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Some of England's biggest councils could see "large-scale reductions" to services as they attempt to balance the books, new analysis says.

A report for the County Councils Network found that 39 local authorities face a funding shortfall of £2.5bn.

It warned councils may have to "use up" all the money they hold in reserve by next year as they deal with the fallout from coronavirus.

The government said it was giving councils "unprecedented" support.

Minister for Local Government Simon Clarke said this included £3.2bn in emergency funding.

"In total, the government has provided over £27bn to support local councils, businesses and communities in fighting the pandemic, including £600m to help reduce the infection rate in care homes and £300m to support track and trace," he said.

He added the government was working on a "comprehensive plan to ensure councils' financial sustainability over the coming year".

The pandemic has put pressure on local councils with increasing costs of social care and support for the most vulnerable, while income from fees and charges have fallen sharply during the lockdown.

There is also concern that revenue from council tax and business rates will significantly drop as the country faces a recession due to the economic turmoil of coronavirus.

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Analysis by Alex Forsyth, political correspondent

This isn't the first time local authorities have warned about the impact of this crisis on their finances - and it's unlikely to be the last .

Council budgets have been stretched for some time with social care under particular strain.

The problem has been exacerbated by this virus, with care costs climbing and usual income streams falling.

The government has made more money available, but many local authorities have said it falls short of what's needed.

A few councils have quietly suggested they might get to the point they can't legally balance the books, and may have to effectively declare themselves bankrupt.

Others are suggesting further cuts to services will be necessary to meet the shortfall.

Ministers say they are working on a comprehensive settlement to make sure the sector is sustainable.

With the government facing huge demand for financial support in whole range of areas, councils want to make sure their voices are heard.

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The report into the finances of local authorities was carried out by accounting firm Grant Thornton UK LLP.

It found that county authorities could be "particularly vulnerable" in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus.

If there was further outbreak, followed by another lockdown, the report estimates councils could face a shortfall of £4.5bn over the next two years.

The report suggests the government should provide financial support to ensure councils do not run out of money.

Councillor Carl Les, finance spokesperson for the County Councils Network and leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said local authorities are "grappling with increased cost pressures".

"We want to work with government to develop a comprehensive plan to support councils over the coming months and years."


source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53066037

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Nottinghamshire is playing a leading role in the fight against the virus - here is what you need to know

Late last year a new strain of coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, after doctors started treating a cluster of patients with pneumonia which, initially, had no known cause.

The disease was coined SARS-CoV-2 and months later it had spread to more than 200 countries, leading to the World Health Organisation deeming it a pandemic on March 11.


Such a rapid spread of the disease led to the UK being placed into lockdown on March 23, following a statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Schools were closed on the Friday before, pubs pulled their last pints, and the National Trust was even forced to close all car parks after some of the biggest weekend visitor numbers in history as people flocked to get their last taste of life as we knew it.

As of May 14, the UK Government has confirmed a total of 233,151 cases with 33,614 deaths, and after the number of cases began to decrease, the Government relaxed some lockdown rules on May 13 after six weeks of unprecedented rules to save lives.

Here is a comprehensive article with everything you need to know as of May 15, 2020.


What are the coronavirus symptoms?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough, according to the NHS.

The Government and health bodies say you must not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a 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)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home and make a call from there.


here and what did the virus come from?

Most reputable organisations, including the pharmaceutical journal and WHO, say it is currently unknown and unclear where and what the virus originated from.

Some research has suggested it originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, with the virus spreading from animal to human, but according the the UK Government website some lab-confirmed patients had not reported visiting the market despite having the virus.

The Government says information shared by China and WHO indicates that SARS-CoV-2 is a beta-coronavirus that is genetically similar to SARS-like coronaviruses obtained from bats in Asia.

However, a zoonotic source (an animal) to the outbreak has not been identified yet, and most rumours are unfounded.

Time Line

Covid-19 timeline of events in Nottinghamshire

  1. March 6 - First coronavirus case in Nottingham confirmed

    A statement was issued by Nottingham City Council on Friday, March 6 confirming a city resident had tested positive for COVID-19 making them the first confirmed case in the county

    The person had returned from South Korea.

