COVID 19 preparations with respect to private contractors.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Martin James Keatings

Dear Fife Health and Social Care Partnership,

I am writing to seek information under Freedom of Information on preparedness for COVID 19 with respect to care in the community staff

INTRODUCTION

This information is being sought due to concerns over care in the community staff as a possible vector of transmission to elderly, vulnerable and immunodeficient individuals during the impending COVID 19 pandemic.

Approximately 3 weeks ago, West Fife was hit by Norovirus. Care staff from contracted companies in the area began dropping like flies. I and my mother, a woman with secondary progressive M.S ended up infected, as did most service users on the same run.

While unfortunate, the outbreak did serve as a test-run for a possible catastrophic outbreak with a more virulent strain. With cases in Tayside, Forth Valley and now Fife, it is reasonable to ask the following questions for the purposes of protecting vulnerable individuals.

I WOULD FORMALLY REQUEST THAT IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IS "WE DO NOT HOLD THIS INFORMATION" OR ANY OTHER NEGATIVE RESPONSE IN TERMS OF IT NOT EXISTING, THAT THIS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST BE PASSED TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR COVID 19 PLANNING UNDER FIFE HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE.

1. What provisions have been made with respect to private contractors to provide them with proper testing for COVID 19 as a matter of course?

2. If provisions have been made and there are documents detailing this, I would appreciate being provided with them.

3. As with questions 1 and 2, please provide the same for "Public Service" staff attending to patients in the community.

4. What provisions have been made to supply private contractors with personal protective equipment i.e. cleansers, gloves, masks et al, to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID 19 to themselves or to service users.**

** THIS QUESTION IS BEING ASKED BECAUSE CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED THAT SOME COMPANIES HAVE THEIR EMPLOYEES PURCHASE SUCH THINGS ON THEIR OWN AND THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF SUCH SUPPLIES.

5. What provisions have been made to ensure ample supply of medical PPE for private contractors in the event of supply chain disruption and/or shortages.

6.. What mandatory (if any) conditions have been placed on private care companies with respect to ensuring that private care providers do not act as a vector for COVID 19 transmission. If documents exist to this effect i.e. Official Guidance to private contractors, please provide them or direct me to them.

7. What provisions have been made to combat staff shortages should private care staff fall ill with COVID 19 and the company becomes unable to facilitate contractual obligations.

8. This question is very specific and should also be raised as a matter of concern to the partnership to be addressed (if not already considered and planned for) and it may overlap with mandatory conditions but I require it answered specifically. Evidence has shown with the Norovirus outbreak that staff, where there is a shortage due to holidays or sick leave, have with some private care companies, been pulled from other "runs" (that is to say geographical areas) even to the point of crossing outside of the boundaries of the Fife Partnership. As you can understand, with a serious pandemic outbreak, this can act as a vector for transmission of COVID 19 by spreading the virus between geographical areas and regions to a new group of care givers and service users.

On this basis, what provisions or mandatory conditions have Fife Health and Social Care Partnership placed on private care providers with respect to the geographical isolation of carers to ensure containment between geographic areas and prevent private contracted caregivers acting as a possible vector for viral transmission of COVID 19.

and Finally,

9. What formal training is being given to private care companies with respect to viral transmission precautions?

Yours faithfully,

Martin James Keatings

ANDERSON, Wendy (NHS FIFE),

I am out of the office until Monday 16 March 2020 and will respond to your
e-mail on my return.

If your e-mail relates to an Information Request please resend it to
[1][email address]

Wendy

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