Welsh Government

News bulletin: Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales

This is a very Important E-mail update about Coronavirus restrictions in Wales. It made me decide with the tourism industry in mind, but it is relevant to ALL citizens in Wales at this concerning time.

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Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales 

Following the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister has set out a phased timetable to ease restrictions for large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, and leisure and tourism sectors. Read in detail on the Welsh Government website.

The current proposals at the review on 10 July, which are subject to change, envisage re-opening the visitor economy as follows:

6 July 2020

Outdoor visitor attractions

On 6 July the Welsh Government lifted the requirement to stay local allowing people to travel around Wales and to visit outdoor visitor attractions, subject to strict social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

11 July 2020

Reopening self-contained holiday accommodation

Self-catering accommodation can only be let to members of the same or extended household. This also includes serviced accommodation where bedroom occupancy can only be let to the same or extended household and not, for example, friends booking a twin bedroom or a family bedroom, etc.

This includes any accommodation that is entirely self-contained, e.g. holiday cottages, holiday caravans including touring caravans, motorhomes, boats and some glamping accommodation with their own kitchens and bathrooms that no other guests use.

Also in this category:

  • Hotels and other serviced accommodation (e.g. B&Bs, hostels, etc.) that do provide en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals.
  • Caravan parks where accommodation is entirely self-contained – but shared facilities on the premises will remain closed, such as swimming pools, leisure facilities, shared shower and toilets blocks, shared laundry, etc, and public areas in other accommodation types. This means any caravan or touring site where individual accommodation has its own supply of water for on board shower, WC and cooking with strict application of guidance on shared waste disposal and water points.

All shared facilities, aside from water and disposal points, should remain closed including toilets, shower blocks, laundry, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, cafes, etc.

13 July 2020

Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants re-open outdoors

Indoor visitor attractions excluding any part of a visitor attraction which is underground.

25 July 2020

Camping and caravanning with shared facilities prepare for re-opening

3 August

Indoor hospitality prepare for re-opening

Check back later for more information.

To be confirmed

Re-opening of remaining visitor attractions subject to further scientific advice and discussions with the industry

Check back later for more information.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for safely re-opening your business 

Visitor Economy Guidance is available to help tourism and hospitality businesses safely re-open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Additional guidance has also been produced in consultation with the Hospitality sector for Pubs, Bars, Cafes and Restaurants re-opening outdoors, which can be viewed on the UK Hospitality website.

As each premises is different, businesses should read all guidance to understand the measures to be considered to re-open the business safely.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Coronavirus (COVID19) is also updated regularly on Gov.Wales – please check back regularly.


Important New Policy Guidance – Maintaining Records of Staff, Customers & Visitors

Coronavirus will be with us until an effective vaccine is available or there is enough immunity among the population. As lockdown restrictions ease, general rules around social distancing and handwashing will remain important in reducing the risk of transmission. Our Test, Trace, Protect strategy will be key in controlling the spread of new outbreaks, particularly as public spaces start to re-open.

As people increasingly come into greater contact with others, there is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in some sectors. This is because customers and visitors will spend a longer time on these premises than in other surroundings, and will potentially come into close contact with people outside of their household. These sectors include:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes.
  • Tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums and cinemas.
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries and leisure centres.

For businesses operating in these sectors, important new policy guidance from Welsh Government has now been published. This describes the important role these businesses play in supporting contact tracing and keeping Wales safe. As a business operating in one of these sectors, you now need to start collecting details and maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to your premises. This guidance is not a legal requirement, but it is strongly advised that you follow this advice to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.


Large tourism companies welcome Economic Resilience Fund support of £2m from Welsh Government

As restrictions begin to be gradually eased at tourism sites and attractions across Wales, the Welsh Government’s bespoke Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has provided vital support of more than £2 million to some of our largest key tourism companies.

Today, Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, visited one of the fund recipients, Zip World, which re-opened two of its three sites earlier this week, offering thrill-seekers six of the Zip World adventures.

Sean Taylor, founder of Zip World, said: “We’ve welcomed the support and hard work from all the team at the Welsh Government during this crisis.  We thank them for their continued effort to safely get the visitor economy back up and running again and for recognising the significance of our brand to the local North Wales economy.”