  2. March 13 - first death in Nottingham

    The first person to die of coronavirus in Nottingham's QMC was a patient in his 90s on Friday March 13.

  3. March 20 - Pubs and restaurants told to shut

    Cafes, pubs and restaurants told they must close - except for take-away food - to tackle coronavirus,

  4. March 23 - Boris Johnson: 'You must stay at home'

    The Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation urging them not to leave home along with new strict measures to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

  5. April 2 - More than 70 confirmed cases in Notts in one day

    Yvonne Doyle, medical director from Public Health England, said the Midlands has become 'a concern' as more than 70 people in Nottinghamshire tested positive in just one day.

  6. April 5 - Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with the virus as cases rise dramatically in Nottinghamshire

    The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital after 10 days of symptoms, and cases increased further in Nottinghamshire.

  7. April 15/16 - Lockdown extended by three weeks as death-toll in Nottinghamshire's hospitals hits 177 people

    Lockdown was extended as cases and deaths continued to rise. A total of 177 people had died across Nottinghamshire's hospitals alone by this point.

  8. April 23 - Nottingham MP and shadow health minister says we are past the peak locally

    Alex Norris, Nottingham north MP and shadow health minister, said it 'stands to reason' the county had reached the peak as the UK reported a plateau in new cases.

    But it was announced 13 residents in the Wren Hall care home in Selston had also died as a result of the virus

  9. May 1 - Prime Minister says country is past the peak as more than 300 now dead in Nottinghamshire's hospitals

    Boris Johnson says the country is past the peak now, and said a draft exit plan is in the works. However, 208 patients are now dead in Nottingham's hospitals and 98 had died at Sherwood Forest hospitals.

  10. May 13 - Lockdown eased

    Lockdown was eased across the country, and golf clubs, garden centres and fishing lakes across Nottinghamshire reopened for the first time in 6 weeks

How many cases are there in each area of Nottinghamshire now, and how many have died?

As of Friday, May 15, the Government has confirmed 571 cases in Nottingham city and a further 1,232 in Nottinghamshire.

The latest data also shows how many cases in each district and borough, as follows:

Rushcliffe - 162

Gedling - 203

Ashfield -  214

Mansfield - 112

Newark and Sherwood - 133

Bassetlaw - 185

Broxtowe - 223

The number of deaths is split into two categories, those in hospital and those outside of hospital, including care homes.

Figures published on Tuesday, May 12, by the Office for National Statistics show a total of 194 Covid-19 related deaths were notified to the CQC by care homes between April 10 and May 8.

Deaths involving Covid-19 made up nearly half (47 percent) of all deaths in care homes over the period.

There has been a disparity in the number of deaths recorded at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust as it has stopped publishing a daily death toll itself.

The figures on NHS England's website state 234 patients have died.

NUH has been contacted for clarification.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust has also confirmed a further 111 deaths, while the Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust has confirmed 13, and Ramsey Health has confirmed 1.

What are the latest lockdown rules?

On Wednesday, May 13, after some six weeks of very draconian measures, the Government eased the lockdown.

A 50-page document was published outlining the current plans to take the country forward.

These are some of the main points:

  • You can meet a friend - The rules allow you to meet one other person at a time from another household in an open space, you may not visit people in their homes or gardens.
  • Working - For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.
  • Schools - The Government has said schools in England can begin to reopen from June 1 starting with primary schools and beginning with Year Six. There will then be a phased return of different year groups. School unions have said it must be safe before children and staff return and it has been said parents will not be fined if they choose not to send their children back at this time.
  • Play sport - You may now play sports with one other person from your household, including golf, tennis, basketball and swimming in lakes. Team sports are prohibited.
  • Unlimited exercise - You can now leave the house for as many walks, runs or basketball sessions you want.
  • Sunbathing and picnics - You may now sunbathe or have a picnic in a park with your household only.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his office in No10 Downing Street with all his Get well soon cards sent in by children while he was ill with the coronavirus (Image: PA)

What open spaces are accessible in Nottinghamshire?

