Last updated: 23rd September 2020
Following the announcement of additional COVID-19 related restrictions in many areas, we have re-enacted our standard operating procedures for local outbreaks, including the implementation of our exceptional visiting protocol. This means that all visits to services within the affected areas are now suspended, apart from those falling within a number of specific circumstances.
If you believe the service supporting your loved one may be affected by these restrictions, please contact the site directly to discuss the local arrangements being put in place.
Message from our Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
As the COVID-19 position continues to evolve, our teams remain focused on implementation of the latest guidance across all our services to ensure we provide the best possible care to the individuals we are supporting. Further to my previous update, I can confirm that our pandemic plans are fully operational and are subject to daily review to ensure their ongoing effectiveness.
24/7 operational leadership arrangements are in place and all services and colleagues have access to a dedicated helpline for any queries or requests for support. We are working to the latest national infection prevention and control guidance, alongside local restrictions to manage local outbreaks as determined by the Government and local authorities. We continue to work to the standards and requirements relating to COVID-19 through our pandemic management arrangements, including our monitoring and provision of the appropriate PPE. All of our young people have access to testing as do our staff.
Our teams are in regular contact with key commissioners and are following national guidance related to the provision of information, including nationally-required reporting. On this basis, I regret that we’re unable to respond to requests for business continuity plans or general preparedness information. Instead, we are directing external stakeholders to the information contained on this webpage, which we continue to update on a regular basis. However, if your query relates to a specific individual placed at one of our services, please contact that location directly using the contact details available on this website and we will do whatever we can to assist.
Group Director of Nursing & Executive Lead for Infection, Prevention and Control
Message from our Chief Operating Officer
During this challenging time, there is a need for us to change working practices in order to keep our children and staff safe. I need you to know that my number one priority is the safety of those children in our schools, children’s homes and fostering service. (I understand that some of the changes to visiting protocols may be upsetting, please be rest assured that we will do all we can to ensure contact takes place, albeit at times using alternative media).
The senior team across our children’s services are committed to supporting our service through this difficult period. Every day we monitor each site to ensure that they have the correct supplies, children are feeling well and various quality aspects. We monitor for government guidance daily and enact it immediately. We have researched and implemented many innovative ways to deliver education in our schools and our children’s homes continue to amaze me with the creative activities they come up with in order to engage children. Our staff are certainly going the extra mile for which I am eternally grateful.
Our education teams at Priory have utilised a wide range of digital platforms, tailored to support the learning styles of our pupils, whilst practicing social distancing. Our schools have remained open throughout and we continue to work with parents and local authorities to support with referrals and placements, for both this academic year and September.
During these difficult times, it is important that we work together to combat this global pandemic. We must ensure that we keep communication lines open and support our children with both their physical and mental health. My team and I will do all we can to ensure that we support each Local Authority, parent, staff member but most importantly our children.
Chief Operating Officer
Priory Education and Children’s Services
Education during this time has had to change under the government recommendations of social distancing, providing onsite learning to vulnerable and key worker children only. With this is mind, our education teams at Priory are utilising a wide range of digital platforms that can be tailored to support the learning styles of our pupils.
Alongside digital learning, there are a wide range of physical work packs being sent out, supported with 1:1 telephone or video conferencing from our teachers. This way we are able to continue providing education to the widest range of needs and abilities. We have updated our safeguarding policy and procedures to support this change of teaching and are confident that we can continue to deliver the highest quality education possible during this time, as well as continuing to safeguard our learners.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Priory Education and Children’s Services as part of the Priory Group, is a component of a multi-nation network of services and supply routes. This gives us a wide array of expertise and resources which have enabled the development of detailed contingency plans during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
By using the experience and systems already aligned through our Priory Healthcare and Adult Care divisions, we have been able to put in place a system of personal protective equipment (PPE) supply. This will give access to all sites of a minimum of 72 hours of supply of all standard PPE set out in the National Infection Control Guidance. This emergency supply will provide enough time for our urgent supply system to engage, which allows for either the provision of PPE from our existing reserves or for supply from partner sites within the near vicinity to be provided.
We have access to supplies through the approved national supplier system with contracts established with a number of the main companies. In addition to this, we have the potential to make use of the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) and Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), which we have not yet needed to test.
There are clear protocols in place for the use of PPE and management escalation systems in place to ensure that any challenges within the system are able to be addressed on a 7 day a week basis.
Information on visiting
We are currently implementing social distancing in our education and childcare settings, as advised by the government. All visits will be screened prior to taking place and prior contact must be made with the service to discuss any visits. Individual services will conduct their own risk assessments around visitors and visiting dependent upon the current presentation of staff and young people.
Our usual practice of receiving and reviewing referrals will continue. We are committed to working closely with Local Authorities and families to ensure that children and young people have access to education and care. Our services have identified support in their regions for things such as staffing, resource, space if required, and key skills, through their continuity plans.
We understand that Local Authorities will continue to require services for individuals whose changing placement requirements may override the restriction of movement set out by the government. For example, this could include children and young people who may be facing a children’s home closure. We will therefore continue to accept and review these referrals on a case-by-case basis.
For those who will require a new placement but the referral is not urgent, please do send these through to us as normal. Due to the ‘stay at home’ agenda we are reviewing alternative ways in which we can offer assessments through Skype and other online communication platforms.
In the event of a child or young person being referred who is self-isolating, or is confirmed as having COVID-19, we will continue to process this request as usual and seek to offer a placement, once they are cleared as fit to move location. Where a decision has been made to admit a child or young person, please be assured that a thorough pre-admission checklist, which will include robust risk assessment, will be completed. This screening and assessment will take into consideration all relevant factors, such as the location the young person is coming from, their current health, potential exposure to COVID-19 and the current status of the Priory service into which they will be moving. All risk assessments will be signed off by a member of the senior leadership team, who are taking every possible step to ensure the continued safety of all young people and staff within Priory Education and Children’s Services.
It is important to us that Priory Education and Children’s Services is able to continue to support you and your service users during this time, and we commit to do all we can to ensure risks are managed and monitored, whilst continuing to facilitate placements, where all parties deem it safe. Discharges are not possible when a young person may be in isolation, we will work in partnership with the Local Authority to ensure support during this time.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Below you will find a helpful list of answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) we have been receiving at Priory Education and Children’s Services, regarding COVID-19.
We will be updating the information on a regular basis, therefore do revisit this website page. If you have any questions or specific placement enquiries, please do get in touch.