Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

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Extension of self-isolation to ten days

ANYONE in Scotland diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms will now have to self-isolate for ten days – an increase from seven.

The announcement has been made by UK’s four Chief Medical Officers, noting evidence that people with COVID-19 have a ‘low but real possibility’ of infectiousness between seven and nine days after the onset of the illness.

Reacting to the development, NHS Dumfries and Galloway Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Nigel Calvert said: “Self-isolation plays such an important role in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, and we’ve seen this first-hand within Dumfries and Galloway,

“We’re so grateful that people do self-isolate, and with this extension from seven days to ten days it’s important we remember that this move is to ensure the full effectiveness of this action, and that self-isolation is an act which protects our friends, our neighbours and our wider communities.”

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Dr Gregor Smith is a co-signatory on the statement issued today by all four of the UK’s chief medical officers which has introduced and explained the extension of the self-isolation period.

Explaining the 10 day self-isolation period applies for those people who have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result, the statement said: “In symptomatic people, COVID-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.

“Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with COVID who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.

“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.

“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”

Other signatories to the letter are Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride and Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible, and no one should be blamed for contracting the virus.

Anyone who does experience any of the symptoms (a cold or flu like illness – including a new cough, high temperature, or loss of smell) should self-isolate and book a test through our mobile testing unit which carries out testing daily across the region.

Tests can be booked by visiting the website www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/ Testing date and locations can be found at the end of this message.

Friday 31st July

MTU1

Langholm – Kilngreen Car Park.

DG13 0JN            

MTU2

Thornhill – Community Centre,

East Back Street. DG3 5LH

Saturday 1st August       

MTU1

Dumfries – DG1 Leisure Centre,

Hoods Loaning, DG1 2HT              

MTU2

Stranraer – Ashwood House.

DG9 7JJ

Sunday 2nd August        

MTU1

Dumfries – DG1 Leisure Centre,

Hoods Loaning, DG1 2HT              

MTU2

Annan – Swimming Pool,

St Johns Rd. DG12 6AQ 

Monday 3rd August       

MTU1

Stranraer – Ashwood House.

DG9 7JJ

MTU2

Moffat – Station Park Car Park,

Beattock Road (A701), Moffat. 

Tuesday 4th August       

MTU1

Annan – Swimming Pool,

St Johns Rd. DG12 6AQ

MTU2 – morning

Dalbeattie (location to be confirmed)

MTU3 – afternoon

Castle Douglas – Market St Car Park.

DG7 1AE

Wednesday 5th August

MTU1

Thornhill – Community Centre,

East Back Street. DG3 5LH           

MTU2

Stranraer – Ashwood House.

DG9 7JJ

Thursday 6th August     

MTU1 – morning

Newton Stewart – Douglas Ewart High School,

Corsbie Rd. DG8 6JQ

MTU2   

Annan – Swimming Pool,

St Johns Rd. DG12 6AQ 

MTU3 – afternoon

Kirkcudbright – (location to be confirmed)

Friday 7th August            

MTU1

Moffat – Station Park Car Park,

Beattock Road (A701), Moffat.

MTU2

Sanquhar  – Fun Pool,

Blackaddie Road. DG4 6DB          

Saturday 8th August

MTU1

Dumfries – DG1 Leisure Centre,

Hoods Loaning. DG1 2HT              

MTU2

Dalry – (location to be confirmed)            

Sunday 9th August                         

MTU1

Lockerbie – McJerrow Car Park,

High Street. DG11 2BJ

In Dumfries and Galloway, the following groups of staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to be tested through one of the NHS testing facilities. This can be organised through Occupational Health (01387 244626) or, for any non-NHS or non-Council staff, through line managers.

  • NHS staff, including independent contractors such as GPs, dentists, optometrists and community pharmacists
  • Social care staff, including care home and care-at-home staff
  • Emergency services, including police, fire and rescue, ambulance, and prison service staff
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council employees

Special thanks to Armed Forces

A special message of thanks is expressed during Armed Forces Week for the contributions made by all personnel.

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership would particularly like to recognise the support which has been provided during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

Military personnel have been providing ongoing assistance around the planned response to the coronavirus, and staff continue to operate the mobile testing unit which provides daily testing moving around locations right across the region.

Valerie White is Interim Director of Public Health and NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Armed Forces Champion, and she said: “The Armed Forces have played an important role locally by operating the mobile COVID-19 testing centres across the region and this is an example of the professionalism and quick response we can expect from the Armed Forces in supporting local communities when needed.”

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is one organisation which has made a commitment to support the Armed Forces through a signed agreement, or covenant, having received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in August 2019.