Nottinghamshire County Council operates a number of country parks, which are currently open to walkers and cyclists but car parks have been closed as well as other amenities.

Car parks will reopen from Saturday, May 16, but the council remains unsure as to the best way to open toilet facilities.

But the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has urged people to "think twice" before driving to hotspots where social distancing may be difficult.

While also falling under the county council's list of open spaces, the historic home of Robin Hood is cared for by the RSPB charity.

RSPB Chief Executive Beccy Speight, said: "Our reserves remain closed for now, but nature will be worth the wait

"Like you, I’ve found these past few weeks incredibly challenging. We have all been worried about the health and welfare of our family, friends and our communities during this difficult time.  

Other places such as Creswell Crags and Sherwood Pines remain closed at this time.

What else is reopening?

Fast food restaurants across Notts have started to spring back to life after eight weeks in lockdown.

Everywhere closed at the end of March as coronavirus began to get a grip on the UK.

But now KFC, Burger King, Subway and McDonald's are gradually starting to reopen, with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place to keep staff and customers safe.

Drive-thru Burger King restaurants at Lady Bay Retail Park and Mansfield's Portland Retail Park are set to reopen on Monday, May 18.

Subway has reopened more than 600 branches across the UK, including the sandwich shop at Portland Street, Newark.

Branches in Long Eaton and Ilkeston have also started serving again. The shop in Stapleford is set to reopen on May 20.

Most golf clubs are also open now, some only to members, while most garden centres are also open too.

Tips in Nottinghamshire are set to reopen during the coronavirus lockdown with strict social distancing measures in place.

Nottinghamshire County Council confirmed its recycling centres in Beeston, Bilsthorpe, Calverton, Hucknall and Worksop will reopen seven days a week from 10am to 6pm from May 18.

How is Nottinghamshire helping in the fight against the virus

Nottingham was praised by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson for its efforts in the fight against the virus.

Nottingham’s two universities have been singled out for praise for their work helping the Government increase the levels of testing for coronavirus.

He was asked by Nottinghamshire Live about concerns relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) for social carers, and said: “Before I answer those questions, can I just take the opportunity to thank the two brilliant universities in the city of Nottingham, who have been playing an incredibly important role in terms of dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

“Whether that’s the University of Nottingham or Nottingham Trent University, who have actually lent key testing equipment in order to boost the nation’s capacity, and also to do tests, and are also working in terms of mapping the coronavirus so we can best understand and treat it.

“The city of Nottingham really goes to shine a light on what an important role higher education institutions play in terms of our battle with the coronavirus.”

Virologists at the University of Nottingham have also discovered some parts of the novel coronavirus that they believe may create an immune response and prevent future infection.

Nottingham's universities will be lending their expertise in the race to develop an effective and safe vaccine for the Covid-19 virus in the coming months.

Experts from both the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University will be assisting Scancell Holdings Plc, which develops immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.

The company will be adapting its cancer vaccine to develop a new vaccine to prevent future infection by the novel coronavirus, which causes covid-19.

What to do if you need medical help

  • If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.
  • If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

    • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
    • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
    • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance
  • Like so many other day-to-day things, some bin collections are being affected by the coronavirus across the county.

A&E visits in Nottingham have plummeted by 46 percent in April, but the trust says it is important people do not avoid visiting if in need of help.

People have been urged to come in if it is an emergency or call a GP if, for example, you have signs of cancer.


source: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/coronavirus-you-need-know-pandemic-4135430

 #LMT #Nottingham #Manchester #Northampton #Trafford #Care #ElderlyCare #Healthcare #HomeCare


One in 10 deaths in care homes this year are related to Coronavirus

The stark reality of how coronavirus is affecting Nottinghamshire's care homes is becoming clearer as latest figures revealed a surge in deaths outside hospitals.

The Office for National Statistics is releasing figures every Tuesday which show both the impact on social care and hospital trusts.


According to the latest data, for the year up to the week ending April 24, a total of 148 deaths outside of hospitals were registered in Nottinghamshire where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

And the ONS data shows 128 of these deaths were reported in care homes in the county.

