Last updated: 10th January 2022
Following the COVID meeting on 4th January there are some important updates we need to make you aware of.
Working from Home
Prior to Christmas the working from home guidance was circulated to ensure all staff are aware of their responsibilities when working away from their normal work environment.
If relevant to your role we need to be able to evidence that you have read and understood this guidance so will be requesting an email to confirm this in due course. This information will be used in future information governance audits to demonstrate compliance.
These requirements are continuing to be updated and revised and we are currently agreeing what the future processes will be at LOROS, including developing associated flowcharts and risk assessments. These will be circulated as soon as they are available and your line manager will ensure any required risk assessments are undertaken.
This will cover the requirements for staff who test positive for COVID, are living with someone who has tested positive or have been contacted by Track and Trace. If you have any queries in the interim please discuss these with your line manager in the first instance.
Lateral Flow Tests
The LFT kits supplied by LOROS should ideally only be used for work related testing. To help with current supply issues it would be helpful if you can order your own test kits via other routes particularly if it is to test for reasons that are not work related – e.g. visiting relatives in care homes or attending social events. Test kits can be ordered in several ways, including via the government website. This is a simple and free process and kits are usually delivered within 48 hours.
The symptoms of omicron can vary from previous variants so it is helpful to know what they are to ensure if you present with any of these symptoms you inform your line manager and go for a PCR test. As well as the original symptoms outlined below:
Loss of taste and smell
People can also experience
Runny nose and congestion
These are symptoms that can be associated with the common cold so it is important that you still go for a PCR test even if you think it is not COVID. In these circumstances you do not need to isolate/not come to work until you receive your result, if you have a negative LFT, unless you have a high temperature or feel unwell. If you require further guidance please contact your line manager.
We are offering alternative spaces for staff to take their breaks until receiving their results to help reduce any potential risk to other staff members. This is currently within day therapy and for the ward staff, in the goldfish bowl.
Capturing COVID cases and identifying any risk factors
It is important that LOROS maintains statistics in relation the number of staff who have had COVID and also identifies any potential safety risks and/or outbreaks within the work environment. To help capture this data a specific questionnaire has been devised which your line manager will fill in with you if required.
Support for Enterprises
The LOROS shops are currently experiencing high levels of sickness so to support them if needed we would like to ask if any staff would be willing to offer any help. This will of course need to be agreed by your line manager and will be dependent on other current work priorities. If you would be willing to offer any assistance and you have had this agreed by your line manager please let Gary Macmillan Dale know who will then contact you if required.
As always thank you for your ongoing hard work and support during the COVID pandemic.
Date added: 10th December 2021
You will undoubtedly be aware that the government has recently announced that England will be moving to Plan B rules following the rising numbers of cases of the Omicron variant in the UK.
From Friday 10th December, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship (with some exceptions). This is in addition to shops and public transport. Also from Monday 13th December, those who can are advised to work from home.
We would like to reiterate the importance of continuing to follow the COVID safety guidance in place across the organisation to keep patients, staff, volunteers, visitors and customers safe. With this in mind, we are asking that the following practices are adhered to within LOROS:
Working from home
In line with government guidelines where possible, we will be strongly encouraging staff who can to work from home from Monday 13th December, until the guidelines are reviewed. As was the approach previously, you will need to discuss and agree this arrangement with your line manager and ensure that you have the correct equipment to facilitate this, remaining accessible to attend work if needed to support the service. If you have any questions regarding this required practice, please speak with your line manager in the first instance.
Working at the Hospice and in other LOROS locations
To be COVID-secure, we would like to remind Heads of Department that each work area has a designated maximum number of staff allowed to populate that environment. The Head of Department/Manager should coordinate their team to use the work area in accordance with that maximum number. If you have any queries regarding this please seek support from Michael Bridge – Health & Safety Officer.
As per previous guidance, face masks should be worn by all staff within the Hospice (fabric masks are not suitable for wearing at the Hospice and all staff must continue to use the surgical masks provided at the hospice entrances). All other precautions and guidance including hand washing/sanitising, room ventilation and social distancing should continue to be followed. In addition please continue to utilise communal areas appropriately during break times and wear masks when not eating or drinking.
LOROS Enterprise Shops
All staff and volunteers must continue to wear face masks in shops and the warehouses. In addition, from Friday 10th December customers are also required to wear face coverings again (*unless exempt) in line with the plan B guidance.
Although hospitality is currently exempt from the new guidance we are still requesting that all staff and volunteers continue to wear face masks whilst in the cafes. Posters should be in place to encourage customers to do the same when not eating/drinking.
General advice on meeting with others
Christmas is a time for celebration and we are aware that you will be planning to socialise with colleagues, friends and family members over the festive season. Wherever possible we urge you to continue to follow COVID precautions - i.e. wearing a mask when walking around public venues, sanitising hands regularly and respecting social distancing rules whenever you can.
In relation to celebrations at work we very much want to enable teams to still have Cobmas and/or other get togethers over the coming weeks. Can we please however request that these are planned carefully to ensure a safe environment is maintained – i.e. the recommended number of people are in the space being used, the room is well ventilated and face masks are worn when staff are not eating or drinking. An alternative is to have a virtual social get together, particularly for teams where staff are more likely to be working from home.
We would like to remind staff at the hospice of the importance of undertaking a lateral flow test twice a week. These continue to be available on site and there will shortly be supplies in every department.
