Reporting your Lateral Flow Test Results
From Monday 23 November, staff will be asked to submit their ongoing lateral flow test results electronically to enable epidemiological analysis.
Centralised Absence Reporting Line
If you feel unwell and have any concerns about symptoms, please isolate your household and call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000. The line is manned from 06.00 to 20.00. If calling between 20.00 and 06.00, please leave a message on the answering machine.
Find out more about staff testing: visit the testing process for staff page.
For COVID related advice and staff FAQs, visit the COVID-19 Advice for UHP Employees page.
COVID-19 Advice for UHP Employees
An overview on Coronavirus guidance, including how to check your symptoms.
Please contact NHS 111 if you feel worse/ no better at any point during and by the end of your isolation. If you are acutely unwell dial 999 (inform them that you are isolating). More symptom information can be found on the NHS website.
- General guidance for NHS employees
- Information about PPE in the workplace
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- Goverment's general advice on work absence (You can generate your own sick note, specific to COVID-19, from the NHS website)
- To access the staff risk assessment form for COVID-19, knowing how to record COVID-19 related absences and the management of different zones, see the documents at the bottom of the Staff bulletin page.
- Guidance on maintaining educational provision
- More COVID information on key workers
- Social distancing resources - posters (Staffnet)
Updated 08 January 2021
On Monday 4th January the Government announced a National lockdown. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
We know this is a difficult and anxious time for our staff whether you are working on site, shielding, working from home or have child and caring responsibilities – it is tough.
We’ve outlined some key areas in this communication to help you with questions you may have around your health and job, and also we offer some support routes if you’ve had a bad day, or you are going through a difficult time and just need to talk with someone.
Let’s start with the support that is available to you:
You can find a range of personal support via the Staff Support Hub Additionally, national wellbeing services are available to all health and care workers which will compliment some of the excellent support we already have in place, you can find out more here: people.nhs.uk
We encourage you to access these and make use of the support available - this includes our leaders/line managers who are trying to meet competing demands and look after those around them. We encourage you to make time to access support for your self-care too.
Schools and Caring for People
We understand that schools are to remain open for ‘critical workers’. The Trust’s position is that all our staff are critical to ensuring the smooth running of our hospital. The Government defines critical workers as: "includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; together with the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK's health and social care sector". We have produced a ‘critical worker’ letter that our staff can download/print and give to their child’s school. Link to Critical Worker letter.
Happy Days Nursery in Building 3 of the Business Park is open to all key workers. If you need childcare for younger children, please contact them to see if they can help on 01752 786318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the event that something happens to change your normal caring arrangements and consequently your ability to work, please speak with your line manager at the earliest opportunity. We are asking line managers to handle these types of situations in a sensitive way, as we understand the worry that this can bring. Line managers will explore avenues such as whether working from home / working more flexibly, can be accommodated for a period of time, or if annual leave/unpaid leave can be put in place. If you experience problems further to this, including any schools not allowing children to return to school, please escalate this to the HR team who will provide further guidance and support in this respect. They can be contacted on telephone : External: 01752 437042 Internal: 37042 or via email at email@example.com
Working from home guidance
Are you one of our colleagues who is working from home/remotely or do you manage someone who is? Please read our Working from home guidance is available to read here which is designed to help and support those working in this way. This contains very important information and steps for colleagues and line managers to take to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues. It is important to be mindful of your posture and setting up your home work station to prevent musculoskeletal problems. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones daily, for an hour or more at a time, to ensure good ergonomics for workers at home and at work. Due to the large number of staff now working from home during COVID-19, the Occupational Health department has prepared guidance for staff View the display screen equipment guidance here
Line Managers: please don’t forget to record staff working from home onto Healthroster by selecting the unavailability group, working day and reason “COVID WFH – COVID-19 Working From Home - Limit Risk”. If you do have any issues with this please contact the Operational Resourcing Team – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to remind colleagues to report all absence through our central absence line on telephone 01752 430000 please.
Guidance and Action for Line Managers and staff following Changes to Shielding from 1 April
Following recent Government guidance changes to shielding, which is to be paused from 1 April, we have updated our local Trust guidance for line managers and staff to help ensure that clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) colleagues, who may have been shielding, remain properly supported.