The other 20 deaths took place outside of hospital but in other settings including at home and hospices.

There have been a reported 300 deaths registered in Nottinghamshire's hospitals where coronavirus is mentioned, according to the data.


The Nottingham City region had the highest number of reported coronavirus deaths across all settings.

There have been 36 deaths involving Covid-19 outside of hospital, with 30 of these in care homes. There were a further 77 coronavirus deaths of residents living within the Nottingham City area reported in hospitals.

Deaths in Nottinghamshire mentioning Covid-19 registered by April 24

  • Nottingham - Hospital 77, Outside Hospital 36, Care home 30
  • Ashfield - Hospital 41, Outside Hospital 24, Care home 20
  • Bassetlaw - Hospital 16, Outside Hospital 13, Care home 13
  • Broxtowe - Hospital 40, Outside Hospital 6, Care home 6
  • Gedling - Hospital 38, Outside Hospital 24, Care home 22
  • Mansfield - Hospital 35, Outside Hospital 10, Care home 4
  • Newark and Sherwood - Hospital 29, Outside Hospital 18, Care home 17
  • Rushcliffe - Hospital 24, Outside Hospital 17, Care home 16

The comparison of all deaths with coronavirus deaths here in 2020

Just over nine percent (9.3%) of all reported deaths in Nottinghamshire have included coronavirus on the death certificate since the start of the year.

And of all deaths reported in the county's care homes, just over 10 percent (10.1%) have involved coronavirus on the death certificate.

It is important to note Nottingham did not report its first confirmed case of coronavirus until March 6.

And the first confirmed coronavirus death in a Nottingham hospital was on March 13.


This means the data for the year so far includes two and a half months of numbers where no deaths of coronavirus were reported. Since the start of the year, up to April 24, there have been 2,519 reported deaths from all causes outside of a hospital in Nottinghamshire - with 1,261 of these in a care home.

In Nottinghamshire's hospitals there have been 2,280 confirmed deaths from all causes including those where Covid-19 is mentioned.

Across the UK, the total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths is 28,734, the Government has confirmed as of Monday May 4.

These are deaths of people who have had a positive test result confirmed by a Public Health or a NHS laboratory.

source: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/latest-official-data-shows-surge-4105944

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The pressures of coronavirus are intense, and agonising in many different ways.

While the political focus has largely been about what is going on in hospitals, there is growing concern about some of the most vulnerable in our society, who live in nursing and residential homes.

The BBC has been passed a document sent to GP practices by the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group - that's the local NHS management in that part of Sussex - setting out guidance on how to cope with Covid-19 in care homes.

There are 35 GP practices and 98 residential or nursing homes in that area.

The document spells out that many vulnerable people may not be admitted to hospital for treatment if they contract the virus, and directs all homes to "check they have resuscitation orders on every patient".

It is not unusual for 'Respect Forms' or Do Not Resuscitate orders to be discussed and signed by elderly and vulnerable people as part of careful preparation for the end of life.

But one care manager was deeply concerned that residents and families are being pushed to sign the forms.

The CCG guidance even provides a suggested script for GPs to use in conversations with residents and families - part of which says "frail elderly people do not respond to the sort of intensive treatment required for the lung complications of coronavirus and indeed the risk of hospital admission may be to exacerbate pain and suffering".

It goes on: "We may therefore recommend that in the event of coronavirus infection, hospital admission is undesirable."

One care home manager in Hove told me their GP had even told them "none of your residents aged over 75 will be admitted to hospital". They said they felt "shocked and numb" to hear that.

Another said: "We have been told flatly that it would be highly unlikely that they would be accepted into hospital."

And, remember, because of social distancing rules families are not being allowed in to be with their loved ones in their closing days if they fall ill.

NHS England is firm that there is no national guidance at all that picks and chooses who can receive treatment in hospital.

And the health trust which includes the CCG told me this morning that while "agreeing advance care plans is a routine and important part of how GPs and care homes support their patients and residents, we recognise there may have been undue alarm caused by the interpretation of this particular guidance".

And it says it will follow up with care homes to address concerns.

