COVID-19 Update 30th April 2020

1.          Care Homes

You will probably have heard on the news that people in care homes are at high risk of catching COVID-19.

We have been lobbying the Council about not discharging people from hospital into a care home while they are assessed about what support they need to return to their own home, since the start of the COVID-19 Lockdown.  

We have been saying that care homes are high risk places and that patients should not be discharged to them, because it creates a further risk for those who already live there, and for those being sent there.

Perhaps now that national figures show we were right, and that there are no less than 35 care services in Bristol with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases, they will listen to us.

2.          Council supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies for your PAs or carer[s]

We are getting different feedback on the difficulty of getting PPE supplies if you employ your own PAs e.g. you’re on Direct Payments, or are supported by one or more carers. 

We want to collect evidence about how well the system is, or isn’t, working.  To do this we need to know about your experience so can you please answer the following questions and forward the to us:

Email: bristoldef@gmail.com

Post: Bristol DEF, St. Paul’s Learning Centre, Grosvenor Rd, Bristol BS2 8XJ

Text only: 07810 506730

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bristoldef

Twitter: BDEFbites

Instagram: BDEFbites

a. Have you asked the Council for PPE supplies for your PAs or carer[s]?

b. Have you received them yet?  

c. If the answer is Yes, how long did it take to get them?

d. If the answer is No, how long have you been waiting?

Please send us your answers by Friday 8th May 2020.

3.          Employ your own PAs?

Bristol City Council have said they are writing to Direct Payment recipients to ensure their personal assistants can access testing if they meet the criteria e.g. they have symptoms of COVID-19.  

This has only happened because the Forum highlighted to the Council that PAs to people on Direct Payments need testing as much as care home workers.  The Council listened, and very quickly added PAs to the official list of who is a key worker.

The demand for testing has been very high so, if you have a PA who fits the criteria listed in the letter, or you do yourself, book your slot as soon as the letter arrives.

4.    Hours reduced, redundancy, furloughed and qualify for Universal Credit?

The Council’s Future Bright employment support programme, funded by the DWP and WECA has expanded its eligibility to include 1 to 1 support, not only for those who are in work and claiming benefits to get by, but to now include:

–   Those who have been made redundant, laid off or are at risk of redundancy, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic;

–   Employees whose hours have been significantly reduced, and who therefore have a lower income (e.g. zero hours, cut from full to part time);

–   Self-employed workers, where their ability to earn has been severely impacted due to the nature of their business;

–   Furloughed employees, if their reduced income means they are eligible for Universal Credit.

For further information contact futurebright@bristol.gov.uk or call 0117 9222250.

5.    Council-run cemeteries and crematoriums open again

Council-run cemeteries and crematoriums will be open again from Thursday 30 April.  BUT, this will be on restricted hours: 

  • from 4pm-8pm on weekday evenings and 
  • from 10am-6pm on weekends. 

They are only open to those who have friends/families whose remains are there, NOT for exercise.

Please respect these spaces for people to grieve and mourn their loved ones, and take your daily exercise in the parks.

6.    More funding for local authorities but nowhere near enough

Government has announced another £1.6billion funding for local councils.  In Bristol, that means we’ve received £13m so far, and are due to get approx. £12.5m from the latest announcement.

However, between the extra costs of dealing with COVID-19 and the lost income, the figures are:

£29m spent on additional social care and other costs;

£80m in lost revenue;

= £109m, 

minus:

£13m received previously, and

£12.5m due.

This means the Council has received £89.5m less than it needs, and this excludes the spending that will be needed to help people in Bristol recover financially from COVID-19.

So, if you have any influence at a national level, please do tell the government that, if more funding isn’t provided to local councils, there will be no money left to provide any local services by the time the pandemic has ended.

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