Line Managers are asked to review individual Covid-19 Risk Assessments for CEV colleagues who are currently shielding, using the updated version of the Risk Assessment guidance, to agree a plan that will enable them to work safely.
Whilst shielding is to be paused from 1st April, the current Government advice is still to work from home where this is possible, and working from home in the short to medium term may remain the most appropriate option for CEV colleagues who have been shielding and/or where the Trust’s Coronavirus risk assessment scoring system puts them in the highest risk category (“Very High Risk”). Colleagues in this position should only return to the workplace following a review of their Risk Assessment and if it is safe to do so. More detailed guidance on this is set out here:
Since the first lockdown in March we have learnt a great deal more about the risks caused by health conditions and how these are influenced by other factors such as ethnicity and age. This has resulted in the development of better informed risk scoring systems such as the ALAMA guidance on which the Trust’s Coronavirus risk assessment tool is based. Using this system, some individuals who had previously received shielding letters have subsequently been advised that they are not in the highest risk category and for a few others, even though they have never received a “shielding” letter, the Trust’s Coronavirus risk assessment scoring system puts them in the highest risk category (“Very High Risk”).
We still believe that the Trust’s risk assessment process and the ALAMA risk assessment, on which it is based, represent the best available assessment of risk and our advice would be to continue to follow the Trust’s risk assessment guide. We recognise that individuals may have differing tolerance of the risk from Coronavirus and differing drivers for continuing to come in to work but, if you are in the “very high risk” category you should work from home if possible. If it is not possible or if there are strong reasons to continue coming in to work you should have a further conversation with your line manager, guided by the advice in the risk assessment. Only if both you and your line manager are happy that your risk can be managed, such that if you are attending work your risk is not significantly greater than the risk within your own home, should you continue to come in to work.
The Trust’s risk assessment guidance is at this link.
We recognise that if you have previously received a letter from the Government, advising that you should not be coming in to work, you may wish to follow this advice even if it differs from our local guidance. You will be supported in doing this.
The new national guidance may also cause concern for those with vulnerable family members at home. It remains important that we keep the hospital running as effectively as possible at this time but you should continue to follow the advice in the Trust’s risk assessment document and managers should still seek to support those with particularly vulnerable household/family members taking into consideration the operational demands of the workplace.
It is likely that vaccination with one dose of vaccine gives a good (but not absolute) level of protection against Coronavirus. The protection builds progressively up to about 3 or 4 weeks after the vaccine was given. The level of protection afforded by the vaccine may be reduced in some with certain underlying conditions (such as immunosuppression) although even a reduced level of protection is very important in this situation.
We do not yet have official guidance on how much to adjust the risk assessment following vaccination and this level of adjustment may vary from person to person in the higher risk groups. For this reason we are not currently advising that the risk assessment should be changed in those who have been vaccinated. We are hoping for further advice soon and, as soon as it is received, we will publish updated advice.
Coronavirus Risk Assessments
It is crucial that we ensure every colleague has had a Coronavirus Risk Assessment undertaken and that these are up to date and reflect the latest circumstances. Where these were undertaken some time ago, it may be necessary to review and refresh the Risk Assessment particularly if one of the of the older risk assessment tools was used.
The Trust’s most up-to-date Risk Assessment Tool is recommended, in particular, for those who have previously fallen into the moderate or higher risk categories using the previous July 2020 tool (as a new risk category assignment may now be appropriate), or for consideration where there has been a change in underlying health or for staff deploying into a new role. For more guidance please refer to the advice contained within the Risk Assessment tool document. The new form and also the Team Risk Assessment Guide are available on StaffNet via the links below:
These FAQs relate to the latest available guidance, as the situation is continuously evolving this guidance might change at short notice. We will endeavour to keep this information as current as possible, however if you have any further concerns please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line (01752 430000) regarding sickness and absence, or the Occupational Health Advice line (email@example.com) regarding fitness to work.
1. I feel unwell with COVID symptoms such as a continuous cough and/or a raised temperature
If you feel unwell and have any concerns about symptoms, please isolate your household and call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000. We will test if you have symptoms including a fever, cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of test, skin rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of speech. Please note, we will not test if your only symptoms are those of a cold, such as a runny nose.