Asked about a similar issue in Salford at Friday's Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said coronavirus patients living in care homes will not be refused admittance to hospital.

He said there were 2,029 spare critical care beds available in the NHS and their use would be based on clinical decisions.

"It is absolutely not a blanket rule that people shouldn't go to hospitals from care homes. Hospital is there for people when they need it, when the doctors advise that they go."

But while it's not clear if this kind of guidance has been sent out to homes in other parts of the country, there are concerns in the wider care sector that particularly without enough protective equipment, a relatively unseen part of the coronavirus crisis may develop behind closed doors.


Sam Monaghan, chief executive of MHA, the UK's largest charity provider of care and accommodation for older people, has been in touch with a response to this story.

He said: "I am going to be frank, NHS staff are used to dealing with a high volume of end of life care, social care staff who develop close personal relationships with residents over months and years are not, to the same extent.

"As extraordinary as our colleagues across the UK are, they did not sign up to this but are doing their very best.

"They increasingly don't have the equivalent PPE to the NHS and we can't continue to accept that."

He added that care homes were "struggling to even offer families the PPE to allow them to be with their loved ones at the end, adding: "Surely as a society we can do better than this."


source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52155359

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A number of Nottingham's homeless are being temporarily housed in hotels as the coronavirus pandemic forces shelters and support centres to close.

Emmanuel House, which operates a night shelter and a support centre in Goose Gate, closed from 10.30am on Tuesday, March 23, in response to Boris Johnson's strict measures to stop the spread of covid-19.

The day centre typically serves between 70 and 90 meals per day and provides the city's most vulnerable with a hot shower, clothing and support services.

However, the continuing spread of the virus - which has so far infected 49 people in Nottingham and killed a further six - has led to the service taking the decision to close its doors.

Denis Tully, the chief executive of the charity, said those who sleep at the night shelter are now being put up in hotels across the city.

"Guests are moving to a hotel today and will be supported by health professionals and Framework navigators in the day and by Shelter staff at night," he told Nottinghamshire Live.

"In response to the Prime Ministers announcement on March 23, 2020 about coronavirus, reducing movement of people and increasing self-isolation, Emmanuel House will be closed from 10.30am on Tuesday, March 24 2020.

"People in our care who are homeless and using the Shelter are being catered for, with the intention that for the next two weeks, they will be provided with facilities that make it possible to self-isolate and have their basic needs met.

"The situation regarding the restoration of services will be kept under constant review with any further action being taken in line with Government advice about the lifting of restricted movement and inter-personal association.

"If anyone needs a service today they should telephone 0115 950 7140."

The closures come as support workers on the ground, including rough sleeping coordinator Kim Pike, asked for old mobile phone donations so those on the streets can for help in an emergency.

Homelessness charity Framework has also spent more than £15,000 responding to what it described as a "crisis".

It is asking for donations to cover the cost of 'hostel boxes' for covid-19 infection control, which include gloves, aprons for staff, hand sanitiser, surface wipes, face masks, mobile phones and government guidance for self-isolation.

A spokesperson said: "Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have ever faced. We are desperately concerned about the welfare of our residents.

"If you are able to, a donation of £20 covers emergency food packages and care packages for services."

You can donate to Framework here, and Emmanuel House here.


source: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/homeless-vulnerable-being-put-up-3981151

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The number of people across the UK who have now tested positive for coronavirus continues to rise, and a total of nine cases have so far been reported in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire .

Public Health England say six people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county, while a further three people are known to have the virus in the city.


Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council are working alongside the NHS and Public Health England (PHE) to respond and offer advice as the pandemic unfolds.

In the first instance, anyone who is showing signs of the virus can call the NHS on 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk where more details can be found and the situation can be assessed.

Both Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) and Sherwood Forest Hospitals (SFH) have urged people who feel unwell not to come straight to hospital or their GP surgery and to not use public transport.

Instead, it is advised to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people and contact 111.


Symptoms of coronavirus

Coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

The NHS says symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

If you have been in a country in the last 14 days with a high risk of coronavirus or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, the same rules apply.

As well as information online via the NHS and Government websites, there are also posters in most key public sites, GP surgeries and hospitals.

