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How we are supporting people through coronavirus

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of people who use our services and our staff who are in many cases more vulnerable to coronavirus.

We have a team of senior managers and clinicians meeting regularly, reviewing guidance and service feedback to help us respond and adapt as things change.

Commissioners and partners will be aware of the local business continuity planning in your areas and can discuss this more with local senior managers.

This is supported by the following national planning points.

Giving support more remotely

We’re delivering most parts of our services remotely so people using our services and staff can reduce travel and contact. This includes increasing care by phone through calls, texts and video so we can give sustained support to people at risk who need to isolate.

In addition, our recent improvements in technology, including Google infrastructure, more digital advice and webchat - means we can connect with people in different ways.

Read our information for people who use our services or are looking for support.

Many more of our staff are now working from home to continue appointments by phone or video. We’re giving staff support on using more technology, developing individual or group therapeutic relationships online, and on ways to keep people engaged when you can’t meet in person.

All staff can access case management systems from home and are following data protection, safeguarding and security policies.

We plan to grow advice on our website around harm reduction and isolation and scale our number of web chats as part of our growing digital pipeline to give people more options throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Our prescribing services and clinical services

Where we have prescribing services we’re working to limit the impact of coronavirus on people’s prescriptions.

Where we need to maintain some physical spaces - for example for prescribing or needle exchange - we’re putting in place measures to reduce contact between service users and staff.

We’re encouraging service users who are isolating to make sure someone else can pick up their prescriptions and we are supporting them with regular contact by telephone.

We’re also reviewing medication pick up regimes to support clients who are vulnerable to coronavirus and who need to socially distance.

We’re supporting our services and pharmacies to continue to provide needles and syringes and have assurance from our suppliers that there will be a continuing supply of injecting equipment.

We’re working with other treatment providers to make sure everyone has access to the medications they need, and are linking in with PHE and the DHSC to make sure that the needs of the sector are heard and supported.

The wellbeing of staff, volunteers and recovery champions

Our staff teams are responding with enthusiasm and dedication to keep service users supported throughout this period.

We’re working to make sure staff are not financially impacted by the outbreak wherever possible, offering flexibility to parents where needed, for example with mix-and-match choices around flexible working, paid carer’s leave and paid sick leave.

Other staff benefits such as our telephone counselling service and salary sacrifice schemes remain in place.

Managers and teams will be staying in touch remotely. As a vital group connected to services we are maintaining contact with volunteers and recovery champions and drawing on their support throughout this period.

We’re developing additional bespoke training and resources around mental wellbeing, isolation, anxiety and home working to help sustain the wellbeing of our staff.