The line is manned from 6.00 to 20.00. If calling between 20.00 and 06.00, please leave a message in the answering machine.
Find out more about staff testing: visit the testing process for staff page.
2. I have come to the end of my 10 days of self-isolation and feel fine
You are now able to return to work as long as you feel well enough to return. The cough symptom may linger for longer than 10 days but this does not require you to continue your isolation. As long as you feel well enough to return to work and haven’t had a temperature for 48 hours, you can return to work.
3. I am in the middle of my 10 days of self-isolation and I feel much worse
Contact NHS 111 via their website, if not available call NHS 111 – this number is likely to be very busy. If you are acutely unwell dial 999 (inform them that you are isolating).
4. I am at the end of my 10 days of self-isolation and I don’t feel any better
Contact NHS 111 via their website, if not available call NHS 111 –this number is likely to be very busy. Report continued absence to the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000.
5. I have already self- isolated for 10 days and been at work for a week, I have developed similar symptoms again, do I need to isolate again?
If you develop symptoms after the normal isolation periods, we would normally assume that this is a new infection and you will need to start the isolation process again unless you tested positive for COVID-19 previously. Please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000.
6. I have tested positive for coronavirus, what do I do now?
You will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of your symptoms (not the date of your test unless you have not had any symptoms). As long as you are feeling better by day 11 you may return to work.
7. I have recently tested positive for COVID-19, I am now back to work but have new symptoms, what should I do?
If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, isolated for 10 days and recovered from symptoms, but now have new symptoms of cough and/or fever it is very unlikely that these symptoms are due to a new infection of COVID-19 coronavirus. If you feel too unwell to work please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000, however you will not be required to self-isolate as a possible coronavirus case.
8. A family member has tested positive for coronavirus, what should I do?
You will be required to self-isolate as a household for 10 days from the onset of the household member’s symptoms. Your family member must isolate for 10 days. On day 11 you may return to work as long as you have not had symptoms (if you develop symptoms, see below). Please call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000.
9. I am at work and have developed a new continuous cough and/or raised temperature, what should I do?
You must self-isolate immediately. Please leave the hospital by a quiet and well-ventilated route (preferably outside), drive yourself home and follow the advice above. Once home please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000. If you do not drive please ask a household member to collect you.
10. A household member is self-isolating, am I fit to work?
If the household member is symptomatic or tested positive - Current guidance from the Government advises you to self-isolate as a household for 10 days from the day of the household member’s first symptom. On day 11 you may return to work as long as you have not had symptoms. If you develop symptoms please call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000.
If the family member is isolating due to contact with a positive individual but is NOT symptomatic AND has not tested positive – You do not need to self isolate. Should this family member develop symptoms it is advised that you arrange a swab via the Absence Reporting Line on 01752 430000. You are to self-isolate in the meantime as a household whilst awaiting the result. Should it come back negative you can stop self isolating.
11. I developed symptoms during the 10 day isolation, what do I do?
You will need to self-isolate for 10 days, even if this adds up to more or less than 10 days in total. You can return to work from day 11 of your symptoms as long as you feel better. If you are likely to be absent for longer than initially planned, or you are fit to return before the end of 10 days, please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000
12. I have already isolated for 10 days and been at work for a week, now another family member has symptoms, do I need to isolate again?
Unfortunately, yes. The problem is that we cannot be sure which family member actually has COVID-19. If you come into work, you may be passing on the virus. Please contact the Central Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000 to discuss the situation. Your family member may be eligible for testing, although this decision needs to be made by the testing team.
13. I am required to self-isolate but I feel that I am fit to work from home, what can I do?
Please contact your line manager as they may have work you can complete from home.
14. My child has been sent home to isolate for 10 days as a pupil in their support bubble has tested positive for Covid19. Do I still get paid?
