Houlihan, C. F., et al. |2020| Pandemic peak SARS-CoV-2 infection and seroconversion rates in London frontline health-care workers|Lancet (London, England).
Nosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a major public health concern. Health-care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of developing COVID-19, and may themselves contribute to transmission.
To evaluate these risks, the experts behind this studyenrolled 200 patient-facing HCWs between March 26 and April 8, 2020, in SARS-CoV-2 Acquisition in Frontline Healthcare Workers—Evaluation to inform Response (SAFER), a prospective cohort study in high-risk frontline HCWs in an acute National Health Service hospital trust in London. We collected nasopharyngeal swabs for RT-PCR twice per week, symptom data, and blood samples monthly for high-sensitivity serology assays (ELISA and flow cytometry for spike glycoprotein).
The authors compared the risk of SARS-CoV-2 positive disease by RT-PCR detection
in the 1 month of follow-up in those who tested negative by serology and RT-PCR at baseline (122 of 181 HCWs) with those who were positive by serology and negative by RT-PCR at baseline (33 of 181 HCWs).
These data highlight the urgent need to implement policies to better protect HCWs and for regular asymptomatic HCW surveillance in hospital settings that will protect both HCW staff and patients from nosocomial transmission through a potential SARS-CoV-2 second wave. Vaccines, if and when they become available, should initially be prioritised for HCWs.
Full article available to read from The Lancet
With the recent announcement to pause shielding for clinically vulnerable people from 1 August 2020, there will be greater numbers of staff returning to the workplace. This guidance outlines: the organisational considerations when planning for staff to return; tips for managers; signposts to useful resources; and good practice examples from NHS trusts.
Full detail: Supporting staff to return to the workplace | NHS Employers
Workforce race inequalities and inclusion in NHS providers | The King’s Fund
Despite having one of the most ethnically diverse workforces in the public sector, there are long-standing race inequalities issues in the NHS workforce, including a lack of ethnic minority representation at senior levels, ethnic minority staff being much more likely to report they have experienced discrimination at work than white staff, and fewer ethnic minority staff reporting their trust offers equal opportunities for career progression.
This research explores how three NHS provider organisations have sought to address workforce race inequalities and develop positive and inclusive working environments.
Full report: Workforce race inequalities and inclusion in NHS providers
BMJ | 2020; 369: m2195 | published 10th June
This study looked to examine the protective effects of appropriate personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare professionals who provided care for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19).
Despite being at high risk of exposure, study participants were appropriately protected and did not contract infection or develop protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Healthcare systems must give priority to the procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment, and provide adequate training to healthcare professionals in its use.
Full research paper: Use of personal protective equipment against coronavirus disease 2019 by healthcare professionals in Wuhan, China: cross sectional study
NHS Employers | May 2020 |Bereavement support for NHS staff during COVID-19
NHS and social care staff have free access to the Stay Alive app, which aims to provide help to people with existing mental health concerns, suicidal thoughts, and those struggling in self isolation. It provides information to help colleagues stay safe, including advice for people concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.
Available for free through the App Store and Google Play, the app is fully functional for offline use once downloaded. Users also have the option to create a profile to synchronise their data for use with the online version.
Details from NHS Employers
NHS Employers | May 2020 | Bereavement support for NHS staff during COVID-19
NHS Employers have produced new bereavement guidance to support staff following the loss of a colleague, friend or family member during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The compassionate resources, produced by NHS England and NHS Improvement, provide practical support and also highlight additional resources noting the cultural diversity of our workforce.
The resources include:
- A guidance note outlining the process to take after a death in service.
- COVID: Leading during bereavement – a guidance document on good leadership during bereavement.
- Losing a colleague – a quick reference on how to access support when you have lost a colleague.
Bereavement support during COVID-19
COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care | April 2020|COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care
A resource for those working in domiciliary care providing information on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
This resource is primarily for care workers and providers delivering care in the following settings:
- visiting homecare
- extra care housing
- live-in homecare
It provides guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during sustained COVID-19 transmission in the UK, and explains how PPE guidance applies to the homecare (domiciliary care) setting.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): a resource for care workers delivering homecare (domiciliary care)
Department of Health and Social Care | April 2020 | Mobile coronavirus testing units to target frontline workers
Essential workers and the most vulnerable will receive increased access to coronavirus tests after the government unveiled a network of mobile testing units to travel where there is significant demand, including care homes, police stations and prisons.
The number of new mobile units is being scaled up after a successful pilot last week, which saw Department of Health and Social Care vehicles refitted to fully functioning testing sites, following a design developed by the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Today, there are 8 existing mobile units carrying out tests across the country, including in Salisbury, Southport and Teesside.
- Units will respond to areas of highest demand, travelling to test frontline workers and the most vulnerable at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons
- The new units will work alongside the country’s drive-through test sites, sending patient samples to the network of Lighthouse Labs, to rapidly increase the number of tests done each day
(Source: Department of Health and Social Care)
Mobile coronavirus testing units to target frontline workers
NHS England | April 2020 |NHS urges public to stay safe ahead of Ramadan
NHS England really published this news release. As Muslims begin to prepare for the month of Ramadan, the NHS has issued a reminder to those who observe the Islamic holy month to avoid social gatherings because of the risk of coronavirus.
Ramadan will be marked all over the world from Thursday 23 April with month-long fasting and observations of spiritual reflection set to end on Saturday 23 May. This is followed by Eid the festival of fast breaking where traditionally family and friends get together to attend special prayers and celebrate the end of the holy month.
Additional guidance and key advice have also been issued to NHS managers and staff working in hospitals and healthcare settings to cover adjustments over working hours and fasting arrangements for Muslim colleagues who are not eating or drinking during daylight hours until evening sunset.
The NHS has a diverse workforce with an estimated 3.3% of the 1.4 million NHS workers being from a Muslim background. Fasting plays an important central feature in many major religions although there are a number of exemptions where adult Muslims do not fast during Ramadan. (Source: NHS England).
Full news release available from NHS England
Covid-19 Health Workforce Estimator | World Health Organisation
This planning tool aims to help countries to visualise and estimate the health workforce necessary for acute and intensive care over the course of the pandemic, and to project the timing and severity of the peak of the outbreak.
The toolkit will assist countries in estimating the numbers of health workers needed based on projected numbers of moderate, severe and critical patients per day. This understanding of the potential workload from Covid-19 will also allow countries to anticipate and better address the mental health care needs of health workers.