Healthcare UK

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Government Guidance on Coronavirus

Coronavirus Covid 19 - Quarantine Guides: General Resources:

Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

All guides (available on Gov.uk):

Close contact services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, tattooists, beauticians, etc).

Construction and other outdoor work

Factories, plants and warehouses

Heritage locations

Hotels and other guest accommodation

Labs and research facilities

Offices and contact centres

Other people's homes (e.g. when working in/visiting or delivering to other people's homes).

Performing arts guidance

Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Shops and branches (e.g. stores and similar environments).

Vehicles (e.g. lorry drivers, work vehicles, working in/from vehicles, couriers, mobile workers, etc).

The visitor economy (including indoor/outdoor attractions, events of a business nature, consumer shows, working in hotels/guest accommodation, etc).

Providers of health and social care settings are required to follow specific guidance for the sector. Search for more 'care' based resources on the GOV.UK site

Different guidance should be referenced for the following settings:

Educational and childcare settings

Wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations

Public transport operators

Funerals


 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): A summary for business owners and managers

With ever changing guidance and directives concerning priorities that organisations need to consider during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, business owners and workplace managers need to ensure they remain fully up to date with current guidance to ensure they keep people safe.

All individuals must play their part in risk assessing and managing COVID-19 and businesses must give due consideration and take appropriate action regarding potential and actual risks to their customer, client base or employees.

Employers are legally accountable and have a responsibility to ensure they safeguard their workers and other individuals from any risks to health & safety - they must exercise their duties to actively reduce risks in the workplace through implementing measures of a preventative nature.

Quick key points to remember:

* Customers to premises should be reminded to wear a face covering (as per current law).

* Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus should not enter or be admitted.

* Increase cleaning of your premises/workplace. Ensure hand sanitising gel is used and effective hand washing is maintained.

* Social distancing measures must be in place and upheld by all.

* Ventilation must be effective.

* NHS Test and Trace records to be kept appropriately and as required (see Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for further information).

* Create a COVID-19 risk assessment and ensure it is shared amongst your employees.

Taking into account ongoing (and often changing) guidance can be a confusing process for many, however, for any business to ensure their premises stay safe for customers, visitors, and employees, it is an essential process.

There are key points to implement for any business owner or workplace manager which will enable an organisation to maintain their duty of care to all.

Preparing to operate safely with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Where premises have been closed for business or been operating with restricted part-time hours, these will need to be thoroughly cleaned and risk assessed before reopening. Effective and frequent ongoing cleaning/sanitisation of all areas will need to be maintained in the entire workplace and premises, ensuring the health and safety of all staff, customers, and visitors is upheld.

Maintaining the wellbeing of all visitors, employees and customers in any business is of paramount importance to all organisations. The health, safety, and wellbeing of all should be a primary and ongoing concern and not potentially or deliberately compromised in any situation. Some premises will be required to maintain records of customers, staff, and visitors to help support the NHS Test and Trace system and these will be required in specific sectors.

Regular handwashing by all and effective, regular cleaning of all surfaces must be frequently undertaken. Handwashing and hand hygiene posters can help promote handwashing techniques that are effective, alongside the useful provision of hand sanitiser (where applicable). Businesses should ensure that handwashing facilities are readily available and accessible.

Safe working environments

Workplaces must take steps to provide their employees with a safe environment (e.g. working remotely or in a safe business environment). Guidelines around social distancing (as stipulated by the UK government) should be maintained and of at least 1 metre (2 metres if possible). Risk mitigation strategies should be considered and implemented where applicable.

Where guidelines for social distancing cannot be implemented fully (or an activity cannot be adapted to meet these), employers need to give consideration to the continuation of these activities, whether they are needed for future operations and look to reduce risks where possible and appropriate.

Employers must ensure where customers/clients or employees feel unwell, they remain at home, not attending the organisation's premises.

Workplaces should implement a strategy which will enable employees to not unnecessarily raise their voice (e.g. wherever possible, avoid noisy environments which could encourage an employee to shout). This is because louder communication methods (e.g. ‘shouting’) might raise the potential of 'aerosol transmission' between individuals.

PPE (Personal protective equipment)

As with social distancing guidelines, there has been a wealth of information around the currently mandatory face covering or face mask requirement. Face coverings are now required for all shop/supermarket customers and other customer-based settings, including on public transport, and customers should be encouraged to use these according to current guidelines.

Some workplaces will need to consider face covering use alongside other required PPE that might be in place for their workforce. A face covering can be quite basic and is simply required to cover the nose and mouth, but in some areas of work (e.g. health and care settings or industrial areas) a face mask will be appropriate. Remember that a face covering is not a substitute for other methods of risk management. Additional information and guidance can be viewed regarding face coverings which provides further advice.

Business owners and managers should take steps to ensure they understand and implement guidelines which are applicable for their workplace by following appropriate and current UK government guidance (see end of article links).

