COVID-19 update - 24 March 2020

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you updated daily with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic Health Command Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Last night’s announcement from the prime minister was very clear about the urgency of the steps we all need to take to protect the NHS and save lives.

Across our region, organisations will be looking at how they can further support as many people to work from home as possible to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading. But we know this is not possible for everyone and many health and care staff will still be required to come into their workplace to protect and care for others. We need to do all we can to support them. This of course also includes people who work ‘behind the scenes’ - the catering teams who make sure our patients are well nourished (and our staff too!); the teams who keep our buildings clean and maintained; the teams who make sure people are being paid; the teams manning our call centres, helpdesks and keeping our IT systems safe and of course our many volunteers. Thank you to everyone for your support.

Some of our organisations are now putting in place arrangements with hotels so that staff who are not able to return home have the option of NHS reimbursed hotel accommodation while they continue to work. As cases of Coronavirus increase this will become more important although I recognise it will not be easy for staff to be living away from their loved ones at this time. The guidance is here.

There is some really helpful information in the latest bulletin from Health Education England North East. Their response is being co-ordinated by Professor Namita Kumar and all information can found here.

I hope you are finding this bulletin helpful. Please do let us know if there are items you would like us to include here.

Thanks for your continued support.

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
Other news and guidance

A national daily update for those working in primary care has been developed. Those interested in receiving it should sign up here.

Advice for pregnant NHS staff: This is the latest guidance from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Free, open access to COVID-19 e-learning programme for entire UK health and care workforce: Health Education England has created an e-learning programme in response to COVID-19 that is free to access, without logging in, for the entire UK health and care workforce, including those working in the NHS, the independent sector and social care. The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus. Content includes:

· Essential guidance from the NHS, Government and WHO
· Infection prevention and control
· Personal protection equipment
· Critical care resources
· RCGP learning
· Invasive ventilation
· Intensive care medicine
· Anaesthesia
· Induction of international and returning GPs
· Statutory and mandatory training

For more information about the programme here.

Check out some of the latest stories in the media from our region

  • Panorama goes behind the scenes at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - if you didn’t catch it you can watch it here and read more about it here.
  • Ken Bremner, chief executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust thanks staff and the local community for all they are doing in the Sunderland Echo
  • A social media campaign #thankyouNHS has been launched to encourage people to share the ways in which they are thanking the NHS. Join the conversation online to help further show our staff how much we appreciate their efforts during this difficult time.
  • At the weekend questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people were published. Guidance on what schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is available here. DfE has set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions.
Additional publications