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) on behalf of the NHS is urging people who feel unwell not to come straight to hospital or their GP surgery and to not use public transport.

GPs have been advised to stop online appointment bookings to mitigate the risk from potentially infected patients coming into the practice.

Patients are being encouraged to phone the surgery to book, where they can be triaged before an appointment is made face-to-face.

You may need to check with your local GP about routine appointments or ordering prescriptions.

Countries and areas at higher risk of coronavirus

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Tenerife – only the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Advice on coronavirus posted online by Sherwood Forest Hospitals said: "Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines.

"This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation.

"Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others.

"Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual."

People who have been tested for coronavirus will be told to self-isolate until doctors call them with their test results.

The main advice for anyone wanting to prevent catching or spreading the virus is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially when you get home or into work.

Where soap and water are not available, use hand sanitiser gel.

If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve - not your hands - and put tissues in the bin straightaway and wash your hands afterwards.

Where possible, avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) says they are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.


The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

As of March 12, more than 125,000 people have been infected across 80 countries, with more than 4,600 death globally.

source: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/what-youre-notts-you-think-3942172

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A minister has been criticised after saying social care employers should "redouble" their efforts to recruit UK workers ahead of immigration changes.

A leader in the sector has described Helen Whately's remarks as "lazy thinking" while a long-serving Tory MP has accused the government of making "facile arguments" that "don't wash".

The free movement of EU nationals to the UK will end on 31 December.

Ministers say they are "continually monitoring" the effect this will have.

A "points-based" post-Brexit immigration system is due to be introduced next year under which workers, who are classed as "low-skilled", will be unable to get visas.

Under the new system, foreign national who want to work in lower paid jobs are likely to fall short of the 70 points required to apply.

This has led to warnings that it will be increasingly difficult to fill an estimated 122,000 vacancies in social care in England.

The Conservative MP, Sir Roger Gale, submitted a question to the government asking what plans there are to tackle "potential labour shortages" in the care sector as a result of planned immigration controls.

In response, the Social Care Minister Helen Whately said: "We are continually monitoring and analysing the impact on both cost and numbers of staff in the National Health Service and social care sector as a result of multiple changes including the future immigration system."

"The changes to the immigration system and the ending of freedom of movement will mean that social care employers will need to redouble efforts to promote jobs in social care to workers in the United Kingdom."

'First port of call'

But Sir Roger Gale said that care homes were already closing at an "alarming rate" and that it wouldn't be possible to "press gang" people into working in the sector.

The MP for North Thanet suggested the government must know councils cannot afford to pay the kind of fees that would enable care home providers to pay higher wages.

Points system: Job offer from approved sponsor = 20 points; job at appropriate skill level = 20 points; English at required level = 10 points; salary of £20,480 - £23,039 = 0 points; salary of £23,040 - £25,599 = 10 points; salary of £25,600 or above = 20 points; job in a shortage occupation = 20 points; PhD in subject relevant to the job = 10 points; PhD in relevant STEM subject = 20 points.
Presentational grey line

"But even if they could, the next question has to be 'would I have wanted my mother to have been cared for in the residential home she ended her days in by somebody who didn't want to do the job?' The answer of course is no."

Nadra Ahmed, the Chair of the National Care Association, told the BBC that social care employers already try to recruit locally as a "first port of call". She urged the government to help promote the image of social care work across the country.

Concerns about the new immigration system have been raised by other sectors including hospitality, food processing and farming. However the government has said it will quadruple the number of workers farms can temporarily recruit to 10,000.

Mrs Ahmed said the care sector also needed similar provisions to meet staff shortages, "We can't let our fruit rot in the fields but we're alright to let older people struggle to receive the care they need," she said.

 source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-51682372


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Tuesday, 07 January 2020 09:15

Veganism: Why are vegan diets on the rise?


Across Britain, people are spending more money on vegan products, and plant-based diets are trending online.

With major supermarkets catching on and stocking up on vegan-friendly food - BBC News asks what's behind the rise?

The number of vegans is on the up

A vegan diet involves cutting out animal products like meat, fish, dairy and eggs.

