Open with Care – Moving to and past Level 0 & testing update: 15 July

Open with Care – Improving care home residents’ contact and connection – moving to and past Level 0

As per the First Ministers announcement on Tuesday 13th July, Scotland will move into Level 0 on 19th July.  The recommended relaxations to restrictions at Level 0 within care homes are detailed in the letter below. For those care homes already in level 0 these recommendations can be implemented immediately and those care homes who are moving into level 0 can take effect from Monday 19th July 2021.

Key points are:

  • Care homes are encouraged to increase opportunities for good quality and meaningful contact with a return towards more normalised visiting
  • Physical distancing reduces to 1m indoors and changes outdoors. This applies to visiting and communal activities
  • Day care services operating in care home settings supported to resume.
Improving care home residents' contact and connection - moving to past Level 0 - 15 July 2021

Care Homes – Testing update for staff and visitors

You will no doubt be aware that a letter on testing was issued to adult care homes on Tuesday 13th July, setting out arrangements for increased care home discretion on the location of lateral flow testing (LFD) for family and friends, visitors and for staff.

Key points are:

  • Family/friend care home visitors – discretion to allow LFD testing at home where tests are collected through the community testing route.
  • Care home staff – discretion to allow staff one LFD test per week at home using LFD test kits approved for self-test at home once available
  • All results for visitors and staff should be recorded at Welcome – COVID Testing Portal (

This letter will be uploaded to the following webpage on Friday 16th July: Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care home lateral flow device testing – (

Webinar – Infection Prevention and Control for COVID-19 in Care at Home

A series of webinars has been organised for care at home providers and those that provide paid care in client’s homes. The aim of the webinar is to enhance the confidence and knowledge of paid carers and personal assistants to appropriately apply Infection Prevention Control (IPC) measures within home settings. The webinar will include example scenarios applicable to working within a client’s home and will be an opportunity to focus on the practicalities of applying IPC while carrying out tasks within these environments. The webinars will be led by Specialist Advisor-Infection Prevention & Control within ARHAI and supported by the Scottish Government

The ultimate objective is to ensure all current IPC measures are effectively implemented in Care at Home settings.

These workshops will include a section where participants can raise questions and all questions and answers will be complied and published after the sessions.

We encourage all those working within care at home environments to attend the workshops.

Three sessions will be held on the following dates

27 April 2021 – 14:00-15:30

28 April 2021 – 14:30-16:00

5 May 2021 – 14:30-16:00

We recommend joining the session 5 minutes before the starting time due to there being limited spaces.

Please note, the sessions on 27th and 28th April are being hosted by Scottish Government via Microsoft Teams and therefore spaces are limited and are on a first come, first served basis. You can join by clicking the link. Registration for these sessions is not required.

27th April 14:00-15:30

Join on your computer or mobile app Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only) +44 131 376 2847,,67101228#   United Kingdom, Edinburgh

Phone Conference ID: 671 012 28#

28th April 14:30 – 16:00

Join on your computer or mobile app Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+44 131 376 2847,,58698890#   United Kingdom, Edinburgh

Phone Conference ID: 586 988 90#

The session on 5th May is being hosted by Scottish Care. This webinar will be hosted on Zoom and is open to Scottish Care members and non-members. Registration is required and spaces are limited therefore please register early to avoid missing out.

Registration link:

Once you have registered, you will receive an email invite from Zoom with the details to join this session.

If you come across any issues registering or do not receive an email invite after registering, please contact [email protected].

The session hosted via Zoom will be recorded and it is intended that it will be available for use after the sessions have taken place.

For further guidance on IPC within community care settings can be found: National Infection Prevention and Control Manual: Scottish COVID-19 Community Health and Care Settings Infection Prevention and Control Addendum

Covid-19 National Testing Programme

This week’s Connected Bulletin from NHS is on the Covid-19 National Testing Programme, which might be of interest to members.

This issue includes information on Scotland’s approach to universal testing,
a new helpline to support those implementing testing.


Covid-19 Vaccination Videos

Please see below for video links for ‘What you need to know about COVID vaccination’ in English, Arabic, Bengali, Romanian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Urdu, Polish, Swahili, and BSL. These videos has been produced by NHS Lothian.

These video clips aim to provide information about COVID vaccination and clarify some myths and misconceptions about COVID Vaccines.

English –

Arabic –

Mandarin –

Cantonese –

Romanian –

English –


Polish –

Bengali –

Urdu –

Swahili –

The NHS Lothian team has also produced Self-Isolation & Support and Flu Vaccination videos in different languages. These are available here :

Financial support around Covid-19 testing

The medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) have advised that testing for social care staff should be undertaken in the workplace. MHRA have, however, made an exception for those staff who are dispersed, travel extensively, and do not have a work base or hub. For those staff, testing can be carried out at home. In these cases, employers should confirm the most appropriate location for staff to carry out testing. The Scottish Government meets on a regular basis with the MHRA and any change in advice will be communicated nationally. The Scottish Government adult care at home testing guidance and adult care home visitor testing guidance both contain an overview of testing arrangements for care at home and care home settings.

Scottish Government is keen where possible that staff undertake the test during their working time, including mobile staff who are testing at home. Additional costs incurred by providers as a result of supporting staff to do this (e.g. for mobile staff, backfill for a staff member’s support work or to create time during the core working day) are reasonable additional costs and within scope of the additional funding for the sector for costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff travel to a priority post box or agreed drop-off point to drop off a sample or to collect a testing kit is also recognised as a reasonable additional cost and is within the scope of the additional funding.