The ERF, which is part of the Welsh Government’s £1.7bn support package for business, is providing significant financial support to companies across Wales and complements the support provided by the UK Government. To date, it has provided more than 8,200 businesses with financial support worth more than £230m.

Other large tourism companies which have received ERF funding include Bourne Leisure; Bluestone and JH Leeke, which operates the Vale Resort. Read in full on the Welsh Government website.


Stay up to date with tourism industry news

We are committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs during these unprecedented difficult times and have issued several Coronavirus (COVID-19) related bulletins which can be found on the Tourism Industry Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bulletins page.


Business Wales is providing businesses with tailored support and advice about dealing with coronavirus, from financial and supply chain planning to advice on staffing issues. We would advise Tourism businesses and stakeholders in Wales wanting specific guidance to visit the Business Wales website or call Business Wales helpline on 03000 6 03000, and to regularly visit the Public Health Wales website for up-to-date public health information for you, your staff and your visitors.

Emergency on Planet Earth #34

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

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I am just writing this blog very quickly after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced a series of changes to the lockdown requirements in Wales.

Drakeford remained cautious, but he is probably under huge pressure from the business community to relax many of the rules that are designed to keep us safe. I thought that he juggled the need to protect the vulnerable and provide hope to the private sector, really well.

A full report of the press conference can be found by clicking here. I have also copied a Tweet below which provides footage from this afternoon’s briefing. The most important thing we should all take from this update is that the Coronavirus crisis is not over and that it remains crucial that we all stay local and carry on practising social distancing and hand washing measures.

What l fear will happen is that a great many people will regard this relaxation of the lockdown as a cue to return to the pre-Covid 19 lives. We all want to be free and live our lives to the full, but the sensible ones amongst us will realise that we have to be patient a little while longer…

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The football season has started again, with several crucial games being played out over the next few weeks.  The fact that the capitalist wheel of production is now back in motion underlies my distaste for the modern game and justifies my decision to relive season 1983/84.

The only good thing about having the prima donna’s back on the football field is that l can now resume my betting habit. This is something that l keep under control by only betting what l can afford to lose.

Whenthefunstopsstop-20190805114029471

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This is the latest spam email that l have received this morning. My heart goes out to those who think this is a genuine email.  They are obviously sadly deluded or are so arrogant and big headed that they can believe such far fetched  stories:

Hey,

I am Jenna and I will be helping you with your account.

Thank you so much for choosing us to help you find beautiful women searching for casual sex encounters. I am also a member of the site and I live really close by.

I am so happy that you were assigned to me, because I think you are very attractive. Additionally, my friend Amber and I think it might be fun if we both got with you at the same time 🙂

We are both twenty seven years old and you can see our nudes and hot videos here [I have deleted the link for your safety – NLD].

I am the one with the huge tits and she is the one with the perfect a-s.

We can totally meet up tonight babe if you are looking to hook up with two really hot chicks at the same time.

There are also three other women that you should check out. They have already told me that they would like to get you in the sack.

Written Statement by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

The following written statement, has been made by Vaughan Gething MS, aimed at those people who are currently shielding themselves during the Coronavirus crisis.

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The Chief Medical Officer for Wales initially advised those who were most susceptible to the most serious effects of COVID 19 to shield for a period of 12 weeks. That initial 12 weeks comes to an end on 15 June and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales has now confirmed the next steps for this group of people.

On 31 May the Chief Medical Officer for Wales updated his advice to those who are shielding. From 1 June the advice allowed unlimited exercise outdoors, and also indicated that those shielding could meet with members of one other household outdoors, as long as strict physical distancing and hygiene practices are adhered to. These changes, whilst modest, were a significant change for those who are shielding, some of whom had not left their homes for over 10 weeks.

New letters from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will start to issue shortly to those who are shielding, confirming the changes that were announced on Sunday 31 May and also asking those who are shielding to continue to do so for a further period of time. There are no other changes being made to the advice for those who are shielding at this stage. People who are shielding should continue to follow all the other advice previously given. They should not go shopping or attend work outside of home. They should continue to have food and medicine delivered to them.