We understand that this is a difficult time for staff trying to balance work and caring responsibilities. We would ask that you contact your manager as soon as possible so that you can discuss how we can support you. We can look at options of working from home where this is possible, if this is not possible then your manager can look at annual leave or unpaid leave or time shifting your work. If during the isolation period your child becomes symptomatic please contact the Centralised Absence reporting line on 01752 4300000
15. Am I eligible for staff testing?
Testing is available to all members of staff who have either ‘classic’ COVID-19 symptoms (fever, persistent cough) or anyone with new symptoms that they are worried about, that might reasonably be attributed to COVID-19. Some examples might include otherwise unexplained: fatigue; shortness of breath; myalgia (muscle aches), sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste/smell or a rash (particularly on the feet). Please contact the CAR Hub (01752430000) if you believe that you need to be tested and ensure that you remain off work until you have been tested negative.
16. How accurate is the current swab testing?
The current test used is an antigen test, which detects viral RNA from a nose and throat swab. Currently, due to the speed of the outbreak and the need to develop testing, there is limited data about the accuracy of the test. They are believed to have a very low false positive rate, but a higher false negative rate (“missed positive cases”), although accuracy will also depend upon timing of the test (more accurate if you have symptoms) and the user.
17. How can I practice ‘Social Distancing’ when I have to come to work?
The Government have been very clear that there are some groups who are partially exempt from the Social Distancing requirements. As Key Workers (or Critical Workers) we all have a part to play in treating those patients infected with COVID-19, caring for other non-COVID patients and ultimately in tackling this outbreak. Good hand washing and respiratory hygiene is absolutely vital at work; if your work permits you should try to be 2m apart from others, although clearly this is seldom possible in clinical environments. Outside of work, you should be observing all the Government’s Social Distancing measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
It is not possible to eliminate all risk and as Critical Workers in caring for those with Coronavirus we are likely to have to accept a little more risk than non-critical workers who are isolating at home. However, we must avoid unnecessarily high-risk behaviours and reduce risk to as low as reasonably practicable. What is reasonably practicable will, to some extent, depend upon the scale of the outbreak, the resources available and Government guidance. Most people are worried about the consequences of Coronavirus on themselves or others. Although this is understandable, as different people’s idea of risk varies hugely, it must be remembered that the vast majority of people who get the virus will have a mild illness which can be managed at home over 7 days or so. There are conditions that put certain people at higher risk of developing more severe illness and these are highlighted below and, in more detail, in the Staff Risk Assessment document.
1. What steps are being taken to reduce risk in the hospital?
As with other Hospitals, the Trust is taking steps to reduce the risk to staff, patients and visitors. These steps include: segregating non-COVID, suspected COVID and confirmed COVID cases with increasing PPE requirements in each Zone; reducing movement of patients between wards; providing greater training for staff in higher risk areas; enhancing cleaning and decontamination regimes throughout the hospital; reducing non-essential patient visits to outpatients and other departments; reducing the number of patient visitors; enforcing strict hand washing and good respiratory hygiene amongst staff, patients and visitors.
2. I think I might be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, what should I do?
You must complete the Staff Risk Assessment document. This will help to put you into either of three risk categories. No increased risk, increased risk and highest risk. The steps to follow in each of these cases are discussed in the document and you should discuss this with your manager. If you or your manager disagrees with, or needs further advice regarding the risk assessment, please contact the Occupational Health Adviceline (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. I have an extremely vulnerable family member who is required to be ‘Shielded’, should I be coming to work?
The latest government guidance states that those who live with an extremely vulnerable family member can still come to work if they cannot work from home. However, we recognise the anxiety this may cause and some families may find it very difficult to protect each other at home and if adjustments can be made to reduce the risk these will be considered. There is guidance in the Trust COVID risk assessment on this matter.
1. I am self-isolating, do I still get paid?
Yes. Self-isolation will be recorded as special leave with full pay, i.e. the pay that colleagues would normally receive, in line with our local payroll procedure. Self-isolation special leave will be considered as a temporary additional entitlement, separate to any existing policies. It is possible that in certain circumstances staff may require more than one period of self-isolation, in these cases the arrangements described will apply to each period of self-isolation.