Where providers incur other additional administrative costs due to staff testing (e.g. ordering, stocktaking, preparation of kits, distribution, recording data, etc.) these are also recognised as reasonable additional costs and are within the scope of the additional funding for the sector.

Student travel/car sharing arrangements

The Rapid Action Placement Oversight Group (RAPOG) have had a number of queries relating to students and travel/car sharing arrangements while on practice placement experiences.

A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed which cover various aspects relating to supporting, supervising and assessing students in practice, with specific questions addressing travel/car sharing (see questions 14, 15 & 16).

Question 16 specifically answers the common query about healthcare staff who are commuting with students as part their learning experience.

The FAQs can be accessed at:

Flexible Workforce Development Fund – Open University

The Open University in Scotland

 Supporting Small to Medium-sized Enterprises

Many of Scotland’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to upskill or reskill their workforce – now more so than ever before, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Open University’s Business Barometer 2020 report shows that 60% of employers in Scotland continue to struggle to find the skills needed to fill vacant roles.  Some report taking more than 26 months to fill vacancies.

Many have opted to recruit temporary staff.  A very costly, short-term approach, Scottish employers spent £460 million plugging short term skills gaps in 2020.  That’s a 60% increase on the previous year.

“This short-term approach is not just costly, it is also unsustainable, particularly for SMEs,” explains Suzanne McQuade, Business Relationships Manager at The Open University in Scotland.

As Scotland’s largest provider of part-time higher education, with over 50 years’ experience of providing innovative distance learning, The Open University (OU) is uniquely equipped to support SMEs to upskill and reskill their workforce.

The Scottish Government recently announced a new phase of funding to enable SMEs (organisations with less than 250 employees) across Scotland to access training up to the value of £5,000 to support workforce development, to position them to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, to adapt to new ways of working and maximise the opportunities to restart, recover and renew.

A £1 million grant has been awarded to The OU in Scotland as part of the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund 2020-21: Phase 2.

SMEs can choose from a tailored suite of training for their employees, delivered online through the OU’s innovative learning platforms. It is a highly flexible way to access the training organisations need – in the workplace or from home – whilst accommodating operational requirements and optimising business efficiency.

Training options available from The OU focus on Scotland’s national skills priorities:

  • Health & social care
  • Leadership & business
  • Digital & IT
  • Green economy

With a range of selected courses at Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 10 – undergraduate – or SCQF Level 11 – postgraduate – or through industry recognised provision, options include OU short courses, microcredentials and modules.

 Short courses allow you to explore a subject without the time commitment, to help you build a new skillset and offer continued professional development in your career.  Individuals can choose from a range of short courses, including in-demand and transferable professional skills such as project management and finance.

For example, care workers could consider the OU’s very popular management-related short courses, to support aspirations to move into a more senior role, such as the New managers’ toolkit, Developing better teams or Developing your leadership style.  A short course in Improving diabetes management is also available.

Home Managers, deputy care managers or nurses seeking post-registration professional development may wish to consider a microcredential such as Management of uncertainty: leadership, decisions and action.  But what is a microcredential and how could one benefit you?  With a microcredential you can rapidly learn new skills and techniques that you can immediately apply and take back to your workplace.

Microcredentials are university level online programmes that are sector endorsed and designed to help you build professional skills.  They take an average of 10-12 weeks of online study to complete which equates to only 9-12 hours of learning per week.  At the end, you gain academic credit to help you advance your career as a standalone credential and the flexibility to use it towards another qualification later down the line.

Additionally, a selected range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules are available including Managing in a changing world and Making strategy with systems thinking in practice, which offer individuals the opportunity to develop higher level leadership & business and digital & IT skills.

To find out more about how The Open University in Scotland can help your SME to develop a future proof workforce through the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund, please visit

Covid-19 Testing Support Service Helpline

An additional helpline has provided as part of the National Contact Tracing Service to support the infrastructure of Covid-19 testing for the social care sector. This helpline is free for the care home and care at home sectors.

This helpline helps with the management of SARS-CoV-2 (and it’s variants), infection prevention and detection. Incident management in care homes and Care at Home sectors is a Government healthcare priority in order to protect vulnerable individuals, residents, staff, visiting professionals, visitors and the like. The sectors need enduring Covid-19 testing support to mitigate infection risks and in so doing realise national healthcare and societal benefits.

The helpline services will open 08:00 on 01/02/2021.

Members of the care home and care at home sectors may contact the helpline using the phone and/or e-mail

Tel:  0800 008 6587 available 08:00 to 20:00 every day

E-mail: Service not currently live. This is in progress and further communication will be issued once available 


Self Isolation & Support and Flu Vaccination Videos

NHS Lothian has created videos on Understanding Self Isolation and Support and Flu Vaccination in English, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin,  Urdu, Punjabi, Polish, Kurdish and BSL that may be useful to members and their staff members.

Please see below for the relevant links for these videos. 

Understanding Self Isolation and Support Video

Arabic –

Urdu –

Cantonese –

Bengali –

Mandarin –

Polish –

Kurdish –

English –


Flu Vaccination Video


Password: NHS















Polish (GP)