19 crisis.
NHS Employers are also a useful resource – https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/staff-terms-and-conditions/staff-terms-and-conditions-faqs/pensions
Has the increase in tax deduction been taken into account, and something put in place for someone that has retired and returned due to COVID-19? (updated 18 June)
No guidance on tax relief at the moment, on either NHS Employers website or the BMA. Please contact the pensions department or the Inland Revenue directly.
Death in Service – How would my family be supported?
As a Trust we want to really ensure we support all staff members during this difficult time. On 27 April 2020 the government announced a new scheme to provide benefits for eligible NHS staff who perform vital frontline work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme, known as life assurance benefits recognises the increased risks our teams are currently facing. In the event of a staff member dying in the course of COVID-19 related work, the government has confirmed that a lump sum payment of £60,000 will be made to their estate.
This payment will be made regardless of whether or not a staff member has in place their own life insurance or is a member of the NHS Pension Scheme. The payment will be made in addition to any death benefits in relation to NHS Pension Scheme membership.
To be eligible for the scheme the following criteria must be met:
- Staff must be employed by an NHS body, an organisation that supports the delivery of NHS services or work on an NHS contract e.g. primary care medical and dental services
- The staff member must have been exposed to a high risk of contracting coronavirus disease whilst carrying out their work.
- Staff will be covered if they interact directly with coronavirus patients or if they carry out vital duties within these care environments, for example, cleaners and porters.
- The staff member must have been at work in the 14 days prior to the onset of their coronavirus symptoms.
- The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care must be reasonably satisfied that coronavirus was the whole, or main cause of death.
- Staff can be:
- full-time or part-time
- permanent or temporary, including agency workers and locums
- retired staff who have returned to NHS employment
- students taking up paid frontline roles.
The scheme will be administered by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) and further details on the eligibility criteria can be found on the NHS BSA website
- Symptoms and self-isolation (Reviewed November)
Please isolate at home if you experience any, or all of the following symptoms:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result. A full list of FAQs on symptoms and self-isolation are available on the Infection control and PPE page.
More information can also be found on the NHS website.
Keeping in touch
We know that many staff are concerned on what measures they should take on when and how they can work. To inform and reassure staff and managers, in line with government guidelines the HR team will provide support focused on the following key areas:
- Essential updates to staff who are absent, or isolated from work
- Returning staff to work as soon as is safely possible
- Keeping staff and their dependents safe in work
The HR team will also contact staff that fall into one of the following key groups who are in need of direct support at this time:
- Staff currently on self-isolation – 10/14 days or 12 weeks
- Staff returning to work from long term sickness absence
Following this contact the HR team will update the line manager and agree the next steps. This will allow line managers to focus on their current priorities while the HR team support not only staff but also line managers.
A record will be kept of the call and advice given, with follow up calls arranged where needed. This will support staff returning to work safely where it is appropriate to do so, enabling some staff to return to work sooner, provide reassurance, and alleviate the of the workload of line managers at this time.
who do I tell if I have symptoms of Covid-19?
You should contact your manager immediately and confirm that you have symptoms. Following this, the manager will update ESR accordingly. Please ensure you also inform HR via:
- Phone on 0113 85 59900 – then select option 5
- Or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You should do this straight away, whether you’re due on shift, or it’s the weekend or your non-working day. This way we can arrange a test for you or the person in your household with symptoms within the first five days of showing symptoms. To help us do this, please make sure your contact details on ESR are up to date.
Appointments are now available at Regional Drive through Testing Centres for testing staff currently isolating due to suffering symptoms of COVID-19. These appointments are also available to test other symptomatic individuals in the staff member’s household.
Whilst staff can self-refer for testing via the government website, to ensure appropriate support is provided all staff and any household members experiencing COVID 19 symptoms should be referred by LYPFT direct to the appropriate Test Centre. This also allows arrangements to be made to test household members under 18 by accessing testing capacity via LTHT.
The only exceptions are where the member of staff/household members cannot drive, do not have access to a car or are too unwell to travel. In these circumstances a home test is available. Staff who require home tests must self register via the self-registration portal.