Whilst it has been possible to make changes to some of the advice around exercise and meeting people outside, the virus has not gone away and as such it would be unwise to introduce any further relaxations to the advice at this time. The latest statement from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales is published here for your reference.

Going forward, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will start to review the advice for those who are shielding on the same cycle as the review of the lockdown regulations. However, we do not expect that any further relaxation will be possible for this group for some time and so we have committed to write again to those who are shielding by 16th August.

Whilst some people will be reassured by the limited changes to advice, for some people this continuation of shielding will be a difficult message. I recognise that to be advised not to go to work or school or do your own shopping is challenging and frustrating, but this advice is in place for the safety of those who are shielding. However, I should emphasise this is advice and not instruction. Just as we all have choices to make for ourselves and our families as we come out of lockdown, those who are shielding will also want to choose how to respond and how best to manage their lives. The advice is in place for the safety of individuals.

I want to reiterate my previous thanks to those who have been shielding so diligently – not only protecting themselves but also helping to protect our NHS. I recognise how challenging these last few months, with minimal face-to-face contact with others, has been.

I continue to be incredibly proud of all those who have and continue to provide the vital support to enable people to shield. Our Local Authority partners, pharmacies, volunteers and major food retailers have continued to make huge efforts to make shielding possible and I am grateful to them for their continuing commitment.

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

Emergency on Planet Earth #27

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE THE FOLLOWING PETITION TO ENSURE THE £500  BONUS  PAYMENT THAT IS BEING PAID BY THE WELSH GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT STAFF ACROSS WALES IS NOT SUBJECTED TO TAX BY THE UK GOVERNMENT.

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The Welsh Labour Government has announced social care staff across Wales will receive a special one-off payment of £500, as further recognition for their work on the frontline of this crisis. This includes ancillary staff such as cooks and cleaners, as well as nursing staff employed by care homes.

We want every penny of this £500 to be in the hands of those care home and domiciliary care workers who have done so much for so many during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK Tory Government has said it won’t make this payment tax-free. This means our hardworking social care workforce won’t be able to keep every penny of this special £500 payment.

Our social care workers are providing an exceptional service – an exception should be made in this case.

Tell the Tories to reward our social care workforce in full.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE WELSH LABOUR GOVERNMENT PETITION – DON’T FORGET TO SHARE THIS PETITION VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. 

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Meanwhile in Wrexham…

Emergency on Planet Earth #24

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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First Minister Mark Drakeford has seemingly justified #SaveWILG campaigners for having such faith in him and supporting his campaign to become leader of Welsh Labour with his pragmatic and sensible approach to coming out of lockdown.

I am proud to be a member of Welsh Labour and continue to be concerned for my friends and comrades in England under the leadership of a clown.

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The following two articles sum up the differences between the Welsh Government approach and the one being rolled out by the Tories across the border in England.

Hospital admissions on day Johnson relaxed lock-down are double what they were when he imposed it – and deaths FIVE times higher  

Why the Welsh Government is only making one major lockdown change

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There was some exciting news this week with the announcement that the Premier League is due to resume on June 17th.   This is good news for anyone who follows football, but as l have fallen out of love with modern game, l am actually more excited for the start of the 1983/84 campaign, which l am due to relive starting at the end of August. I am busy collecting materials – such as programmes and Panini stickers – to give myself an authentic experience. I will also be turning back the cultural clock and enjoying music food and drink from this era. I will be blogging about my experiences, of course.

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We cannot forget or forgive the Dominic Cummings scandal. Below, Jonathan Pie gives a brilliant analysis of the whole episode that I recommend to everyone.

Welsh Government Urged to Recognise ALL Support Staff

I was very excited on May 1st, to read that the Welsh Government were planning on rewarding those working in social care with a £500 bonus.  This is the very least that such hardworking and patient people deserve. Disabled people throughout Wales would not be able to function without the support of this crucial army of front line workers.

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I employ about 8 staff to provide me with the 24/7 support that I need, through the Direct Payment scheme. Straight away, I was wondering if my staff would qualify for such a bonus. There is no doubt that they deserve it. My support workers assist me in every aspect of personal care – such as washing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating and drinking. Without such staff members I would be lost and they help me to achieve so much.

