Over the last 10 months, we have come to terms with working with COVID-19 and you all have played your part in supporting the communities where you work, providing excellent care and support to Service Users, under very difficult and challenging circumstances. Recently, the situation has taken a different direction and a new strain of the virus has come to light. This, once again, causes anxiety to you, and your families yet you continue to provide exceptional care to those people who need it most.
Some of you and people you know have tested positive for this virus and unfortunately, some of your family or friends have sadly passed away. Where this is the case, my thoughts and condolences are with you and your families.
Throughout this period, you have provided care to Service Users that have had a positive diagnosis and you may well have provided care to Service Users who may not have known they were positive, yet you continue to do so because you want to care and support those most vulnerable within the communities where you work.
I also know that a large number of you have had to self-isolate or shield because you have shown symptoms, received a positive test result or have underlying health conditions that prevent you from working and absolutely appreciate that this has not been easy for any of you. Furthermore, the opening and closing of schools, the cancellation of after school/breakfast clubs and the changing Tier systems and guidance has also impacted on your lives and working arrangements making it difficult for many of you to “juggle” the work and home life balance that is important.
It is more important than ever before that you all adhere to the guidelines, both at work and when you have some free time. That you continue to wear your PPE and that you travel safely between your visits, protecting yourselves, your families and our Service Users. PPE will continue to be provided, as matter of course, along with access to weekly testing and we will provide details and access to vaccinations which have now commenced across large parts of England and Wales.
Whilst there is clearly some nervousness around having the vaccine, the expectation from Service Users over the coming months will be that you and your colleagues have been vaccinated to protect them from infection and as more and more vaccine opportunities become available, this expectation will no doubt increase.
Whilst it is not compulsory for you to be vaccinated, I would encourage you all to consider this, to slow down the rate of infection, so that we are able to play our part in getting life back to as normal as possible for the benefit of everyone.
Your branch teams will continue to support and answer any questions that you may have in relation to vaccinations, testing, PPE or general COVID guidance so please don’t be afraid to ask if you need that help and support.
We continue to applaud you all for your continued support and efforts throughout the pandemic and wish you and you families the very best in staying safe and well as we progress through this next phase of the pandemic.
Thanks again and stay safe