In the event a member of staff self-refers for a test, the individual or their Manager must notify the LYPFT Covid 19 inbox : email@example.com.
LYPFT’s primary test site is at Temple Green in Leeds. Other Regional Testing Centres are available for staff that live, or work in Services, outside Leeds.
I’m a manager and I’ve received a call from a member of staff to say they are isolating, what do I do?
Please speak with the member of staff to confirm their symptoms and update ESR straightaway, including up to date contact details for the staff member.
Discuss with the member of staff if they are able to undertake their role or any other role from home during this period. Even if they are working at home you must report this as IsolateWFH (Isolate – Working from Home).
If the member of staff is unable to work from home, their absence should be recorded as absent for COVID-19 related reasons. HR Managers will contact all individuals newly recorded as being absent for COVID-19 related reasons for a welfare call and, a part of that call, will seek consent from any individuals who meet the above criteria to refer them for testing, explain the testing arrangements and ask that they contact the HR Advice line/inbox with their test results.
Please refer to the Testing section on this page for the latest Standard Operating Procedure.
I have reported absent due to Covid-19, do I need to produce a sick note?
If you are sick with COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home by your GP, you need to continue to follow to the sickness procedure. This includes providing a sick note following the end of the ‘self-certify’ period, which is the first 10 days. (If you are self-isolating due to a member of your household having COVID-19, a sick note is not required)
Please note, staff testing is now available so staff are encouraged to make their line manager aware straight away if they have Covid-19 related symptoms. More information regarding staff testing can be found under the Testing section including the Standard Operating Procedure.
If you are self-isolating due to Covid-19 for more than 10 days you can get an online self-isolation note from the:
- NHS website
- NHS mobile phone app
Flexibility around sick notes
Generally we are applying a flexible approach in relation to sick notes during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it is acknowledged staff members may not be in a position to receive a sick note straight away so please keep your manager informed and send in any notes as soon as you can.
- Training and development and appraisals (Reviewed November)
How can I access digital induction resources?
There is now a virtual welcome day every month with new starters being contacted to attend. In addition, the following resources are available
- Digital Welcome Pack – June 2020
- Trust Local Induction Template New Staff v1 3
- Trust Local Induction Template Redeployment v1.2
- Volunteer training pack rewrite updated LATEST
I have training / study leave planned. Can I still attend?
Please check with the provider of the training to see if this is now going ahead. A lot of development has now moved to virtual learning so this may be easier for you to attend. Once you know this, seek agreement from your manager.
Will I still have to go through the step pay process this year?
Taking account of national NHS Employers guidance and as a result the deferment of appraisals and potential reduced staffing levels during this period the new process will not be in place this year. All eligible staff will therefore receive any increment due. The process will start again in April 2021.
As a manager will I have to do appraisals within the normal Trust timescales this year?
Managers are asked to arrange appraisals with their staff, with guidance on this and career conversations coming to managers by the 16th October. Colleagues that had been redeployed have mostly returned to their substantive role and therefore their appraisal should now be with their substantive manager. Managers should continue to check in with colleagues about their health and wellbeing. This can be done through supervision, 1-1’s and when completing the new Staff Wellbeing Framework .
Will I need to keep up to date with my mandatory training?
Some of the extensions to the compliance periods for compulsory training will now be coming to an end. For staff who receive a notification to attend training, please book on in the usual way.
- Vulnerable groups including pregnant women (updated 6 November)
As advice and guidance is still being developed please ensure you read and understand the latest guidance.
Guidance for shielded staff and those with pre-existing health conditions
To assist managers in supporting staff in relation to COVID-19, HR have developed Guidance on Risk Assessing Vulnerable or Extremely Vulnerable Staff. This guidance can be used in conjunction with the more detailed documents published by the Trust and the national government and NHS guidance to assess staff in the ‘Extremely Vulnerable’ or ‘Vulnerable’ categories, provides basic information as to how to support those staff, and provides links to more detailed guidance.