However, four days ago the First Minister further clarified which staff would receive the £500 bonus.  I have since been told that only those people on the care register will be eligible for the bonus. I do not think that my staff are registered to this, but this should not mean that they miss out as the work they do is just as dangerous and valued. All personal assistants that are employed through Direct Payments should be granted access to this bonus.

I decided to write about this issue as it is something I believe passionately in, and having received an email this morning from Plaid Cymru. This can be read below. I fully support this petition, but in my opinion it does not go quite far enough to promote the work and sacrifice of domiciliary staff, employed using Direct Payments. 

It goes without saying, that unpaid carers – often family members looking after those they love – should also receive this important payment. The same applies to cooks and cleaners who are an important part of any team in a residential setting.

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Everyone working in our care sector deserves the government’s £500 bonus.

At the moment, only those on the care register are eligible to receive the £500 bonus payment from our government. Plaid Cymru wants to ensure that all unpaid carers and those not on the care register receive the £500 bonus too.

We therefore call on the Welsh Government to give an equal payment to all staff who work in a care home setting – including cleaners and the catering staff at care homes who put their own safety at risk every day they go to work.

This pandemic has forced us to look at which jobs in our society are essential, and those who look after and support the most vulnerable in our society deserve to be recognised for the incredible contributions they make.

Delyth Jewell MS

First Minister of Wales announces £500 extra payment for care staff

The following press release has been taken from the Welsh Government website. It seems like excellent news and much appreciated as my search for staff continues…

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Speaking at the daily Welsh Government press conference, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the payment provides further recognition for an often “under-valued and overlooked” workforce.

The payment will be available to some 64,600 care home workers and domiciliary care workers throughout Wales.

It comes after the Welsh Government has provided an initial £40m extra funding for adult social care services to help meet the extra costs associated with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

Tens of thousands of people work in social care in Wales, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and are doing so with great dedication in often challenging circumstances.

They are undertaking tasks, which involve a high level of intimate personal care, often accepting a greater degree of risk and responsibility. Many of our social care workers are juggling their own personal caring responsibilities with their professional ones.

I want our social care workforce know their hard work is both appreciated and recognised. This payment is designed to provide some further recognition of the value we attach to everything they are doing to – it recognises this group of people are providing the invisible scaffolding of services, which support both our NHS and our wider society.

Further details about the extra payment will be announced shortly. The Welsh Government is working with local authorities, who commission social care services in Wales, and with trade unions and Care Forum Wales, to finalise details.

The First Minister has called on the UK Government not to tax the extra payment, enabling social care workers to keep the full amount. The Welsh Government is also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure it does not impact on people’s benefit entitlements.

The First Minister added:

We are urging the UK Government and the HMRC to make an exception in these truly exceptional circumstances.

Today’s announcement follows the announcement of the death in service payment for the families of all NHS and social care staff made by Health and Social Services Minister Vaughan Gething on Tuesday.

This scheme will provide eligible beneficiaries with a one-off sum of £60,000 and will apply to those working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who may have contracted coronavirus.

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Reaction and more detail from Unite can be read here.

Changes to Non-residential Social Care Charging

I have just received a second email of the day from Disability Wales, about charges for non-residential social care. While it is worrying that the maximum personal weekly contribution has been raised from £90 to £100, I am hoping that the majority of local authorities can clearly see that the majority of disabled people in Wales, could not afford such an eye-watering figure.

I urge anyone negatively impacted by this increase, to get in touch with Disability Wales.

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Dear Members

As of 6 April 2020 changes came into effect which updated some of the arrangements by which local authorities are able to charge for the social care and support they provide or arrange. These changes were introduced by amendments to the regulations and code of practice governing charging under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

The changes included an increase in the Maximum Weekly Charge applicable in non-residential charging from £90 to £100 per week. The capital limit applicable in non-residential care charging remains at £24,000 and the savings disregards remain unchanged.

While the increase to a maximum charge of £100 was long planned, it has been implemented at a very challenging time for anyone receiving social care. We are hearing reports from members that some are not getting their full package of support for a range of reasons related to the Coronavirus emergency.