Some settings (such as hospitals or healthcare settings) will need to follow specific advice and guidance on the safe and appropriate use of PPE which is available via the Gov.uk information pages.

More about social distancing

The rules and advice for social distancing have been debated in detail during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, often causing apparent confusion and sometimes a little controversy. Where possible, remember an ideal distance of 2 metres between employees or customers should be maintained and if this is not achievable, a 1 metre distance should be in force whilst using appropriate risk management measures. This might be a particularly challenging issue to tackle in customer-facing businesses such as shops, hairdressers, and other premises which have a regular footfall. The UK Government has produced indepth guidance for shops and branches which outline the necessary steps and advice that needs to be implemented.

Social distancing guidance equally applies to an employee's arrival and later departure from their workplace, when moving between internal areas or sites, and during all their working hours.

In order to help manage social distancing risks and look to reduce these risks to employees, business owners and managers might wish to consider restricting how many individuals each employee has any contact with (e.g. via a set team of colleagues). Rather than using directly facing seating/chairs or working positions, consider adopting a 'sideways' working approach which might provide a safer option. Where this is not possible, a protective screened area might be appropriate to safely 'divide' employees.

Where possible, workers should engage in activities for as shorter period as possible. Remember, social distancing measures apply equally to all business areas where work and rest periods are undertaken (e.g. staff rooms, canteen/dining areas, access and exits and all other areas). Businesses might look to change an employee's start and finish times to ensure a workforce safely arrives using a more 'staggered' approach, thus avoiding too many staff gathered at any point (consider shift patterns and rota hours).

Bigger businesses might also wish to consider a larger range of staff entrances and exits to their premises and ensure that hand hygiene facilities are readily available at these points. There are different options available for a choice of businesses, and by ensuring the latest government issued advice is followed, workplaces can ensure they remain as safe as possible.

Take care to implement any current guidance regarding group socialising (e.g. as of September 2020, this is restricted to groups of no more than six people).

Remember - to maximise the health and safety of all, consider implementing more frequent hand hygiene/washing measures for all workers and importantly ensure the workplace environment is regularly cleaned and sanitised in all areas.

Businesses such as shops, stores and branches will need to consider how they manage and reduce contact that may occur from visits to their premises. Business proprietors and managers need to consider (and calculate) how many customers are to be permitted and ensure guidelines around social distancing within indoor and outdoor areas are upheld. Organisations might wish to consider reducing the total amount of customers in their premises at any one time, look at ‘customer flow’ through the area (e.g. keep to one way only) and ensure that building ventilation is maximised to enable a supply of fresh air circulated in all areas.

It is important to remind customers to restrict touching any products available where possible and provide ongoing encouragement to use facilities for handwashing/sanitising, helping to ensure optimal levels of hand hygiene (e.g. when entering the premises). Children and young people should always be within the supervision of adults and must uphold guidelines for social distancing.

Where achievable, encourage customers to visit or shop alone. External areas and car parks should be considered during the total risk mitigation process (e.g. to avoid potential customer queues and ‘gatherings’ who are not socially distancing in the area).

Other considerations

Work related travel also needs careful assessment, and where possible look to reduce or eliminate travel that is not necessary to promote people's safety.

Workplaces that deliver to other sites will need to take measures in ensuring their employees are safe and vehicles are appropriately cleaned in between use/shifts. Refer to specific government advice for further information around this.

For businesses that manage goods that are incoming and outgoing, specific steps will need to be put into place to ensure that social distancing is maintained effectively and prevent any surface contamination during the process of goods leaving or entering a site/premises.

Owners and managers of cafes and restaurants need to make reference to specific guidance on how to keep their employees and customers safe throughout the COVID-19 challenges. Businesses that provide services of a 'close contact' nature (such as barbers/hairdressers, tattooists, etc) must also take into account further guidance and directives available via 'Close contact services'.

Remember, the advice to ensure your business or workplace remains safe is changing frequently and this information should only be used as a guide.

It is essential to keep up to date with the latest advice and guidance from the UK government so that any business, organisation or company may fully promote the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees, volunteers, customers, visitors and members of the public at all times.

The latest guidance is available from:

Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business support (employers & business)

Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

All guides (available on Gov.uk):

Close contact services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, tattooists, beauticians, etc).

Construction and other outdoor work

Factories, plants and warehouses

Heritage locations

Hotels and other guest accommodation

Labs and research facilities

Offices and contact centres

Other people's homes (e.g. when working in/visiting or delivering to other people's homes).

Performing arts guidance

Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Shops and branches (e.g. stores and similar environments).

Vehicles (e.g. lorry drivers, work vehicles, working in/from vehicles, couriers, mobile workers, etc).

The visitor economy (including indoor/outdoor attractions, events of a business nature, consumer shows, working in hotels/guest accommodation, etc).