2. I have a child/dependent that is required to self-isolate, do I still get paid?
For NHS staff with carer responsibilities, we understand from the Local Authority that sufficient provision is in place for schooling/childcare facilities within Plymouth and the surrounding area. The on-site nursery, Happy Days has also expanded its normal provision. However, should colleagues have difficulties with any type of care arrangements which affects work, please talk with your line manager who will undertake to find alternative options with you. This may involve remote working or time shifting of your work, for example.
3. Do I have to discuss my medical history with the CAR Line?
No. There is no legal requirement to reveal any confidential medical information. There should be no requirement to reveal any more than you would for your normal sickness reporting. If there is any need to discuss your history in more detail, you can request to speak to Occupational Health. If any clarification is required Occupational Health may get in touch to discuss specifics (these will not be revealed to Management without your consent)
4. I am well and my family are not isolating but in light of Government advice, should I be in work?
We have had quite a few questions about who should come to work in light of the Government advice on the 23rd March. The advice is clear that key workers includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector. Unless otherwise advised, staff should therefore be reporting to work as normal. Line managers have been asked to work through who absolutely needs to be working in the hospital, and who can work remotely. We have to balance supporting safe care of patients with the need to reduce footfall, the number of contacts and thereby limit the risk of spreading the virus. If you are able to work remotely and can agree this with your line manager, you do need to make sure that you keep in touch with your manager/team, keep reading the Daily Covid-19 Bulletins and be ready to come back to work at any time.
5. I’m anxious about being in work during a lockdown period, what should I do?
Please discuss how you feel with your line manager, so they have the opportunity to understand your concerns. This may involve completing a risk assessment and involvement of the Occupational Health team if you have underlying health issues or you have vulnerable people at home. The National position for the NHS is that we need to continue to support our patients and keep our essential to be at work staff, well at work, so discussions around what work is possible and appropriate are very important. Your manager will talk through possible options with you and personal support services which are detailed on the Support Hub.
6. Is accommodation available?
We have been working with local partners to ensure there is sufficient accommodation in close proximity to the hospital for those who may not be able to return to their usual home address. Should you wish to use Trust accommodation, in the first instance please discuss if this is strictly necessary with your line-manager. If your line-manager is supportive, please email the accommodation team on email@example.com with the following information:
- Telephone Number
- Job Title
- Line Manager’s name
- Reason for request for accommodation
The accommodation team will respond to any requests as quickly as possible. Please note that requests will be assessed and prioritised according to risk assessment guidance.
7. I’m working remotely, how do I access IT support?
The IT department has been working to ensure remote access and working from home:
- NHSMail: Available from anywhere on any device via https://portal.nhs.net/.
- Clinical staff: Remote access is available for Citrix Desktop (formally ADF) from any internet connection using a personal computer. Details on how to register and configure access are available.
- Full Remote IT Access: Access to all Trust systems can be obtained on a Trust computer or laptop using Aruba Via. Please note, you must request remote access via the IT Service Desk and you must also set up your remote access for the first time within the Trust’s network. If you are taking a PC home, you will also need a network cable long enough to reach from your PC to your home broadband router and other peripheral items including keyboard, mouse and monitor.
The Trust has a finite number of laptops and mobiles available. The deployment of such devices will now be rationalised to ensure they are used to support critical processes. Requests are to be coordinated through the Care Group Management Structure who will contact the IM&T Service desk to progress the request.
Microsoft Teams is now available to the NHS. All Trust users now have access via the NHSmail web portal https://portal.office.com/. Being cloud based access is anywhere, at any time, from any device. Further guidance and information can be found here: NHS Teams Guidance
8. Can I talk about Coronavirus on Social Media?
If you use social media, just take a moment to think even more carefully than normal, how you use it at this time. Please think about how what you say and share might affect others. Will it reassure or alarm? Will it help? Is it kind? What is your intent when sharing it? Please remember as NHS staff, you are in a position of trust. Please use social media professionally and in line with the code from your professional bodies and our own social media policy. Post and share wisely. Please also think about how scrolling through social media affects you. How does it make you feel? Is it helping or harming you? How do you control your use of social media?
9. I have been unable to take all my annual leave due to Coronavirus, will I lose it?
For all staff, regular annual leave breaks are an important part of maintaining health and wellbeing. The coronavirus is taking us into unchartered territory which requires us all to be both responsible and responsive so that we can take care of ourselves and our patients.