Shielding guidance has been updated to support the clinically extremely vulnerable which is less restrictive and more targeted to help keep people safe while reducing some of the potentially harmful impacts on mental and social wellbeing.
People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus include:
- solid organ transplant recipients
- people with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
- people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
- other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions
If you think you are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), or if you have received a letter from your GP, NHS Digital, clinician or Midwife identifying yourself as such, please speak with your manager or HR in the first instance so that we can support you to shield where necessary and appropriate. If you do need to shield and work from home we will work with you to ensure you have the right kit and are able to contribute and do meaningful work.
Advice for Pregnant Women – Updated 6 November 2020
We understand that it must be an anxious time if you are pregnant. Occupational Health advice (from RCOG, RCM, FOM) is that pregnant women of any gestation are no more are risk of contracting Covid19 than non-pregnant women in similar health, but pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
For women who are 28 weeks and over, or women at any gestation period with severe heart disease there is an increased risk of becoming severely ill should you contract the virus ( this is true of any viral illness including seasonal flu). Therefore social distancing is vitally important and should be maintained at all times, and you should not be working in a role that requires you to deliver hands on direct patient care. Following a risk assessment by your line manager you should work from home if your role allows, alternative roles should also be considered as well as single office use / redeployment.
The government guidance for the clinically vulnerable remains in place and you should ensure you continue to follow the latest government guidance, as well as seeking further advice on your own individual health position with your maternity team and/or midwife, and then share that with your manager to be part of your workplace risk assessment.
Pregnant women should follow the latest government guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of coronavirus. If you are in your third trimester (more than 28 weeks’ pregnant) you should be particularly attentive to social distancing.
Are pregnant women considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable in regard to Covid 19?
National policy on meeting people from outside your household safely has changed since the early days of the pandemic and now varies regionally. However, the UK Government has maintained the precautionary measure of classing pregnant women as clinically vulnerable. Therefore, despite the easing of restrictions from 4 July 2020, the advice remains that pregnant women should socially distance in line with government guidance. And those who can work from home should continue to do so.
Is it safe to come to work if I am pregnant during Covid 19?
Employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of pregnant women who are working. This responsibility is laid out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Under these regulations, we have asked your manager to carry out an individual risk assessment that is individual to you, your workplace setting, discussing any underlying health conditions alongside the latest clinical advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
If there are risks, your manager will discuss and consider how we can remove the risks by either altering your working conditions or hours of work etc. or by providing suitable alternative work on the same terms and conditions. We will continue to liaise with our occupational health department by referring staff members to receive advice and guidance on the support required.
If you have concerns about your risk assessment and the resulting recommendations, you should speak to your manager in the first instance or contact the HR advice Line, as well as seeking further advice on your own individual health position with your maternity team and/or midwife, and then share that with your manager to be part of your workplace risk assessment.
Key advice for pregnant women during the pandemic:
- Follow the guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and staying safe outside the home including appropriate use of face coverings for the general public and clinically vulnerable people, including pregnant
- Keep mobile and hydrated to reduce the risk of blood clots in pregnancy
- Stay active with regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and folic acid and vitamin D supplementation to help support a healthy pregnancy
- Attend all of your pregnancy scans and antenatal appointments unless you are advised not to
- Contact your maternity team if you have concerns about the wellbeing of yourself or your unborn baby
- Please inform the HR Department as soon as you can that you are pregnant so they can ensure that you are getting the right support, advice and guidance.
More information on pregnancy and coronavirus is available on the NHS website.
What should I do if I develop symptoms of coronavirus?
- The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia). Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
- If you think you may have symptoms, use the NHS 111 online service/NHS 24 in Scotland online for information and advice, and follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.
- You should tell your midwife or maternity team that you have symptoms of coronavirus.
- If you feel your symptoms are worsening or if you are not getting better, this may be a sign that you are developing a more severe infection that requires specialised care. You should contact your maternity team, GP, or use the NHS 111 online service/NHS 24 in Scotland for further information and advice. In an emergency, call 999.
- Seek medical advice as early as possible if you have any questions or concerns about you or your baby.