According to the latest research by the Vegan Society, conducted in 2018, there are around 600,000 vegans in Great Britain.

Vegans in Great Britain


  • 600,000According to a Vegan Society survey of 2,000 people in 2018

  • £740mEstimated sales of meat-free foods in 2018

  • 87%Most Veganuary participants in 2019 were female

Source: The Vegan Society, Mintel, Veganuary campaign

It's estimated that this is up from 150,000 in 2006, and that there are twice as many women than men who are vegan.

Around 360,000 people also describe themselves as lifestyle vegans, who commit to only using or buying cosmetics and clothes free from animal products, for example.

Supermarkets are staying on-trend

Supermarket chains in the UK are stocking more vegan options to keep up with consumers' food choices.

In 2018 Waitrose introduced a dedicated vegan section in more than 130 shops, while Iceland reported that sales of its plant-based food have risen by 10% over the last year.

And a range of fast-food companies, from Greggs to McDonalds and Burger King to KFC, have launched, or announced, vegan options for the UK.

The UK market for meat-free foods was reportedly worth £740m in 2018, according to market researchers Mintel, up from £539m only three years ago.

Chart showing the value of retail sales of meat-free foods from 2011, forecast to 2018.

Interest in vegetarian and vegan products shows no sign of slowing down, as retail sales are expected to increase to £658m by 2021.

Do influencers influence what we eat?

Social media has had a big part to play in the rise of the plant-based lifestyle.

Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Ellen DeGeneres are some of the well-known figures who don't eat animal products, while #vegan has more than 87 million posts listed on Instagram.

 Read more: - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44488051

 source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44488051


 #LMT #Nottingham #Manchester #Northampton #Trafford #Care #ElderlyCare #Healthcare #HomeCare


The care system helps older and disabled people with day-to-day tasks like washing, dressing, eating and medication.

It is under pressure across the UK after past governments failed to reform or fund the council-run system properly.

Experts believe the problems are now so acute that politicians who ignore the issue at this election, do so at their peril.

The system is devolved across the four nations, meaning parties need to develop solutions unique to their region.

1. Thousands fewer receiving care

Unlike the NHS, social care is means-tested. To receive help from your local authority, you must have a very high level of need and, in England and Northern Ireland, savings and assets of less than £23,250; in Wales, the threshold is £24,000. Scotland operates a different system.

Since 2010, the number of older people asking for council help has increased, but fewer now qualify for support in their own home or in care homes.

The charity Age UK estimates there are 1.5 million people in England who need some help with day-to-day life, but do not receive it.

Number of people receiving long-term support from councils

England, 65 and over

Source: NHS Digital, between 2014 and 2015 there were changes to the methodology, meaning figures are not directly comparable.

2. Not just an elderly issue

Much of the debate centres on the increasing number of older people, but the number of working-age adults needing support is also rising.

A third of the people who are provided with long-term support in England are aged between 18 and 65, but the cost of their care is around half the total social care budget. This is because they often require more intensive - and therefore, expensive - support.

Average weekly cost of a care home by age group and disability

£s, cost to local authorities in England

Source: NHS Digital, 2018-19

Councils can pay up to £2,000 a week or more to support someone who, for instance, has learning disabilities or a long-term physical condition. In many cases, the individuals will not have been able to build up savings or assets.

3. Funding is lower than 2010

Despite increasing demand, spending is still 5% lower than a decade ago because councils in England have had the money they receive from central government cut by nearly half.

Although councils have offset some of that loss by increasing local taxes, they still have nearly 30% less money to spend on all public services.

Local authorities have generally tried to protect their spending on adult social care, and the government has put in extra short-term money in recent years.

Local authority expenditure on social care

England, real-terms spend per adult

Source: NHS Digital, ONS

The Local Government Association says councils remain under intense financial pressure.

4. Fees for care differ across England

The fees that local authorities pay for care, both in a person's own home or care homes, vary hugely depending on where you live.

Map of social care expenses

But across the country, the companies and charities who provide those services complain that councils are not covering the real cost of care.

5. People who don't qualify for free care pay more

The squeeze on council funding in England means that people who pay for themselves are often propping up the care system.

In 2016, the competition regulator estimated that in care homes, self-funders pay 41% more in fees than a local authority resident.

How much more do self-funders pay for care?

England, 2017, average weekly charges for residential care

Source: Competition and Markets Authority

Increasingly, care companies warn they would go out of business without private clients subsidising the system.

Many of those self-funders will have ended up selling their family home to pay for their care. It is one of the reasons why many view the current system as unfair.

6. Scotland spends the most per person

The care systems across the UK are increasingly different in the way they operate, with England the least generous.

For instance, in Wales, no-one who is eligible for care at home is expected to pay more than £90 a week towards it.

In Northern Ireland, no-one over the age of 75 pays for home care.

Scotland provides free personal care for people who are assessed as needing support, whatever their age. In a care home, people receive £177 a week towards their fees, but if they have savings or assets above £28,000 they will have to fund the remaining costs.

Annual per head spending on social care in Great Britain

In £s

Source: Health Foundation

These differences are reflected in the amount of money each nation spends per person on social care. There is no comparable data for Northern Ireland.

7. An ageing population causes problems

The UK has an ageing population and the pressures on the care system will only increase. While living longer is considered a positive, many older people will develop health conditions which mean they need help with day-to-day life.

For instance, the number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to more than double to 1.6 million by 2040.

Percentage of the population by age group

Past and projected UK population

Source: ONS

The Alzheimer's Society has estimated that without local authority help, someone with dementia will typically have to spend £100,000 on the care they need.

For a long time they have called this a "dementia tax", as someone who develops the disease will have to cover their own costs until their assets are reduced to £23,250 - the threshold for qualifying for local authority help in England.

8. Lack of social care causes problems for the NHS

There is a knock-on effect for the health service if the care system is supporting fewer people, and only those with the highest needs.

Someone struggling to cope on their own is more likely to have a fall or neglect themselves, meaning they end up in hospital emergency departments.

Then, when they are ready to leave hospital, a lack of social care in the community can lead to them being marooned in a hospital bed for longer than required.

Hospital beds occupied by people who don't need to be there

England, days in millions

Source: NHS Digital, year ending March

This is why experts say the future of the NHS is tied to creating an effective social care system.

9. Not enough care workers

Finding sufficient people willing to take on the challenging, yet rewarding, work of looking after people in their own home, or in care homes, is a continuing problem.

The latest official data for England shows there are 122,000 vacancies - just under 8% of the social care workforce in England.

Social care vacancies are increasing


Source: Skills for Care

Nearly a quarter of the 1.5 million people working in the sector are on zero-hours contracts (when employees are not guaranteed a full working week) and pay is often the minimum wage.

Many argue that improving the pay and skills of the workforce is vital to encourage people to consider care work as a career. Increasingly, social care workers are carrying out tasks that would once have been done by trained nurses.

10. Social care is creeping up the political agenda

Reforming the care system is a matter political parties have struggled to agree on.

Since 1997, there have been more than a dozen inquiries and government reports setting out a variety of ideas for funding social care in the longer term.

In England, none of those ideas have led to change. It is a complicated system that few understand, and in past elections, the issue has become a political football.

In the 2010 election, Labour's plans for reform were dubbed a "death tax". In the 2017 election, Conservative plans were labelled a "dementia tax".

An analysis of the number of times social care has been mentioned in Parliament shows just how discussion about what to do has increased over the years - highlighting the issue's urgency.

Number of times social care is referenced in Parliament

Source: Hansard

But, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, with Brexit currently dominating the agenda, plans for reforming care have struggled to get the "bandwidth" in government.

Even so, the debate seems to have shifted away from earlier ideas of insurance schemes and caps on costs. In the summer, a Lords committee called for free personal care for those aged 65 and over in England.

It would be a similar system to the one introduced in Scotland nearly 20 years ago, an idea dismissed at the time as too expensive for England.


 source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50377846


 #LMT #Nottingham #Manchester #Northampton #Trafford #Care #ElderlyCare #Healthcare #HomeCare


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03 December 2021