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24 March – Morning Update – COVID-19

24th March 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night of more stringent guidance to “Stay at Home”, we know that many of you will be asking questions about how this impacts your families and the important services that you provide. This is also a worrying time for families who may be wanting to access helpful parenting information. The Institute is doing all we can to support the government-led decisions (nationally and locally) by disseminating any guidance as soon as it is published to avoid confusion and mixed messages at this time when clarity is needed.

We have a dedicated COVID-19 section of our website which we are using to provide updates as and when they are received.

Our colleagues at Public Health England and local government are moving at extraordinary pace and scale at this time – we thank and applaud them for all their efforts during the unfolding events of this pandemic.

Following the PM’s announcement last night, the latest advice has been received:

Outline details of priority work is set out in the NHS COVID-19 Prioritisation within Community Health Services published last Friday.  The NHS are currently developing a more detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will be published soon – the NHS are custodians of the SOP as this avoids confusion, retaining a single line of communication.  It is high level covering all community services (under NHS standard contract). PHE expect that common approach will be applied across all services.

PHE are aware that families understandably do not want home visits so it makes sense to prepare advice ahead of the SOP being published.

Viv Bennett, the Chief Nurse at PHE, has given us the following holding advice: “I think that what is clear is that the presumption should be that contacts will be virtual – skype, facetime and failing that phone call.  There will need to be individual assessment of compelling need for face to face contacts and then decisions re PPE”.

The iHV will be supporting this work by developing guidance for health visitors to address questions like, “What makes an effective virtual visit especially for AN breastfeeding support and NBV”.

We share some of the latest Government guidance on our website – both for families and healthcare professionals:

This information is being regularly reviewed and updated.  We will be adding more content regarding supportive resources for parents and carers in the coming days and weeks make this a repository of best advice for families during these difficult times – so bookmark these pages for any further updates. We have waivered our usual restrictions on resources for members and the COVID-19 sections of our website are “free access” to all to support the national response to this pandemic.

We suggest that you also keep a look out on the government COVID-19 update web pages and contact your local commissioner and Director of Public Health who will be coordinating the response to the NHS guidance in your area.