On the eve of Armed Forces Day, which takes place tomorrow, Saturday, June 27, Health Improvement Officer Richard Smith has recorded a video in which he recognises the role of the Armed Forces…. https://youtu.be/1yJZwPPY0hA

#armedforcesweek @Lowland_RFCA

Staff deployed to care home

A number of residents and staff at Dryfemount Care Home in Lockerbie have tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of staff are in self-isolation. 

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership have deployed staff to work in Dryfemount to ensure that all the residents continue to receive appropriate support. 

We have worked closely with the managers of the home and the Care Inspectorate to ensure that all residents and staff are supported through this difficult period

Call to help Care at Home workers

A key method to prevent the spread of coronavirus is keeping interaction to a minimum.

As a result, a request is being made to help Care at Home staff carrying out their duties within the region’s communities.

General Manager for Community Health and Social Care in Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Graham Abrines said: “When a Care at Home worker is due to visit a home, we’d ask that anyone other than the person receiving care creates space for the worker to carry out their duties.

“Other people may live at the same address, and current national guidance permits people to visit another residence if they are providing care to a vulnerable person.

“Aside from this, there should be no other person present within these homes.

“So, if people are present for those reasons we would ask if they could arrange to either be out of the house or in another room when the care at home worker calls.

“This will really help, as it means that the worker is only coming into contact with the person needing support, keeping that interaction to the very minimum.”

People are thanked for all the help they have provided, and are asked to continue to assist Care at Home staff as they carry out essential work during this difficult period.

Dumfries and Galloway well prepared for coronavirus

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is well-prepared for any positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and is asking the public to play their part in protecting themselves and each other.

While all tests in Scotland have so far been negative, Deputy Medical Director Dr Grecy Bell says an outbreak is highly likely based on the spread of infection in other countries.

Dr Bell said: “We have well-developed protocols in place to deal with any such illness, and we are providing support to staff both in hospital settings and in the community, including our GPs across the region.

“However, the public also has an important role to play to prevent the spread of infection. We are sharing national messaging around how people can help protect themselves and others. This includes posters promoting the message ‘Catch It, Bin It Kill It’, which applies equally to the coronavirus as any of the respiratory illnesses we tend to see at this time of year.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is also adopting the home testing model seen elsewhere in the country to limit any exposure and prevent any spread if cases were to appear.

This means people who are suspected coronavirus cases will be tested in their homes by clinicians who will wear a mask and protective clothing to prevent any possible spread.

Dr Bell said: “Obviously, there’s a lot of interest currently focused on coronavirus, and we’re monitoring the situation closely.

“We are well prepared in Dumfries and Galloway, but we do ask people to follow the self-isolation advice if they’ve visited an affected country, to call rather than visit their GP for advice if they think they have symptoms, and to also follow the basic health precautions they would use to avoid colds and flu, such as regularly washing hands, and catching coughs and sneezes with tissues.”

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2 pm each day on the Scottish Government website. https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-scottish-test-numbers/

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
• high temperature or fever
• cough
• shortness of breath

Updates on public health advice for coronavirus can be found on the NHS Inform website https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus, and a free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/ Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated.

Open consultation sessions to focus on Short Break Services

A series of consultation meetings is set to take place as part of an independent charity’s review of Short Break Services in Dumfries and Galloway.

Action for Children have announced seven consultation sessions to take place next month as they carry out work to develop options for the service in the region.

The charity have been commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board, whose chairman Andy Ferguson said: “After receiving an Independent Review Report on Short Break Services from Action for Children, the Integration Joint Board commissioned the charity to progress with the next stage and carry out an options appraisal.

“The IJB is happy to help promote Action for Children’s call for as many families, carers and professionals as possible to attend these very important events which are intended to ensure that a full range of views and ideas are collated.”

The consultation sessions have been arranged across Dumfries and Galloway, and will be undertaken by Lesley Gordon and Adam Moffat from Action for Children.

Details are as follows:

2nd March –
• Families, Carers and Public Consultation, 10am – 12 noon and 5pm – 7pm Cresswell and Larchfield Community Centre. Cresswell Hill, Dumfries DG1 2DT
• Staff Consultation, 1pm – 3pm, The Willows Meeting Room, The Willows, Glencaple Road, Dumfries DG1 4TG

3rd March –
• Families, Public and Staff Consultation, 11am-1pm, 2pm – 4pm and 5pm – 7pm, St. John’s Meeting Room, Galloway Hospital, Dalrymple Street, Stranraer, DG9 7DQ)

10th March –
• Families, Carers and Public Consultation, 10am – 12 noon and 5pm – 7pm venue Cresswell and Larchfield Community Centre, Cresswell Hill, Dumfries DG1 2DT
• Staff Consultation, 1pm – 3pm, The Willows Meeting room, The Willows, Glencaple Road, Dumfries DG1 4TG

17th March –
• Families, Carers, Public and Staff Consultation, 10am -7pm, venue the McMillan Hall, Dumfries and Galloway DG8 6EQ.