In line with national recommendations we are also going to be introducing a weekly PCR test for all staff in patient facing roles, including domestic and catering staff (in addition to the twice weekly lateral flow testing). This should be done on the same day as one of the weekly lateral flow tests and kits can be collected from day therapy (instructions for use are included in the packs). Lateral flow tests should continue to be reported on line on the government website using the organisations unique number 99871717. Any positive result should be reported to your line manager as soon as possible and you must follow current self-isolation guidelines.
Staff who enter clinical areas less frequently – e.g. IT team, facilities staff should undertake twice weekly lateral flow tests but don’t need to undertake a weekly PCR. Staff who are only occasionally visiting the hospice (as are predominately working from home) should undertake a lateral flow test on the day they come in to the hospice.
If you have any queries in relation to COVID testing please discuss these with your line manager.
Thank you for your cooperation in adhering to the above and your part in ensuring the safety for both yourself, your colleagues, patients, volunteers, visitors and customers throughout LOROS as COVID continues to impact both our working and home lives.
Date updated: 2nd December 2021
As you may be aware as from recent news updates, cases of the new COVID variant (Omicron) have been discovered in the UK and has prompted the government to reintroduce certain restrictions. A number of these are likely to have an impact on staff and volunteers at LOROS.
The following are the key national changes that are being introduced which you may have read about or heard on the news:
All individuals who live with someone who tests positive and is confirmed via their PCR, as having the new variant (Omicron) or who are contacted to say they have been in contact with someone with this variant must now isolate for 10 days , irrespective of any PCR test results, even if they have been double vaccinated.
Self-isolation continues to be removed for those individuals who are fully vaccinated following contact with an individual who tests positive for previous variants of COVID-19, meaning the Government has advised that vaccinated persons may return to work and meet friends and family even if contacted by NHS Track and Trace because the protection from vaccines replaces the need for contact isolation.
People within this group will still be strongly advised to take a PCR test and to limit social contact. They will be advised to self-isolate and get a PCR test if they develop symptoms, but this will not be a legal requirement.
Those who are not fully vaccinated and are not exempt will still be required to take a PCR test and isolate for 10 days from their most recent contact with a positive case, regardless of which variant.
Considering the above changes and given the different environments at LOROS and the fact that in the clinical areas staff are exposed to vulnerable adults we would anticipate the following practice in relation to coming into the workplace:
Staff within the Hospice
All individuals who live with someone who tests positive and is confirmed via their PCR, as having the new variant (Omicron), or previous variants, who are contacted to say they have been in contact with someone with variant must also isolate for 10 days, irrespective of any PCR test results, even if they have been double vaccinated. A PCR test at a test centre will need to be taken, a risk assessment completed and a negative result must be received before returning to work.
All other staff including Enterprises, Cafés and Shops
All individuals who live with someone who tests positive and is confirmed via their PCR, as having the new variant (Omicron), who are contacted to say they have been in contact with someone with variant must also isolate for 10 days, irrespective of any PCR test results, even if they have been double vaccinated.
If individuals are fully vaccinated and someone in their household is contacted via track and trace and it is a previous variant you can continue to work as before, taking the necessary precautions at home, unless you subsequently develop symptoms and/or receive a positive PCR test result. A risk assessment will need to be completed alongside taking daily LFD tests, as long as these are negative the individual can return to work.
Staff exempt from having COVID-19 vaccinations for medical reasons
You will be required to provide evidence of your exemption and if you are identified as a contact/exposed to an individual who is COVID positive you will still be required to have a PCR test at a test centre, complete a risk assessment and do daily lateral flows as outlined above depending on your area of work. If you work in a patient facing area and cannot undertake your work remotely, you will be redeployed for a period of 10 days to reduce the risk of transmission.
If this guidance applies to anyone currently in this situation, please contact your Line Manager.
All the other information below remains the same as below and any queries should be directed to Jo Hyde.
Fully vaccinated means:
People who have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the MHRA for use in the UK which has been administered in the UK and there were 14 days between the final dose and last contact with the case. Approved vaccines are:
Oxford / Astra Zeneca
We also request that all staff continue to undertake regular lateral flow tests (twice a week ideally). If this is positive or you have any COVID symptoms please contact you manager as soon as possible and book a PCR test. In these circumstances you should isolate until your receive your result and continue to isolate for 10 days if it is positive.
We thank you in advance for adhering to these requirements as part of our continuing approach to keeping patients, staff and volunteers safe.
If you have any queries regarding this information please seek advice from your line manager.
Date added: 4th October 2021
Freedom to Speak Up is about creating a safe and confidential environment where ‘speaking up’ is business as usual for all staff and volunteers at LOROS.
Speaking up about any concern you have at work is vitally important. It will help us to keep improving patient care and the working environment. The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian supports anyone to speak up when they feel they are unable to do so by other routes, whether through their line manager, co-ordinator or HR service, or if they believe the issue hasn’t been appropriately addressed by any of these routes.
You should use the Freedom to Speak Up service if you have evidence of unsafe patient care, unsafe working conditions, bullying, suspicion of any kind of fraud or activity that could affect LOROS’s reputation or how it meets its obligations to the Charity Commission.
You should not use the Freedom to Speak Up service for general frustrations about any colleagues or the working environment, or specific grievances against your manager or a colleague which should be raised with HR.
The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at LOROS is a Trustee who will ensure that people who speak up are thanked, have their issue responded to, and receive feedback on the actions taken unless they choose to remain anonymous.
You can speak up by using a comment form available from the rack on the notice boards that face towards the chapel corridor and placing it in the designated post box. Remember to include your contact details on the form if you would like a response.
Alternatively email email@example.com again indicating if you would like to receive a response.