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Updated 19 June 2020

Contents


What impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on Direct Payments, what to do if you have a personal assistant (PA), how you can use Direct Payments to buy personal protection equipment and to prioritise essential tasks.

Call the Plymouth City Council or Devon CCG Personal Health Budget Team if you cannot get support due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and you do not have any other support network, which means you have no care today or tonight.

7 things you need to know about Direct Payments

  1. Direct payments should continue as before
  2. Open communication is very important
  3. The government expects direct payments to be used as flexibly as possible to manage any issues arising from COVID-19
  4. All personal care assistants are considered key workers
  5. Everybody with symptoms, including unpaid carers and personal care assistants, can get a test
  6. All direct payment holders can self-refer for testing if they're displaying symptoms
  7. Anybody providing direct payment holders with care and support must get the PPE they need

Guidance on using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: the most important things to know - GOV.UK

Guidance for people receiving direct payments - GOV.UK


Direct payments funding pay dates 

  • We will make sure that your payments continue to be paid on your regular payment dates.

Personal Assistant (PA)

Insurance Providers

Insurance providers' useful information:


Frequently asked questions

Question

Answer

Is my PA classed as a critical worker?

YES

What if my PA is challenged on her way to visit me?

The PA should explain that they are classed as a critical worker.  The Direct Payment employer should contact Enham (Support Service Provider) if their PA requires a critical worker letter.

My PA is sick and can't work

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £118 per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is sick and self-isolating

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £118 per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is not sick but is self-isolating

The PA will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if their average earnings are at least £118 per week (calculated over an 8 week period). However, those who are ineligible are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance depending on their personal circumstances.

My PA is not sick and able to work but I am self-isolating

The PA must be paid their contracted hours

You and your PA must follow the Health and Safety new rules and procedures very seriously and implement them based on government guidance. This is for yours and their protection as well as reducing the risk of infection to other people

Where the PA has capacity to support other vulnerable people, the PA should contact Plymouth City Council on 01752 668000

My PA is not sick but has children at home

The PA is classed as a critical worker. 

You should follow the government advice about schools opening. 

Where this is not possible, children should continue to attend school or nursery.  The PA should contact the school or the nursery for more information

My PA can work and I am not self-isolating

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                              

If your PA can work, they should carry on fulfilling their caring duties.

You and your PA must follow the Health and Safety new rules and procedures very seriously and implement them based on government guidance. This is for yours and their protection as well as reducing the risk of infection to other people.

What should I do if you, as the employer or buyer of a service, have symptoms of COVID-19?

We are currently experiencing sustained transmission of COVID-19 across the UK.  Sustained transmission is when infection is widespread and that for many people with COVID-19 infection, we are unable to work out who or where they got it from.

Public Health England recommendations include that you should always put on PPE when visiting clients regardless of their symptoms whilst we are experiencing sustained transmission of COVID-19 across the UK. 

Full details are available in the Public Health England guidance in section 2: recommendations explained - questions and answers.

IMPORTANT:

If you feel it is safer for your PA to self-isolate, even though they haven't displayed any symptoms, you will need to pay their contracted hours

 


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Using Direct Payment to buy additional personal protection equipment or prioritise essential tasks at home

Personal protection equipment (PPE) can be:

  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Sanitiser gel
  • Aprons

Normally employers must ensure their employees are adequately protected, but with PPE in short supply, we request that Direct Payment Recipients contact Plymouth City Council if they have any concerns regarding the funding of PPE.  

If you need to stay home because of self-isolation, you can use Direct Payment funding in a more flexible way to prioritise essential tasks like:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Hygienic cleaning
  • Clothes washing
  • Food preparation

PPE Use

  • General PPE: gloves, masks, sanitiser gel and aprons
  • Bodily fluids: plastic aprons, fluid resistant surgical masks, eye protection and gloves are recommended

Employer Responsibility

  • People receiving Direct Payments normally purchase their own PPE
  • You must ensure that employee(s)' are adequately protected

Access to PPE

  • Employers should ensure that the necessary PPE is available for their PA's to use
  • Refer issues with access or funding of PPE supplies to Plymouth City Council

PPE Disposal

  • It is essential that PPE is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. It should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin
  • PHE's guidance on laundry and waste disposal

PPE Guidance

 


Prevention and infection control

General Control Measures

  • Personal assistants and care workers should follow Advice on appropriate hand hygiene
  • Increased cleaning activity: use the usual household products such as detergents and bleach because these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly
  • Keep the property ventilated by opening windows whenever safe

Laundry

  • Do not shake laundry items before washing to minimise risk of dispersing the virus through the air
  • All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load
  • Using a laundrette: wait a further 72hrs after the 7 day isolation or 14 day household isolation period has ended
  • Heavily soiled items (body fluids, vomit, diarrhoea or items that cannot be washed should be disposed of, with your consent
  • PHE's guidance on laundry and waste disposal

Self-Isolating

  • You may use your Direct Payment funding in a more flexible way to prioritise essential tasks like:
    • Personal hygiene
    • Hygienic cleaning
    • Clothes washing
    • Food preparation

 


Statutory Sick Pay explained

If your Personal Assistant tells you they have symptoms of COVID-19 as described on NHS website, they should stay home or you can send them home. If they earn above the Lower Employment Limit (LEL) statutory sick pay would apply from day one.

If they do not qualify, they can check GOV.UK to see if they can get financial support in the form Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.

The statutory sick pay (SSP) regulations 2020 (coronavirus amendment) came into force Friday 13 March. Statutory Sick Pay will now be payable to those self-isolating merely under Government guidance so there's no need for formal written notice to be given by a medical officer. 


Test and trace

Tests for PAs

The government considers PAs as essential workers and therefore applications for tests can be made on GOV.UK. Alternatively, you can refer your PA for a test yourself if your PA is self-isolating due to having coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of their household has symptoms. This can be done through the employer referral portal.

The test is most effective in the first 3 days of infection (but can still be effective up to 5 days). This means that any PA who has COVID-19 related symptom should get tested as soon as possible. Tests should not be done after 5 days of infection, unless they are specifically told it is possible.

The NHS Test and Trace service:

  • Ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • Helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

Important: Direct Payment Recipients should keep a temporary record of the shift patterns of their PAs for 21 days. If NHS Test and Trace ask for this data, you should provide it to them. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. 

Further information


Useful guidance

Where to get direct payment help and advice in Plymouth

Enham - Support Service Provider:

Plymouth City Council

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group - Personal Health Budget Team


Further information