26th March –
• Families, Carers, Public and Staff Consultation, 12pm – 2pm and 5pm – 7pm, Lockerbie Town Hall, Lockerbie, DG11 2ES

Anyone with questions about the arrangements is asked to contact Action for Children via the following means:

Lesley Gordon
07921940276
0131 659 4712
Lesley.Gordon@actionforchildren.org.uk

or

Adam Moffat
07714346588
0131 659 4712
Adam.Moffat@actionforchildren.org.uk

Call for boys to take up new opportunity of HPV vaccination

A VACCINATION programme in schools helping to protect against cancer is being expanded to include boys for the first time.
 
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has been offered to S1 schoolgirls in Scotland since 2008, helping to protect against cervical cancer, and parents are now being asked to ensure permission forms for boys are returned as soon a possible.
 
However, Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Nigel Calvert said: “We’re very pleased to say that, as of this coming Monday March 2, the HPV school vaccination programme is being extended to boys as well as girls.
 
“This programme has been provided free to girls in S1 since 2008, and the aim of the programme is to prevent infection from the Human Papillomavirus because that will prevent cases of many cancers, but in particular cervical cancer.
 
“It was a very expensive vaccine at the time, and it was only offered to girls because that was felt to be the most efficient way to use the money. But now we’re in a position to be able to offer it to boys in S1 as well, so I’m very much hoping that this will also be a success, and that parents of boys in S1 class will ensure forms are returned as soon as possible.”
 
Dr Calvert explains that the vaccinations will help to establish a general immunity to Human Papillomavirus within the region, offering greater protection to both boys and girls.
 
The vaccination programme for girls and boys is set to run in schools across the region throughout March, and forms have already been sent out.
 
Dr Calvert said: “It’s a great opportunity, and a really good way of reducing the numbers of cases of this form of cancer.”
 
To find out more about Human Papillomavirus (HPV), visit the website https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/hpv-vaccine

Baby-friendly is best for NHS Dumfries and Galloway Services

NHS DUMFRIES and Galloway’s Neonatal Services have been awarded a Certificate of Commitment in a first step towards gaining international recognition from the UNICEF UK (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Initiative.

The Certificate was presented to staff by Janet Dalzell, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Professional Officer for Scotland on February 18 2020 in the Neonatal Unit, Women and Children’s Wing, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Infant Feeding Advisor/UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Co-ordinator for Neonatal Services Kay Black said: “We decided to join forces with the Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Neonatal Unit, Women and Children’s Wing, DGRI.

“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Health and Wellbeing Specialist/Maternal and Infant Nutrition Lead/UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Project Lead Veronica King said: “We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mothers might be more interested in hearing that it’s easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.

“We also set out to ensure that all mothers and babies are supported to form a strong loving relationship – whatever their choice of feeding method – as this is the best start for every baby.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards.

Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director Sue Ashmore said: “We are delighted that NHS Dumfries and Galloway Neonatal Services has received this award.

“Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at NHS Dumfries and Galloway Neonatal Services have the satisfaction of knowing that their Neonatal Nurses/Staff Nurses/Healthcare Support Workers are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.”

Hospital care hits the gold standard

A HOSPITAL in the region has achieved the gold standard in the care it delivers to patients.
 
Staff at Annan Cottage Hospital say they are ‘ecstatic’ after being recognised with Gold Level 3 Care Assurance – following a series of unannounced inspections.
 
Carole Shannon is Senior Charge Nurse at the facility on Stapleton Road in Annan, and she said: “Everyone was just absolutely ecstatic when the news came through.
 
“This award is about measuring the quality of care being delivered in Dumfries and Galloway, and it’s really just a fantastic confirmation of the excellent quality of care that we strive to deliver at Annan Cottage Hospital.
 
“It takes a lot of work to deliver that standard of care, and we’re committed to maintain this work in order to provide the best care we possibly can.”
A series of unannounced inspections took place looking at a range of aspects within the hospital’s performance, including food, fluids and nutritional standards as well as pressure ulcer standards.
 
Annan Cottage Hospital had already achieved Bronze and Silver Level 3 Care Assurance, with this latest grade representing the highest possible level of care.
 