We are asking that line managers continue to have discussions with colleagues to plan annual breaks from now through to the end of the annual leave year, so that all colleagues have some rest periods planned, which also helps prevent a bottleneck of requests later, which then may be difficult to grant.
As the coronavirus situation further unfolds, we know that there could be some disruption to annual leave and so where it has not been reasonably practical for staff to have taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement, due to operational reasons and as a result of the effects of coronavirus, there will be greater flexibility to carry leave from one leave year to the next during the course of the next 2 years.
Please reflect on when you last had a break, how you feel now, and if your department can accommodate you taking leave over the coming weeks, then please arrange this. It's important we look after ourselves and each other, so we can maintain our own wellbeing and continue to care for patients in these unusual times.
10. Staff in receipt of their NHS Pension Scheme benefits
We welcome the outcome of the Coronavirus Bill, which suspends the current Pension Regulations and removes barriers which would prevent otherwise able retired members from returning to work while continuing to receive their pension. It now allows for staff to return immediately after retirement, and continue their existing working commitments, or increase them, whilst they are in receipt of their full pension benefits, without abatement. Similarly, the Trust will suspend its two week break between retirement and return, and move to a 24 hrs break, in certain cases, during the crisis. More pension scheme information can be found on the NHS employers website.
11. What about staff who return to work during maternity/adoption/shared parental leave, or end their leave early?
The NHS offers generous occupational maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave pay, well above statutory levels. However, for staff who choose to work when they would otherwise be on leave, it is important that they do not lose their contractual entitlement. Staff can work up to ten keeping in touch (KIT) days while on maternity or adoption leave, without bringing their maternity/adoption leave to an end. Staff on shared parental leave can work up to 20 shared parental leave in touch (SPLiT) days without ending their shared parental leave. This means that many employees will have access to up to 30 days where they can work, without bringing their paid family-related leave entitlements to an end. There is now a provision available to allow line managers to consider further flexible options where staff do not lose out on their contractual entitlements, should they be able to return earlier than planned to assist in the pandemic. The terms and conditions can be found on the NHS Employers website. Please contact your line manager if you wish to discuss this further. Additionally the HR team are able to provide further advice around this via firstname.lastname@example.org
12. How can I raise any concerns I might have during Covid-19?
We want to reassure all staff that despite the challenging circumstances we are dealing with currently, and facing ahead, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are still available to listen to any concerns you have. If there is something troubling you about our response to Covid-19, our expectations as a trust, or the quality of care that we are providing, and you feel unable to raise it with a senior member of staff, please contact us. We are here to listen about anything, Covid-19 related or not. We are still in office on Tuesday (Catherine Lemsalu) and Friday (Pippa Jephcott) and available to reach by phone (Ext.33381), Email email@example.com or through the comments box on the Staffnet link. We can also be available for face to face meetings on zoom. Please share with your colleagues. #F2SU #StillListening
13. I have been told to self-isolate via the NHS App but I’m on annual leave, do I get my leave back?
In the case where you are told to self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with someone with Covid but you have no symptoms you can either remain on annual leave for the days that fall during isolation (continue to take your annual leave for a break) or you can chose to step out of annual leave for a period of paid self-isolation (in this case you will get the leave back from the time you notified the central absence hub and stepped out of annual leave during the isolation period). In this latter case, the Trust/line manager may ask you to work from home (where this can be facilitated).
14. I have been advised to shield as I am clinically extremely vulnerable, can I still take annual leave?
Yes, you should continue to take/use your annual leave as normal.
1. I have recently returned from a trip to a ‘specified area’
For the most up-to-date guidance, call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line on 01752430000.
2. I have had contact (within 2 metres for 15 minutes) with a suspected case or their body fluids or with an aerosol-generating procedure without PPE
If you do not have symptoms you can remain at work. If the person subsequently tests positive, your ward manager will compile a list of those staff that were potentially exposed. If you develop symptoms within 10 days of the exposure please call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line (01752430000) and let them know that you had a potential exposure, you will be contacted shortly after with more information.
