COVID-19: Staff Information Hub
FAQs: Staff Guidance
The government has issued advice on wearing face coverings which can be found at Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
You must wear a face covering at all times on public transport or when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient. If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.
Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
Within a work environment BrisDoc will provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks where required in line with the national guidance.
Further information can be found here:
This guidance is for everyone to help reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19) and passing it on to others. Full advice can be found at How to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Keep a safe distance (social distancing).
If you must leave your home:
- stay at least 2 metres away from people you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble
- reduce the time spent in crowded areas where it may be difficult to socially distance (such as shops and supermarkets)
- avoid direct contact and face to face contact with people you do not live with
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Clean your surroundings
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Wear a face covering
- Let fresh air in
- Get tested in you have symptoms
- Self isolate in you or someone you live with has Covid-19 symptoms
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms:
- high temperature– this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
- To arrange a test please visit – the Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Alternatively – call 119
How long to stay at home?
Please see updated government advice explaining what to do for negative, positive and inconclusive test results for each test type – Your coronavirus (COVID-19) test result – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
If you are need to self-isolate in line with this advice, please contact you manager as per your normal absence reporting procedures.
This period will be treated as a ‘sick period’. We recognise that staff may not be able to obtain a GP fit note for a sickness period over 7 days, if your period of Covid related sickness extends this period please use 111 online to obtain an isolation note via Get an isolation note – NHS (111.nhs.uk) and submit this to the workforce team.
If a member of your household has covid symptoms, the household will need to self-isolate. Arrange a test for the symptomatic individual(s) using the process outlined above. If the result is negative then the household can leave self-isolation, if it is positive then the follow self-isolation guidance as per – when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do
In this situation please inform your line manager as per standard sickness reporting routes. If you are able to work from home during this period, this would be preferable. If you are unable to work from home then this will be recorded as sickness absence.
If you’re told to self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus you must do so. Your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive and the next 10 full days.
In this situation, please inform your line manager as per standard sickness reporting routes. If you are able to work from home during this period, this would be preferable. If you are unable to work from home then this will be recorded as sickness absence.
The following will be classed as ‘sickness’:
- An individual who is symptomatic for Covid-19 (or any other illness).
- An individual who, in following national guidance has to self-isolate and is unable to work from home in some capacity (which might include altered duties).
In these situations:
- All staff, irrespective of length of service, will receive a sick pay allocation of a minimum of 14 days pro rata at full pay (1 period only, inclusive of SSP where applicable).
- Sick pay entitlement will not include absence taken in the previous 12 months but rather ‘start again’ as if there has been no previous sickness absence in this period.
- Following this initial period, we will revert to the sick pay allowance within the standard terms and conditions noting the following:
- if an individual is ill for an extended period and unable to work, we will look at this on a case by case basis;
- if an individual has to self-isolate for an extended period, in line with national guidance, our preference would be that we facilitate working from home in some capacity.
- We will work outside of our standard sickness management process during this time i.e. we will not undertake stage 1 sickness reviews etc. However, we will still ‘check in’ with staff including those returning after a period of absence.
- To arrange a test please visit – the Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Alternatively – call 119
Please also remember to follow normal sickness processes to inform your line manager that you are self-isolating in line with national guidance.
Wherever possible we will ask staff to work remotely. However, if this is not possible due to the nature of the role you may be asked to attend a different BrisDoc site if possible.
Where this is not available or staff are asked to remain away from all sites, then staff will receive their normal contracted rates of pay.
While your child may have been asked to self-isolate, unless they have symptoms, you will not need to. While recognising there may be caring responsibilities, from an isolation perspective you are able to follow your ‘normal’ routine, including coming into the workplace.
The reality is that, for many of us in this situation, we will need to be at home to care for dependents, while also being needed in our services to care for patients in a variety of ways. We would ask you to work with your line manager and colleagues to balance these conflicting demands. This might include:
- remote working where feasible
- changes in working pattern, so for example working evenings instead of days, this could mean working in alternate services
- sharing caring responsibilities wherever possible to allow periods of work even where ‘normal’ hours are not met
- using a proportion of annual leave during this time (and certainly that accrued during this period) – this would need to be recorded as annual leave.
At present, our policy allows for staff to be paid for up to 5 days pro rata within a rolling 12 months.
At this time there is no national guidance related to reimbursing carers for long term absence and we are seeking further clarity on this. That said we are hoping that, in working together, we are able to find a path that allows individuals to continue to work, all be it with potential adjustments, while reducing the financial implications for individuals.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.
People most at risk of getting seriously ill are known as clinically extremely vulnerable.
You’re considered clinically extremely vulnerable if:
- your doctor or GP has classed you as clinically extremely vulnerable because they think you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill
- you’ve been identified as possibly being at high risk through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment
- you’ve had an organ transplant
- you’re having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- you’re having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- you’re having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- you have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- you’ve had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- you’ve been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- you have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- you’re taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- you have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
- you have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
- you’re an adult with Down’s syndrome
- you’re an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
Full guidance for those who are shielding due to being extremely clinically vulnerable can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.
