As each day goes by with our NHS and care staff still lacking adequate PPE, the government's failure to provide it grows more deadly. Our frontline workers are taking risks every day to keep the rest of us safe and they deserve every support we can give them. I am joining my Liberal Democrat colleagues in calling for a five point Frontline Support Package to include:
The Frontline Support Package is
Protection – PPE kit for all key workers NOW
Practical help – food deliveries, accommodation & transport for NHS and care staff
Frontline service reward - additional pay to compensate for the risks they are taking
Bereavement and funeral support - a more generous death-in-service scheme
Coronavirus Service Medal - recognition for the risks they are facing
If you would like to assist in putting pressure on the government to offer this support, please sign up to back the campaign: https://www.libdems.org.uk/frontline?recruiter_id=131394
CARE QUALITY COMMISSION GATHERING DATA
The CQC has launched a data collection scheme on COVID-19 related pressures - such as shortages of PPE - from services who provide care for people in their own homes. This information will be combined with information already gathered from residential and nursing homes to give a much more complete picture of how coronavirus is affecting people who use adult social care services and those who care for them. This information will be shared across organisations (including DHSC and NHS England) who can help mobilise support.
If you or a loved one have arthritis or any related musculoskeletal condition and are concerned about how COVID-19 may affect you, get in touch with @VersusArthritis at: https://bit.ly/Covid19VersusArthritisHelp
FREE CHILDREN'S BOOK ABOUT COVID-19, ILLUSTRATED BY AXEL SCHEFFLER
Anyone with young children will be delighted to hear that local resident and illustrator of many beloved children's books Axel Scheffler has contributed his artwork to a free book for children explaining coronavirus. You can download it here: https://nosycrowcoronavirus.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/Coronavirus_ABookForChildren.pdf
NEW ORCHID MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY SERVICE
The new Orchid Mental Health Emergency Service has opened at Springfield Hospital. This innovative 24 hour mental health emergency department will care for patients who would otherwise have had to go to A&E. Patients of all ages are accepted, including children.
The dedicated department will ensure anyone in crisis who does not have serious physical health needs can access specialist care from expert mental health professionals day or night.
This service will care for patients in Richmond, Wandsworth, Merton, Kingston and Sutton. Organisations that can refer patients to these services include acute A&Es, police, London Ambulance Service and NHS 111.
Those who need support should call the Trust's mental health support line on 0800 028 8000
Patients can call the number themselves, but please be aware this is not a walk-in service; a screening process must take place before patients can be admitted, so please call first.
MOBILE PHONE USE IN HOSPITALS
I have been asked to clarify that patients can use their mobile devices while they in hospital to stay in touch with their loved ones. While visitors are not allowed, patients can still contact their family and friends bye electronic means, within certain guidelines. So don't forget to pack a charger if you need to go to hospital.
Help for Kingston Businesses
Kingston Council is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and Kingston First to provide as much help to local businesses as they can through speedy access to financial support and clear advice and guidance. Over £15.3m of grants have been paid to businesses through one of the government’s package of grants, including small business rate relief. The Council is asking Kingston businesses to let them know what’s helpful and what other practical support could be useful using a short questionnaire on their website: https://kingstonletstalk.co.uk/kingston-business-covid-survey
At Home Shouldn't Mean At Risk
Kingston Council is supporting an important campaign from the government to help raise awareness of domestic violence: ‘At home shouldn’t mean at risk.' They are asking if you could take a picture or video of yourself with the symbol of a heart drawn on your hand to show solidarity. Please send your pictures or video to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are posting on your own channels please include the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone and tag others to ask them to post too and spread the message further.
Covid-19 Testing Facility to Open at Twickenham Stadium
A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at Twickenham Stadium, operating on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers. Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “Ensuring that that NHS workers and other frontline care staff are able to access testing quickly is a crucial element in fighting coronavirus. Every day hundreds of council staff, in addition to thousands of NHS staff, put their lives on the line to support some of this borough’s most vulnerable residents. I am pleased, therefore, that the Council has moved quickly to ensure this new drive through facility has been given the green light to open without any delay.”
Covid-19 Emergency Funds for Local Businesses and Charities
An urgent decision was made by Richmond Council this week to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This will be funded by the £4.2 million Government un-ringfenced grant received by the Council. These funds are available to support local businesses, nurseries, charities and care providers.
Council hosts first virtual committee
Richmond Council has hosted its first fully virtual committee meeting since new regulations came into force earlier this month on Thursday 16 April. Councillors, officers, the applicant and members of the public who asked to speak at the meeting we able to use an online video and audio application. The meeting was broadcast live via the council’s website for the wider public. The next virtual Committee will be held on the 29 April and will be the Planning Committee. Details are available here.
Parliament will also reconvene tomorrow in a new virtual format. I will report back to you later in the week on how it's working and what we are doing there.