3. I have had contact (within 2 metres for 15 minutes) with a confirmed case or their body fluids, or with an aerosol-generating procedure without PPE
If you do not have symptoms you can remain at work. Your ward manager will compile a list of those staff that were potentially exposed. If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, please call the Centralised Absence Reporting Line (01752 430000) and let them know of your potential exposure and you will be contacted shortly after with more information.
4. I have had contact (within 2 metres for 15 minutes) with a confirmed case outside of work
If this occurred without any PPE then you must self isolate for 10 days. If you develop any symptoms during your isolation please contact the Centralised Absence Reporting Line (01752 430000). If you remain asymptomatic you can return to work on day 11 as long as you feel well enough.
If you are unsure whether this contact requires self isolation please email plh-tr.occhealthCOVID@nhs.net for a risk assessment.
5. What is the current government / UHP position in relation to quarantine for those travelling abroad?
The Government advice is here: The Government advice in terms of quarantine.
Where quarantine rules apply, quarantine absence following a holiday abroad can be taken as either annual leave, TOIL or unpaid leave unless arrangements for remote working can be made). We understand that this is a particularly difficult time for our colleagues from overseas who at some point may want to visit family at home. This is likely to require a different approach to that of taking leave for a holiday. We are asking line managers to consider these requests sympathetically, and quarantine periods are supported through colleagues working from home (where possible) or with special pay.
If colleagues are considering booking future leave which involves travelling abroad, this will clearly have an impact on the management of leave across teams. Please discuss this in advance with your Line Manager to determine whether the potential duration away from the workplace (both annual leave and any potential quarantine absence) is supported and authorised and, what your quarantine arrangements will be.
6. My NHS COVID app came up with a message saying I have been exposed – but upon opening up the app there is no further information displayed. What do I do?
This is a known issue with the NHS app. If the alert has disappeared and there is no further information displayed on the app itself and no timer has started telling you to self isolate then there is no need to self isolate. If you are unsure please contact the CAR Hub to provide further assistance on 01752 430000.
This FAQ is designed to answer questions relating to the Wellbeing Day issued to all employees of the Trust as a Thank You for the extraordinary efforts that were, and continue to be made during the Covid response.
1. What is a Wellbeing Day?
The Wellbeing Day is an extra day off work that the Trust has granted to all employees in recognition of the efforts made (and that continue to be made) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. What can the Wellbeing Day be used for?
Anything you like! The Trust hopes that this day is used by the employee for any activity that will contribute to their health and wellbeing.
3. When can the Wellbeing Day be used?
The Wellbeing Day can be taken any time between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022. The date on which the day can be taken should be agreed with the employee’s line manager (as would normally be the case with annual leave) and would need to be booked and agreed in advance to ensure that adequate staffing can be maintained.
4. Who is eligible for a Wellbeing Day?
All substantive / longer term fixed term contract employees of the Trust who started their work contract with the Trust at any time before 31st March 2021. This is the case no matter what the employee has been doing over the covid period, i.e. working as normal, working from home, shielding etc. The Trust is keen to thank all employees regardless of the way in which they have contributed.
5. I am due to leave the Trust, am I still eligible?
The gesture of a Wellbeing Day is available to take between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022 and so to claim this day, staff must be still be employed from 1st April 2021. For staff leaving during the 2021/22 leave year, they will need to agree the day on which they take their Wellbeing Day with their manager prior to the last working day with the Trust. If the day is not taken prior to staff leaving the Trust then the day will not be paid in lieu.
6. What if I work non-standard (7.5 hour) days?
The Wellbeing Day will be a full day for each employee regardless of the amount of hours that they work in that day. For example if a shift is 7.5 hours, 12 hours or 5 hours long this is the amount of time that the employee will take off.
7. Will I receive enhancements for the day I take as a Wellbeing Day?
Yes, the Wellbeing Day will attract the same enhancements that would be assigned as if you were taking leave from your yearly annual leave entitlement. This will automatically be applied.
8. Do I have to use all my Annual Leave before taking my Wellbeing Day?
No. The Wellbeing Day is independent of annual leave allocation and should be taken before 31st March 2022.