These formal shielding measures will apply across the whole of England until at least 31 March 2021.
To support our staff to follow this advice line managers are continuing to update undertaking risk assessments with their staff members as needed and where needed, there will be oversight of these assessments by a clinical lead.
If you believe that you are ‘at risk’ and are concerned that socially distancing measures have not been discussed / actioned please contact your line manager or the workforce team via firstname.lastname@example.org
We will support you in following this advice. If an individual has to self-isolate for an extended period our preference would be that we facilitate working from home in some capacity. However, where this is not possible, we will pay sick pay (inclusive of SSP where applicable). In this instance we will ask that staff do allocate the annual leave accrued during this period to this ‘leave’ period.
We will listen to any concerns staff may have and if there are genuine concerns, we will try to resolve them to protect the health and safety of our staff. However, if an employee refuses to attend work, and after consideration of circumstances appears to be without valid reason, such a stance cannot be supported and could result in disciplinary action.
If you have annual leave booked, but due to the current circumstances are available to work instead, please check with your line manager if your help is required. If not, whilst we appreciate any holiday travel plans are not possible, please continue to take your leave.
It is important that we all rest and look after our own wellbeing at this time and so, we ask that individuals continue to book and take annual leave during this period. As circumstances improve, we know services will continue to be greatly needed and it may not be possible for us to agree any significant increase in holiday requests later in the year. Please ensure that you discuss any future annual leave requests with your line manager before booking flights, hotels etc. in line with our standard policy.
At this time, we are continuing with our standard ‘carry forward’ and ‘buy back’ procedures. These are:
- Holiday Buy Back: BrisDoc operates a flexible holiday arrangement to enable all staff to ‘sell’ holiday back to BrisDoc at their normal (or average, if more than one) rate of pay. This only applies to holiday above the statutory minimum that has not been used, and must be agreed in advance with your Line Manager at least 4 weeks before 31st December. Holiday entitlement not used by the correct date or agreed to be bought back by BrisDoc will usually be lost. Holiday buy back is paid in January payroll.
- Holiday Carry Forward: In exceptional circumstances, employees can carry forward up to a maximum of 1 weeks’ worth of annual leave over and above the statutory minimum into the following year. This equates to the employee’s average weekly hours. Any holiday carried forward must be taken by the 31st March each year, or it will be lost.
It is important that we all rest and look after our own wellbeing at this time and so, we ask that individuals continue to book and take annual leave. We have confirmed that currently our standard ‘carry forward’ and ‘buy back’ procedures remain in place.
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes
Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus for up to date information.
Currently there is no official guidance regarding quarantine once foreign travel for leisure purposes is allowed. We will update staff guidance in relation to this in due course.
Yes! If you are in a position to work additional hours either within your current service or, an alternate service please contact the rota team via email@example.com
For this period, we do not wish to restrict individuals working time. However, we would ask that all staff have at least 1 rest day per week and, we would not wish any staff member to work over 12 hours per shift (taking the appropriate breaks).
If you have any concerns over individual staff working hours during this time please do discuss these with the workforce team.
This last year has been challenging for us all. We need to be kind to each other and support each other. This includes those physically in work and those who have needed to self-isolate or have become unwell.
The staff wellbeing hub at https://brisdoc.co.uk/staff-well-being-hub has access to a range of resources to help support individuals including the telephone number for our confidential staff support line. In addition, Mind have some excellent advice and support on how we can help support our mental health at this time – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing
If you have any suggestions for improving this wellbeing hub or would like any additional support please do not hesitate to contact the workforce team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
As staff that work within the Health service we are considered key workers. While we have, and are continuing to facilitate home working where possible, there are a number of us that are not able to work remotely and therefore must travel to and from our places of work. Please ensure that you carry your BrisDoc / NHS ID with you at these times to demonstrate that you are a Key worker. A SMART card can also be used. If you do not have a BrisDoc ID please contact the rota team via email@example.com
On 2nd April 2020 a joint letter was issued from the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS Resolution, and NHS England and NHS Improvement regarding clinical negligence indemnity in response to Coronavirus.
Please see the attachment on the CEM/CMO/2020/013 alert via https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewAndAcknowledgment/viewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103017
Covid Safe Working recommendations suggest that, where possible, personal items should be stored within personal storage spaces.
Within our workplaces there is often limited space to allow this. We would therefore ask that staff limit the number of personal belongings that they bring into the workplace where possible.
While shared spaces will be regularly cleaned individuals are reminded that, they too, should use cleaning wipes when using shared storage spaces such as fridges in line with covid safe guidelines.
Do you need to self-isolate?
Ask the NHS COVID19 assessment tool
Can’t find the information you are looking for?
Send your questions directly to our Workforce Support Team.