Providers of health and social care settings are required to follow specific guidance for the sector. Search for more 'care' based resources on the GOV.UK site

Different guidance should be referenced for the following settings:

Educational and childcare settings

Wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations

Public transport operators

General Resources:

Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

Healthcare UK

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Our Wonderful NHS


Public Healthcare


The UK is renowned for its publicly funded, equality-led, accessible National Health Service  (NHS).

Created in July 1948, the National Health Service was the brainchild of Aneurin Bevan, a politician with Labour Party credentials, who acted as the Minister of Health from 1945 to  1951. The NHS is free and accessible to all and is funded by public finances, providing  guaranteed care in the UK for all that use it and who have appropriate residential status.  Today, the National Health Service encompasses Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and  England.

The NHS has an underpinning, core set of values that ensure an effective and holistic set of health services are delivered to UK residents, without any costs or charges (with some  exceptions).
From humble beginnings, today's NHS employs hundreds of thousands of qualified and  experienced staff in many different backgrounds and professions. The NHS provides doctors, consultants, nurses, paramedics, healthcare workers and allied health professions to name but a few. It also ensures that thousands of administrative staff, dentists, transport operatives, clinical and non-clinical staff are on hand, plus many other employees from a wide range of  disciplines.

The NHS truly represents a dynamic and diverse workforce and boasts itself as a  globally huge employer, having approximately 1.5 million employees. Representing itself as the UK's largest employer, the NHS currently has 217 trusts in operation.

During the 2018/2019 period, the Department for Health and Social Care had an expenditure  of £130.3 billion pounds and these finances have been utilised to provide funding for GP based  services, public health, ambulance provision, hospitals (as of 2019, there were around 1200  hospitals in place), community services, training, mental health services and vaccinations.  Clinical Commissioning groups (CCGs) that number at around 200, ensure that plans for  hospital, primary and community-based services are put into place.

In the forefront of current news and events throughout 2020, the NHS has understandably  taken a highly visual stance in leading and managing the current coronavirus (COVID-19)  pandemic, strategically providing a whole host of community and hospital based services to  tackle the challenging issues that coronavirus continues to present. The NHS has also been able  to provide skilled help and resources (e.g. Personal Protective Equipment - PPE) to manage,  contain and hopefully reduce associated infection control issues.


Private Healthcare
In the United Kingdom, the private, or independent healthcare sector is significant and  available to access on an individual level. Such privately offered care gives those people who  choose to use the huge range of independent options available, access to paid treatment such as hospitals, private GP/doctor services and other healthcare services. Access to private  healthcare can be via individually held health and medical insurance policies, or through  relevant employer-offered cover and benefits.

Private healthcare can have many advantages and may empower a person to skip (sometimes of considerable length) NHS waiting lists such as for operations and other procedures. It can  provide more choice on hospital, including location of any care required, giving overall reassurance that the NHS might not be able to offer. Of huge benefit, the private healthcare  sector will often give rapid access to required diagnosis and treatment, providing a more  flexible choice of consultant, or required professional.

Private health insurance is often grouped within three main areas of insurance policy.  

Firstly, opting for a hospital cash plan can attract a lower premium monthly but will only  provide cover within pre-defined amounts to contribute towards a hospital stay.

Health insurance via a private policy can be an alternative method to gain private health cover  (via a monthly premium cost, covering any illness) and is often available through the routes of  individual, family or employment-based cover. 

Lastly, critical illness insurance can provide a one-off cash sum when the policy holder has a  diagnosis leading to a specific condition or life-threatening illness (e.g. stroke, cancer, heart  attack, major organ transplant, kidney failure etc).


Public & Private Health Care Services
The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) challenges are understandably throwing a spotlight on  both private and publicly funded community healthcare services, including care homes that  operate with and without nursing care. These services have been providing healthcare throughout an unprecedented period in an ongoing effort to ensure they provide high quality,  personalised, effective residential and nursing care. 

There is a vast array of residential and nursing care home services to choose from in the UK  and at a casual glance it is easy to become overwhelmed with the choices available. With many  factors to consider and importantly price ranges (for those paid care services), choosing a care  home or private care facility is not necessarily an easy task. 

Those considering such a service will need to look at individual priorities and needs required,  what care home services are offered and look to regulators (such as the Care Quality  Commission - CQC) to help give an overview and insight to the care home and its overall quality 'rating'.

The CQC governing and inspection process also regulates and inspects NHS services  and hospitals.

Adult day care centres, mental health hospitals, supported living services, extra care housing,  home care/outreach services and a whole host of retirement villages, services and properties  are also available within many different healthcare settings. These services can typically meet  the needs of individuals who have simple or complex medical, physical, or mental health needs, providing holistically based care and support on a highly individual level. Most importantly, such healthcare services can also give peace of mind. 

Health and social care services are operated by privately offered and publicly funded providers, giving access to qualified and skilled professionals, resources and care which is often supplied  over 24-hours a day and 7-days per week.