9. As a line manager, how do I record the Wellbeing Day?
If you have any queries relating to the Wellbeing Day that are not answered above please do not hesitate to contact your Service Line HR Team via the usual channels or via the HR admin team firstname.lastname@example.org who will be pleased to assist with your query.
This FAQ is designed to answer questions relating to ‘Exceptional’ Annual Leave Carry Over from 1st April 2021. The Trust appreciates that some colleagues have been prevented from taking their annual leave this year due to having to maintain hospital services during severe COVID pressures. In these circumstances the Trust is asking Care Groups/Corporate Directors to use their discretion to enable colleagues who have been prevented from taking periods of annual leave, to carry over more than would be the norm.
1. How do I know what annual leave I have remaining to take?
Line managers should ensure that Health Roster is up to date with annual leave so that there is an accurate picture of outstanding leave balances, to assist in staff discussions around annual leave still remaining remaining for this leave year (1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021) and to facilitate the taking of leave between now and end of March 2021, wherever possible. It is important for all staff to take regular breaks from work as part of maintaining their personal health & wellbeing, and line managers should ensure they actively discuss this within their teams on a regular basis. Staff can also check their own annual leave allowance by logging into Employee/Medics Online.
2. How much leave can I carry over into leave year 1st April 2021 – 31st March 2022?
a) Under existing annual leave policies for staff employed under Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions, one week’s annual leave should only be carried forward in exceptional cases. For medical Staff, it is up to 5 days.
b) Due to covid, the Trust has agreed an increased carry-over provision into 2021/22 leave year, up to a maximum of 4 working weeks in total (including the one working week described above), for any staff member. This equates to 20 days for those working 5 days per week / pro rata for less than full time. The 4 working weeks maximum will include any leave for bank holidays, untaken ‘buying of leave’ provision and time in lieu.
3. Who is authorised to approve the carry-over of leave?
For a) above, this can be considered and approved locally by the line manager.
For any request for carry over exceeding the provision in a) above, this must be approved by the Care Group Manager/Care Group Director/ Corporate Director (see Q4 below).
4. What is the criteria for approval of the increased ‘Exceptional’ carry over as b) above?
This applies where colleagues have been previously prevented from taking periods of leave as a result of having to maintain hospital services during severe COVID operational pressures, and outstanding leave cannot be accommodated within this current annual leave year (20/21). Line managers should escalate the request to authorise ‘exceptional leave carry over’ into the next financial year (21/22) to their Care Group Manager/Care Group Director, Corporate Director who have been given the authority to agree this, where appropriate. The Trust will not be able to pay in lieu of untaken leave as an alternative to carry over
5. In what circumstances might the request for increased ‘Exceptional’ carry- over be refused?
It is important to distinguish between those colleagues who have been ‘prevented’ from taking leave, and those who have chosen not to take leave. The exceptional carry over provision will only apply to those who have been ‘prevented’ from taking leave. Colleagues, such as those that have been shielding for health reasons and/or working flexible, term time or annualised hours, are unlikely to meet the exceptional carry over criteria unless their line manager has prevented them from taking periods of annual leave. In cases where colleagues have been absent due to long term sickness, normal statutory leave carry over provisions will apply in these cases. The HR team are able to advise in such circumstances.
6. What records should be kept by line managers / Care Groups?
As in previous years, to help support the financial planning process Service Lines/Departments will be asked to complete a finance return during January of the expected annual leave to be carried forward by their staff at the year end. This will then be refreshed at the end of the year.
The Service Line template should be used as a record of approvals and submitted to the Care Group Manager/Care Group Director/ Corporate Director for approval and then made available to the finance team for financial planning purposes.
7. How do I easily see, in healthroster, the percentage of leave that staff have taken over the annual leave year?
You can see the % used on the Unavailability Entitlement Report which can be accessed each quarter should the line manager want to, this report is exportable also.
Employees can also view the Qtr % breakdown on their own Employee Online accounts. You can also run the Unavailability Breakdown by person report for a specific date range too, per Qtr for example. Linked is an anonymised example of the report.
Support available to UHP colleagues
We recognise this is an anxious time for colleagues and have created a support hub detailing the range of measures available to support colleagues, including those experiencing emotional distress.