We have raised our concerns about the increase in charges with Welsh Government, however it would strengthen our discussions with Ministers and officials, if we can provide more information about how it is affecting people around Wales. We’d be grateful if you can let us know the following:

  • Have your social care charges increased since 6th April and if so by how much?
  • Are you getting the full package of services as agreed in your assessment?

Any information you provide will be treated in confidence and anonymised in any communications with Welsh Government.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks

Rhian

Rhian Davies

Chief Executive/Prif Weithredydd

Coronavirus COVID-19  Disabled People’s Frequently Asked Questions

I thought it would be useful for my Wales-based disabled readers, to read the following FAQs concerning the Coronavirus outbreak. We need all the help and support we can get, so it is important to be armed with information such as this, which was kindly put together by Disability Wales. 

Stay safe everyone.

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Do we have any answers from Welsh government on protections for disabled people who access social care?   

Visits from care or healthcare workers, who would normally come and help with your daily needs or social care, will be able to carry on as normal. But carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature (above 37.8 °C) and/or new and continuous cough. 

You may find this guidance on home care provision useful: COVID-19: guidance on home care provision on GOV.UK 

Will the Coronavirus Bill have any impact on social care in Wales? 

Disability Wales has serious concerns about the implications of the Coronavirus Bill on human rights, especially the rights of specific groups, including disabled people. 

We welcome the UK Government’s amendment to ensure the Corona Virus Bill is to be renewed every six months, given the sweeping nature of the powers. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the Bill gives Ministers the powers to suspend the key provisions in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 unless services are needed to protect an adult from abuse or neglect or a risk of abuse or neglect. Unlike the suspension of the Care Act (2014) duties in England, there is no express requirement to avoid breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights included. 

We call on the Assembly to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of disabled people by ensuring that no services are withdrawn without undertaking an assessment to verify whether there would be a breach of human rights.  See link to joint statement issued http://www.disabilitywales.org/coronavirus-bill-statement/   

Will carers/disabled people be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) i.e. gloves, aprons, masks? 

Welsh Government are taking steps to enhance the arrangements in Wales for protecting our front-line health and social care staff who are caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. 

As social care has an essential role along with health care in response to COVID-19, PPE will also be released for use by social care providers.   

You can contact your local Direct Payment Support provider who will be able to signpost you to where you can get hold of PPE.  

How are ‘vulnerable’ people in Wales being identified or can they register themselves? 

Identification of those classed as high risk will be done through GP/hospital medical records. 

If you have been identified as being at high risk, you will receive a letter from the Welsh Government setting out the advice and sources of help and support in your local community. If you are employed, this is also proof that you will not be able to go to work while you are shielding and can be shared with your employer. If you are able to, you can work from home, if your job allows it. You will not need to get a fit note from your GP. 

If you need help from the welfare system visit Universal Credit on GOV.UK website. 

If you believe you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.  

Will testing be made available to carers / Personal Assistants and those being supported (disabled people)? 

Welsh Government are aiming to roll out testing beyond the NHS to social care.  They are increasing the capacity to do this.  It won’t happen immediately but it will be introduced in the coming weeks, with significant extra testing being introduced for other key workers including social care providers. 

Those providing social care will be tested if they present Corona like symptoms and they can then be returned to the workplace if the test provides the right result. 

We are yet to hear whether testing will be introduced for those being supported. 

I am unable to get a food delivery slot online at any supermarket what can I do? 

There are many local shops (butchers, greengrocers etc) offering a food delivery service or pick up.  You could try contacting local shops in your area to see is this is available.  

If you are online and use social media you can post to local community pages on Facebook for example, to find out what food delivery services are being provided in your area.   

Another option is to contact your local Community Voluntary Service (CVC) they may know of volunteers or services who could help you.  Here is a link to CVCs across Wales: https://www.gvs.wales/about-us/wcva-county-voluntary-councils-cvcs-and-volunteer-centres-vcs 

Or contact our office on 029 20887325 email: info@disabilitywales.org and we will do our best to look into the options for you, if you are unable to. 

My Carers / Personal Assistants have all called in sick due to Corona like symptoms, what shall I do? 

If you receive support through an agency then contact them straight away to inform them of the situation.  They will be able to advise you. 