Across Dumfries and Galloway, work has taken place to develop ways of measuring performance through a Care Assurance framework – adapting measures which were developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
 
The Excellence in Care framework is a national approach to develop and implement a world class evidence–based, national method to assuring nursing and midwifery care that reflects the ‘Once for Scotland’ ethos. 
 
The approach seeks to improve, integrate and co- ordinate the way nursing and midwifery services are delivered within the Scottish public sector to ensure everyone receives a consistent standard and quality service.
 
Excellence in Care is intended to ensure that people who use services within NHS Scotland can have the confidence that no matter where they are cared for, they will consistently receive high quality nursing care delivered in a compassionate way by confident and competent nurses and midwives.
 
General Manager for Community Health and Social Care Graham Abrines said: “This is a fantastic achievement by the highly committed and conscientious staff at Annan Cottage Hospital, and recognises the exemplary quality of care which they are delivering, day in and day out.
 
“A lot of hard work is required to deliver care at this gold standard level, but the team are determined to ensure that this quality is continued – to the benefit of every patient who visits Annan Cottage Hospital.”

Donations see local Blood Bikes riders receive life-saving jackets

 
GENEROUS donations are helping motorcyclists from the charity Blood Bikes stay safer on the roads – thanks to the purchase of innovative new gear.
 
The small army of riders in Dumfries and Galloway who give up their time transporting blood and test materials have become the very first team in the whole of the UK to be kitted out with potentially life-saving jackets which automatically inflate if the motorcyclist comes off their bike.
 
Dave Hook is chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes, and he said: “These jackets are truly extraordinary pieces of kit, and an extremely welcome addition locally.
 
“Every day we have teams of motorcyclists carrying out really vital work transporting supplies of blood as well as materials for testing, and this takes them the length and breadth of the country. This is all done by unpaid Volunteers who donate their time to make a difference to our region.”
 
“Thanks to extremely generous conditions and the support of a manufacturer, we’re now in a position to kit out our riders with these jackets which may prove truly life-saving if the worst should happen.”
 
Dave says it was a crash involving a local rider on a ride out with a member of the group which prompted the move to acquire the inflatable jackets.
 
He said: “A rider came off their bike at a relatively low speed. He went over the top of his bike.
 
“The consequence was that he received life changing injuries. He’s made a recovery, but that incident did highlight to the trustees that we needed to look more at safety for our volunteers. We picked up the ball, and looked to see how we could ensure every one of our riders had the very best protection.”
 
Helite manufacture body worn inflatable airbag protection jackets and supply through Airvest in the UK, who are supporting Blood Bikes charities throughout the UK. However, Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes are the first in the UK to supply all riders with air vests and crash helmets with comms kits.
  
Four vests were paid for by Moffat Hospital League of Friends, and more than 40 vests were funded through money provided by Dumfries Hospitals League of Friends. Other contributions have helped to kit out all the riders. The helmets are funded through the Dumfries and Galloway Community Safety Fund.
 
A spokesman for the company Airvest said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes in the important work they carry out within the region and throughout the UK.
 
“We hope that the Airvests we’ve provided will help to ensure the safety of those riders as they take to the roads, and provide them with greater confidence as they carry out this work.”
 
In the case of an accident, the Airvest protects the thorax and spine from direct impact, and supports the base of the helmet preventing neck injury by limiting hyeprflexion and extension. The jacket remains inflated for seven minutes, holding the rider in a safe position.
 
Dr Peter Armstrong is a consultant in Emergency Medicine with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and he said: “We’re no strangers to the sometimes very serious injuries that can be experienced by motorcyclists.
 
“Ensuring you take every possible precaution such as wearing proper protective clothing is going to be very important in ensuring the best outcome if things go wrong. Of course, we would always advise motorcyclists to take great care when out in the roads, and give full consideration to the conditions.”
 
In addition to the inflatable jackets, Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes are also celebrating the addition of two new bikes to their fleet – thanks to the support of local supermarkets.
 
One of the bikes has been paid for solely by Morrisons while the other has been partially funded by Tesco and Insured by McCowans of Dalbeattie. The two bikes have been named Frances and Myra. Frances McCowan sadly died and donated funds to insure a bike and Myra is the Community Champion for Morrisons and has supported DGBB through the Morrisons Foundation since DGBB started.
 
Dave Hook said: “We can’t thank Morrisons, McCowans and Tesco enough for their generosity.
 
“We also owe a massive debt to those organisations which funded the purchase of the Airvests, and to everyone who has and continues to support the work of Blood Bikes in Dumfries and Galloway.
 
“I think I speak for all our riders when I say that we’re immensely proud of what we’re able to do to help NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and to be given such support from the community is just amazing.”