Changes to Covid-19 guidance for adult and older people care homes (Added 31 March)

The Scottish Government has written to services with updates to guidance for Adult and Older People care homes following a review of remaining pandemic recommendations.

All guidance will continue to be kept under review. It is anticipated that the remaining protective measures such as self-isolation periods for residents (cases and contacts), and restrictions on care home visits by community groups will be reviewed again in April.

You can read the letter here. 

We are aware that the information we released in a provider update yesterday (31 March) regarding asymptomatic testing for social care staff has caused some confusion.

We stated that all changes were to take place from Monday 18 April. The below text is a clarification to explain which changes should be undertaken as soon as it is possible and which changes will take place from 18 April. 

Letter to all registered childcare providers and childminders (Added 29 March)

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all registered childcare providers and childminders with information on:

  • How to watch last Thursday’s event on the updated guidance and testing programme;
  • How practitioners can provide input to a forthcoming event on vaccination;
  • A point of clarification on the use of refillable cleaning products.

Updated Guidance for childcare settings regarding Covid-19 (Added 17 March)

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all all registered childcare providers and childminders with an update on a unified approach across chldcare settings regarding routine protective measures and testing. 

Childcare Sector Omicron Impacts Fund (Added 11 February)

On 10 February 2022 the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy announced a further round of financial support for sectors of the economy impacted by the Omicron variant. This package of support includes a new £6.5 million Childcare Sector Omicron Impacts Fund to provide one-off grants to the childcare sector this financial year.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter with more information. 

Letter to all registered childcare providers and childminders (Added 4 February)

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all all registered childcare providers and childminders with an update on the following:

  • ELC Covid safety guidance suite
  • Testing and Vaccination Communications Toolkit
  • LFD Kits: Orders and Deliveries
  • Fact-sheet on the self-isolation policy for contacts of positive Covid cases aged under 5 (Annex A)
  • Publication of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill.

Changes to self-isolation and visiting for adult care homes (Added 20 January)

The Scottish Government has reviewed policy with Public Health Scotland and ARHAI Scotland and made updates outlined in a letter to the sector.

In summary, the updates are:

  1. Self-isolation periods for residents who are contacts of Covid-19 positive case or are themselves Covid-19 positive has now changed from 14 days to 10 days.
  2. Precautionary 14 days self-isolation of residents following discharge from hospital to a care homes has now been removed for residents on the non-respiratory pathway and has reduced from 14 to 10 days for residents on the respiratory pathway (the respiratory pathway is determined by the Respiratory Screening Tool as per the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual: Winter (21/22), Respiratory Infections in Health and Care Settings Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Addendum. To summarise, if you are on the respiratory pathway this means those that have answered ‘yes’ to the screening tool, that is they are Covid-19 positive or a close contact of someone who is Covid-19 positive within 10 days).
  3. Removal of guidance on limiting the number of households that can visit a care home resident at any one time to two. This follows the First Minister’s announcement on changes to guidance for the general public.
  4. Named visitors should be supported during outbreaks unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  5. Named visitors who visit a resident who is Covid-19 positive can visit the resident again during their isolation period.

Further details on these changes including any conditions that may be attached to them are detailed in the letter. The Scottish Government webpages will be updated by the end of the week to fully reflect these changes and Public Health Scotland will update its guidance to incorporate these changes.

Updated guidance on self-isolation exemption (Added 18 January 2022)

The Scottish Government has updated the self-isolation exemption guidance for health and social care staff. The updated guidance will be shown on this webpage in due course: Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates

The guidance means that staff who are identified as contacts and are fully vaccinated no longer need to undertake a PCR test before returning to work. They should take an LFD test instead. If the LFD test is negative and they don’t have a fever or other symptoms, they can continue to work following a risk assessment by their line manager. They should also continue to take an LFD test every day for a 10-day period.

The guidance clarifies that staff who test positive should pause their workplace LFD testing for 28 days (from day 1 of symptom onset or asymptomatic test date). If they are also required to PCR test weekly, they should also pause this for a period of 90 days.  Please note that the guidance highlights that the likelihood of a positive LFD test in the absence of a high temperature after 10 days is low, so further testing is not advised unless they have renewed symptoms.

The Scottish Government will produce a flowchart and FAQ document in the coming days to support the guidance.

Adult to child ratios and new notification during Omicron (Added 11 January 2022)

Like all services, early learning and childcare settings are operating under unprecedented circumstances due to the pandemic. The Omicron variant will be extremely challenging, particularly in terms of staffing.

To support continued delivery of safe, high-quality childcare for children and families as we move through this stage of the pandemic, we have temporarily adjusted our policy position on adult to child ratios and introduced a new notification.

High-quality experiences for children should be paramount. Adjusting adult to child ratios must only be used when all other options for additional staffing have been exhausted and a risk assessment has been undertaken. Our guidance gives information on the approach to risk assessment and the required notification.

Updated policy on self-isolation for social care workers (Added 6 January 2022)

Scottish Government has issued an updated policy framework setting out self-isolation guidance for health and social care staff. This is as a result of changes to the Covid-19 self-isolation guidance for the general population, which applies from 6 January, following the First Minister’s announcement on 5 January.

The policy framework sets out the conditions that will enable health and social care staff who are Covid-19 index cases (confirmed as positive cases), or contacts of a positive Covid-19 case to exit isolation early, in line with updated guidance for the general population.

As health and social care workers provide care and support to people for whom a Covid-19 infection can present a higher level of risk, additional safeguards will continue for care staff. These include testing regimes, infection prevention and control measures and personal protective equipment. This updated framework replaces the previous version dated 24 December 2021.