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14 January 2022

Covid update - 14 January


Isolation period cut in England

The isolation period for people who test positive for Covid will be cut to five full days in England from 17 January. An asymptomatic person who records two negative lateral flow tests on days five and six may return to work on day six, following five full days of isolation.
The College is seeking confirmation from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that this policy change applies to healthcare workers and will update its Covid guidance as soon as possible. We will alert FODO members when this happens.
Free PPE extended for another year in England
DHSC has announced that free PPE via the DHSC PPE Portal will continue until March 2023, following a consultation last October.
OFNC, of which FODO is a member, had argued strongly for this to happen during the consultation and again in December.
NHS England Primary care sickness absence tracker
NHS England has improved the COVID-19 staff absence tracker to assist NHS organisations (including primary care contractors) in managing their COVID-19 related staff absence
NHS England is encouraging primary care contractors who have an NHS email log-in to use the tracker so it can form an overall picture of primary care absences.
This is not mandatory and GOS contractors are already required to notify their NHS England regional team if they need to close or cease proving GOS for any prolonged period.  
However, for those who wish to participate and use this tool, NHS England advises that "Community Pharmacies, Dental Practices and Opticians should select their NHS England and Improvement Region in the 'NHS Organisation' field.  Typing 'REGION' in the 'NHS Organisation' field will make it quicker and easier to locate your region from the drop-down list. You can then select your Pharmacy, Dental practice or Optician location in the 'NHS Site' field".  How to use tracker
Booster jabs for pregnant women
DHSC has launched a second campaign urging pregnant women to get their Covid booster to protect themselves and their babies.
NHS Covid surge deal with independent sector in England

Local hospitals can quickly activate surge capacity in the independent sector under a new three-month nationwide deal in England. It means 10 independent providers will put their staff and facilities on standby if Omicron leads to unsustainable levels of hospitalisations or staff absences. 

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