If you do not receive support through an agency then contact your local social services to seek advice immediately.   

You can find a link to your local council’s website here: https://www.wlga.wales/welsh-local-authority-links 

I need to order and collect my repeat prescription/s.  What do I do as I’m classed as ‘vulnerable’ and I need to self-isolate? 

Many GP surgeries are restricting access to the surgery itself at this time.  You may have to order your repeat prescriptions over the telephone.  Please telephone your surgery to check what their procedure is during this Coronavirus pandemic.   

Ask family, friends or neighbours for assistance during this time, if this is possible.  In many cases prescriptions are being sent to the nearest pharmacy to people and then deliveries are being made to people’s homes where necessary.  Explain that you are self-isolating and will need someone to deliver your medication to you. 

Make sure you order your repeats in plenty of time.  It may take a little longer than usual to obtain your medications due to the high demand.  However, there is no need to stock on your medication as this can lead to medication shortages.   

Contact your GP and pharmacy to check procedures during 26is time as processes may vary across Wales.     

Useful sources for information: 

Public Health Wales: guidance on social distancing for everyone in Wales including disabled people: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults/#  

Social Care Wales: https://socialcare.wales/news-stories/the-latest-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19 

Dewis Wales: Find local and national organisations that can help you https://www.dewis.wales/ 

All information has been taken from official sources and understood to be correct at time of publishing. 

Direct Payments and NHS Continuing Health Care #SaveWILG

The following article was taken from the Luke Clements site and was written by Ann James. 

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The Deputy Minister’s update statement on the Welsh Independent Living Grant[1] (WILG) is particularly welcome because it acknowledges the risk to the independence,choice and control of disabled people in Wales unless the Welsh Government enables people in receipt of either a Joint Package of care funded by the Local Authority and Local Health Board or NHS Continuing Health Care to receive a Direct Payment.

This risk to independence has been known to Welsh Government for some considerable time,[2] has been identified in a ‘direct payment note’ on Rhydian Social Welfare Law in Wales and highlighted as a risk in a paper on the Closure of the Welsh Living Grant that was offered as evidence to the Petitions Committee dealing with the Save WILG.

While it is heartening that the Deputy Minister ‘has instructed her officials to undertake a review of the Direct Payments and CHC interface’ one could argue that this is very late in the day. It would be hard to convince disabled people and their carers that setting up a system that enables them to have meaningful and personal control over key elements of their care package will compromise the principles of a public service NHS. The time is ripe to redress this lacuna which has this potential to derail Welsh Government commitments and aspirations for disabled people in Wales.

Recipients of the WILG require immediately the confidence that they can continue to retain the right to have personal assistants of their choosing irrespective of whether the funding from the LHB is a proportion of the cost of the care and support package or whether it is a NHS CHC funding arrangement.

There are those people who are not previous recipients of the WILG but who are fearful that their future is in the hands of local government and local health board officers who erroneously believe that Direct Payments cannnot be facilitated.They require an unambiguous statement from Wesh Government that all Local Authorities in Wales and all Local Health Boards are required to facilitate a joint package of care through a Direct Payment as set out in Continuing NHS Healthcare: The National Framework for Implementation in Wales[3].

In the absence of legislative change Independent User Trusts (IUTs) should be offered to disabled people and facilitated by the Local Health Board, to enable a person who has become eligible for NHS CHC to consider this option and its suitability for his/ her circumstances.

While we await a successful conclusion of the review set up by the Minister, there needs to be measures in place to enable disabled people in Wales to achieve their personal outcomes and maintain their independence. Welsh Government commitments and aspirations to Social Model of Disability is currently being shown to be hollow when the level of physical impairment and health related needs determine whether a disabled person in Wales can have control of their care and support arrangements through a Direct Payment.

Local Authorities and Local Health Boards need practice directions from Government and training in this matter if we are to avoid further human rights infringements in Wales.

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[1] Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Written Statement: Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) – Update on Independent Care Assessments (Welsh Government 13 February 2020)
[2] See for example letter Welsh Government Director of Social Services and Integration dated 10 February 2016.
[3] Welsh Government Continuing NHS Healthcare: The National Framework for Implementation in Wales (2014).

PeterRabbitmeme