Norfolk Care Association (NorCA) news and updates

Norfolk Care Association (NorCA) – the voice of adult social care providers across Norfolk and Waveney

Joint Consultative Forum

NorCA directors met with Norfolk County Council (NCC) Health and Social Care Commissioners on Tuesday 31st March to get an update on action to support the social care sector during the Covid-19 pandemic and to identify new and emerging issues.

Communication

The challenge of disseminating information in a fast-moving environment given the potential risk and impact of information overload was discussed.  Norfolk County Council recognise the challenge and are streamlining their communications. 

  • Daily: The Care Providers Portal will be regularly updated with the latest information and guidance
  • Weekly: NCC are aiming to ensure that all communication is condensed into one weekly email which will be sent out to NCC accredited providers.
  • Bespoke: The Provider e-mail in box is available for response to individual queries: qaprovidersassd@norfolk.gov.uk

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

NorCA directors emphasised the difficulties facing providers where PPE supplies are running dangerously low.  Many providers and individual employers who deliver services, but are not CQC registered, were not included in the national distribution.  The Local Authority has no direct control over supplies or distribution but is putting together a market intelligence project to understand more precisely where the pinch points are to help inform future distributions. 

Most recent guidance (3 April 2020)

Some providers may not be fully aware of this guidance and it was felt we could do more to promote it.

Financial Support

It has been recognised that social care providers are facing unprecedented pressures at the moment with the cost of maintaining existing services escalating as well as dealing with additional pressures.  A package of support is currently being worked on and will be published shortly on the Care Providers Portal.

Building capacity across social care

A surge in demand for social care following an increase in Covid-19 cases is anticipated in the next few weeks.  NCC are trying to identify where there is additional capacity across the care market – both residential and home support.  As part of this work they have asked Quality Monitoring Officers to check with Registered Managers of every accredited residential/nursing home as part of the Quality Monitoring Officer Catch Up calls.

NorCA directors felt that many owners/providers were unaware of this initiative and it was agreed that this should be publicised more widely.

Providers of residential and nursing care who can offer additional beds should update their eBrokerage bed tracker.   A separate web-enabled form is being developed to capture information from other providers.

Additionally, NCC would welcome proposals from any provider able to offer extra capacity if additional support and resource were available.

Working Age Adults (Learning Disability, Mental Health and Physical Disability) and Home Care providers – please email integratedcommissioners@norfolk.gov.uk

Older person residential providers – please email qaprovidersassd@norfolk.gov.uk

Hospital Discharge – clinical governance

There is concern that people are being discharged from hospitals and returned to care providers without appropriate Covid-19 testing.  It was agreed a working group drawn from NorCA, health and NCC will jointly review the current discharge protocols.

Workforce Matters

Work is underway to recruit additional workers to the sector.  Christine Futter (NorCA Director and Chief Operating Officer of Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support Ltd) updated JCF members on progress towards an NCC-funded recruitment campaign that is reaching all key stakeholders including those in the retail and hospitality industries.  Local media including social media, print newspapers, radio and local television will all be targeted to ensure maximum publicity. 

Testing for Covid-19

All acknowledge the importance of testing for staff.   There is little that can currently be done at a local level although James Bullion, NCC Executive Director for Adult Social Services and vice-president of ADASS has been raising these issues in his regular meetings with the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Next meeting – getting your feedback

The next meeting of the Joint Consultative Forum (JCF) will be on Tuesday 16th April where the focus will again be the impact of Covid-19. 

Under normal circumstances, JCF meetings will be preceded by an engagement and consultation process including face to face provider events.  This will allow the JCF agenda to be shaped around the concerns and needs of social care providers and enable NorCA Directors to fully represent the views of the sector.

Current restrictions limit the possibility of wide ranging engagement.  However, NorCA Directors, who are themselves social care service providers, are keen to hear your views, experiences and suggestions.  Please send them to the NorCA Project Officer, Fiona Denny at fiona.denny@norfolkcareassociation.org

In the meantime, we will ensure you are kept up to date with our work through regular news bulletins.

NorCA Directors

  • Sanjay Kaushal – Castlemeadow Care
  • Michael Millage – PCT Care Services
  • Christine Futter – Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support Ltd (N&SCS)
  • Jonathan Clemo – Community Action Norfolk (CAN)
  • Maria Plumb – Voluntary Norfolk (VN)