Latest Guidance for Health and Social Care Staff

Updated 10 September 2021

Scotland has moved out of the COVID-19 levels system, and is now beyond Level 0. But remember that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, so it is still important to follow the rules and latest guidance to avoid getting the virus and stop it spreading.

Even if people are vaccinated, it’s important that people continue to follow the safety measures, to help stop the spike in cases.

This page collates the latest guidance for Falkirk’s health and social care staff on:

  • National infection, prevention and control guidance
  • Car and vehicle sharing
  • Self-isolation and returning to work
  • Care home guidance – issued 08 September
  • Physical distancing in Adult Day Services
  • Appeal to visitors in hospital settings to follow guidance
  • Stop the Spike Campaign

Latest Guidance

Car and vehicle sharing

In some situations, it may not be reasonably practicable for staff to undertake essential work without vehicle sharing. If this is the case

If you need to share a vehicle with anyone from another household, you should follow the appropriate measures, steps and precautions where possible:

  • When sharing a vehicle with anyone from another household, limit the number of people in the vehicle to as few as possible, ideally no more than 2 (applies to adults and children aged 12 and over). This will help reduce the number of staff required to isolate if one member tests positive.
  • use the biggest vehicle available for car sharing purposes
  • windows in the car should be opened as far as possible taking account of weather conditions to improve ventilation in the space
  • occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way
  • occupants should perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and again on leaving the vehicle
  • occupants should avoid eating in the vehicle
  • passengers in the vehicle should minimise any surfaces touched
  • keep the volume of any music/radio to a minimum to prevent the need to raise voices in the car
  • the longer the journey, the higher the risk; keep journey times to the minimum feasible and do not linger in the vehicle before or after the journey itself
  • where non-household members are car-sharing, the car must be cleaned regularly (at least daily) and particular attention should be paid to high-risk touch points such as door handles, electronic buttons and seat belts. General purpose detergent is sufficient unless a symptomatic or confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in the vehicle in which case a disinfectant (e.g. chlorine-based product) should be used
  • You should not travel to work/car share if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, as outlined on the NHS Inform website.
Self-isolation and returning to work

Across Scotland, individuals contacted by Test and Protect are no longer required to isolate if:

  • they are double vaccinated (with at least two weeks since receiving the last dose;
  • have no COVID-19 symptoms;
  • and return a negative PCR test which has been taken after exposure to the case.

As such, health and social care staff identified as a COVID close contact are eligible for exemption under the same conditions as the general population. Additional safeguarding measures are in place for returning to work, including:

  • The staff member performs a daily LFD test for 10 days following date of last exposure
  • The staff member records the results of the daily LFD via www.covidtestingportal.scot
  • During a period of isolation exemption, the staff member should not work with high clinical risk patients or service users.

Before applying self-isolation exemptions, please review and implement the following full guidance and policy documents:

Care home guidance – 08 September 2021

Public Health Scotland has published the updated COVID-19: information and guidance for care home settings version 2.4.

Changes made, as of 08 September 2021:

  • Section 1. Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19: physical distancing advice updated
    • Section 1.2. Vaccination programme: latest advice and evidence included
  • Section 3.1. Outbreak management: clarifications of HPT role added
  • Section 8.4. Staff who have been identified as a contact of a COVID-19 case: the criteria for staff exemption from self-isolation and returning to work when identified as a close contact updated
  • Section 9. Visiting arrangements in care homes: visiting arrangements for residents who are isolating as a contact, or for certain admission to care home purposes or for international travel reasons has been updated. Physical distancing advice for day services in care home settings has also been updated.
COVID-19: information and guidance for care home settings (this link will always direct to the latest version of the Public Health Scotland document. If sharing to colleagues, please send the landing page rather than a downloaded pdf document)
Physical distancing in Adult Day Services

Safeguards such as 2-metre physical distancing and the wearing of face masks remain in place in healthcare settings such as hospitals, GP practices and dentists.

In line with level zero, and to support reopening of services that were unable to open, or could open only at limited capacity, the Scottish Government confirmed Adult Day Services were able to move to a position of 1 metre physical distancing.

As these services had previously moved to 1 metre physical distancing to enable reopening, social care staff working within these services can continue to operate with 1 metre between themselves and those they provide care or support to.

However, staff should be mindful that the greater the physical distancing the greater the risk mitigation. As such staff should maintain a 2 metre physical distancing wherever possible. Maintaining a greater physical distance provides a higher level of protection against COVID-19 to individuals that may still be vulnerable and minimise the risk of asymptomatic transmission.

This exemption to the 2m physical distancing guidance currently only applies to adult social care building based day services. Health and social care staff in other health and social care settings should continue to follow guidance specific to their environment.

If you have any queries about the changes to physical distancing measures, or how these may impact day services, please contact emma.shepherd@gov.scot.

Appeal To Visitors To Follow The Guidelines – Hospital Settings

Staff at NHS Forth Valley are appealing to visitors to comply with guidance and advice when visiting loved ones in hospital.

They say the number of visitors not observing the guidance around PPE is increasing, with many removing or lowering their masks when speaking to friends and relatives, an action which can compromise patient safety.

There are also reports of people in Forth Valley Royal Hospital bringing take-away coffees up to ward areas, such as four-bedded bays, then taking off their masks to drink them. And social distancing of two metres is not always being adhered to.

NHS Forth Valley Nurse Director, Professor Angela Wallace, said: “The staff have been fantastic and are happy to speak to visitors about the guidance, but on occasions it has been very difficult as some have been more or less told to ‘get lost’ when challenged about ignoring advice. I would urge the public to please treat staff with kindness and respect; they are doing their very best to keep our hospitals safe.

I would also like to remind people attending hospitals or using our services to continue to follow Covid-19 guidelines. Should you need to attend a hospital or healthcare centre you must:

Wear a face covering or mask at all times, unless you are exempt. If you are exempt please make this clear to local staff.

  • Avoid congregating and respect physical distancing measures at all times – we ask that you continue to follow two metre physical distancing rules when at any of our facilities.
  • Use hand sanitising stations before entering and leaving our sites.

Professor Wallace added that anyone who is unwell, has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19 or who has been advised to self-isolate should not visit or attend hospitals or other healthcare facilities. They should also stay away if they are returning from a country which requires quarantine.

Stop the Spike Campaign

The Scottish Government’s latest covid campaign, Stop the Spike, has launched in recognition of the rising numbers in cases. The campaign aims to remind the public of the key safety measures they should continue doing to keep themselves and others safe.

The campaign advises the public to:

  • Keep mixing with others to a minimum
  • Try to meet people outdoors wherever possible
  • Continue to wear face coverings – as it remains the law to do so in some public places in Scotland
  • Continue to test twice a week, and report the results

Campaign downloads: