'Solihull pulling together to help each other during Coronavirus pandemic' - Leader - The Solihull Observer

'Solihull pulling together to help each other during Coronavirus pandemic' - Leader

Solihull Editorial 1st May, 2020   0

A message from the leader of Solihull Borough Council

Our care homes and care home staff have been magnificent battling this virus over the past months

Whilst we have stayed at home, to save lives, and have seen a reduction in new community infections, the borough’s care homes have sadly followed the national trend and have seen Covid-19 infections rise.

This week’s reports of a big increase in deaths in care homes have been a stark reminder of the impact of Covid-19, particularly on older people.  I and my colleagues would like to pay tribute to those care home residents who have died of this disease over the last few weeks. We know that older people are very vulnerable to Covid-19, particularly if they have other health conditions and have seen nationally and internationally how quickly it can take hold in care homes.

Providing support to the borough’s care homes to help them to manage this as well as possible continues to be a huge priority for us, working with the NHS and Public Health England (PHE). As a Council, we have stepped in to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where care homes alert us to shortages.

So far 14 homes who have needed emergency supplies have been helped through our local PPE hub. We have also been working with care homes to make sure they know what PPE to use when and how to use this safely to protect staff and residents.

We are receiving daily updates on Covid-19 appearing in the borough’s care homes; PHE provides them with detailed advice on how best to manage any outbreak. In the more complicated situations, our own adult social care team, alongside public health and infection control, provide additional intensive support.

In addition to this, our hospital trust’s Support to Care Homes Team has increased their expert advice available to provide clinical care for patients as well as working alongside local GPs.

As more becomes known about Covid-19, both nationally and internationally, it has become clear that some people may have Covid-19, without showing all the typical symptoms.  In care homes this can make it more difficult to stop the virus spreading to other residents and staff.  This is probably one of the contributory factors for care homes seeing infections rising.

That is why, as the national on-line system goes live, we have booked care staff onto priority testing slots at the drive-through testing centre at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. So far 40 have been tested and more are in the pipeline.

All of this also explains why we are working with PHE, the local NHS and the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, to identify care homes that have not yet had outbreaks, but which might benefit from extra support, to stop Covid-19 getting into the home in the first place.

I do hope this reassures everyone that the borough’s care homes are a particular focus for us, and our health colleagues, during this dreadful pandemic.  We will carry on working to support our homes through daily calls and will do whatever we can to help them.

Many homes have been grateful for the support they have received, not only from the Council, health colleagues and residents’ relatives, but also from their local communities.

At Silver Birches Care Home, Father Hudson’s Care passed on a Sainsbury’s donation of orange juice, Dunelm has donated laundry sacks for care worker’s uniforms, Lush sent the home luxury soaps and Home Sweet Home florists in Tile Cross sent over 100 bouquets of flowers on mothers’ day weekend for the staff and residents.

I want to congratulate and thank all those organisations and individuals who are making donations, giving their time or providing support to care homes; as well as those who are just being good neighbours and looking out for vulnerable people in their community.

It is so heartening to hear that we are still able to think of others, whilst being faced with the exceptional stresses and strains of our own lives. Compassion and selflessness is the way to get through this pandemic.

My last message placed a focus on the support we have been able to offer to our local businesses and how at the Council we are starting to think about planning for an economic recovery. As part of this I’ll be taking part in a webinar with the Solihull Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. I’ll be asking members to help us shape a collective response that will help us get back to work and our economy moving again, when it is safe to do so.

Remember, the 8pm clap for carers each Thursday.  As well as paying tribute to our magnificent NHS, can we also salute our care home workers who are keeping some of our most vulnerable safe and well in very difficult circumstances….and Happy Birthday Tom for yesterday – what a hero!

My wish to you all for good health, happiness and harmony:  stay home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Coun Ian Courts,

Leader, Solihull Borough Council


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