Duncan Selbie's Friday Message – 17 April 2020
The adult social care system is one of the most important ways that the more than one million people in England who rely on social care every day are supported to stay safe and well, as independent as possible, and connected with families and friends. This is why it matters so much that these services remain on their feet as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and on Thursday, the Government announced the action plan for adult social care to underpin this. The plan sets out a four-pronged approach for all settings and contexts in which people receive care, including people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes. This commitment includes COVID-19 testing for all symptomatic residents and staff.
The pandemic has brought to the fore the nation’s reliance on the selfless dedication of the 1.5 million people who make up the paid social care workforce and the 5 million unpaid carers. In normal times, they are less visible than those who work in the NHS but they work just as tirelessly in support of the most vulnerable and it is timely that they receive the recognition they deserve.
The action plan and increased testing in social care settings will support care providers, the care workforce, unpaid carers, local authorities and the NHS as they navigate COVID-19 whilst continuing to provide high quality and safe social care.
Every Mind Matters
Today we have launched new mental health advice on our Every Mind Matters platform to support people’s mental health and wellbeing, particularly through this period of lockdown. Whether it is the frustrations of staying at home, uncertainty about work or education, or supporting someone with the virus, we have all been affected by COVID-19 in some way. We are very grateful for the continued support of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who have narrated a new film about the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing and signposting the Every Mind Matters service.
Surveillance and data
This week, we created a new COVID-19 dashboard, a collaboration between PHE and NHSX. Hosted on GOV.UK, this new dashboard presents data by regions and shows confirmed cases by specimen date (the date the test was taken) rather than reporting date (the date the laboratory reported the test). This is an important improvement as the specimen date tells a more accurate story about what is happening over time, which is crucial in our understanding of outbreaks and how the pandemic is evolving.
From next week, we will be publishing a weekly surveillance report on COVID-19 and a blog that will explain more about what this contains.
New regional directors
And finally, I am very glad to say we have confirmed the new senior leadership arrangements for our regional teams. The seven regional directors are also the Regional Directors of Public Health for the new regions of the NHS, building a strong bridge between the top teams of the NHS and directors of public health in local government. You can find out more here.
You can subscribe to the Friday message newsletter version which goes direct to your inbox here.