Please use the links below to access up-to-date guidance and information pertaining to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
13 March 2020: The CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): NATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR NHS SCOTLAND STAFF statement issued by Scottish Government. This sets out what is now expected of staff, line managers and NHS Scotland employers, in terms of the relevant HR policies, local arrangements, non-essential business and the deployment of staff.
31 January 2020: The (HAI):Guidance for Staff Screening during Healthcare Associated Infection Incidents and Outbreaks published by Scottish Government, including guidance on special/carer leave and deployment of staff.
Particular circumstances will vary Board by Board, and trainees should follow the advice issued by their local NHS Board. However, if you are in need of advice relating to your employment, please contact us, referring to the Placement Board Contacts page.
Health Protection Scotland has published a range of resources and information for practitioners on the COVID-19 response. Always check the HPS website to ensure that any guidance you are using is the latest version.
Members of the public seeking information should be directed to the NHS Inform site.
Preventing infection in common work areas - what to do (@15/03/2020)
The following guidance relates to preventing infection in common work areas. Healthcare professionals should continue to follow 'Infection prevention and control in healthcare settings' guidance, available via the HPS website.
What can we do in the workplace to prevent spread of respiratory infections?
- If you feel symptoms consistent with Coronavirus, however mild, you should self-isolate for 7 days. The most common symptoms are a new continuous cough and/or high temperature.
- You only need to self-isolate if you are experiencing symptoms.
- You do not need to self-isolate even if you have had contact with someone who has tested positive.
- We have set out further steps for staff and line managers in this document.
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wherever possible, avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone
- Cover coughs and sneezes (nose and mouth) with disposable tissues, then dispose of these in the nearest waste bin after use - and then wash your hands
- Ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas is cleaned with warm general purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use
- Avoid leaving food stuffs (e.g. crisps, open sandwiches) exposed and open for communal sharing unless individually wrapped
For the latest on Coronavirus, check the NHS Inform pages.
Please see here for a copy of an update as at 21st February 2020 outlining the New regulations coming into effect on Saturday 22 February 2020.
The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 introduces exemption from charging for the diagnosis and treatment of the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
It is vital that all NHS and healthcare staff understand the change means the NHS in Scotland (as in the rest of the UK), will not be charging overseas patients with suspected Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). NHS Board staff must be clear that any overseas visitors who think they have Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) but do not, will also not be charged to ensure absolutely no one is deterred from getting tested.
For any information related to COVID-19 and your Medical Education & Training please see News & Events on the Scottish Deanery website, please click here.
Members of the public seeking information should be directed to the NHS Inform site.
Information governance is all about how to manage and share information appropriately.
In the current circumstances it could be more harmful not to share health and care information than to share it. While we are waiting for Scottish-specific guidance, the UK Information Commissioner has stated that she cannot envisage a situation where she would take action against a health and care professional clearly trying to deliver care.
The statement covers:
- Mobile Messaging (including What's App)
- Using your own device
You can read the UK Information Commissioner's statement here.
This is a difficult and stressful time for all of us. It's important that we all take steps to look after ourselves and those around us.
Mental health charity Mind has published a guide to taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing, including
- dealing with anxiety
- planning for staying at home
You can read the guide here.
If you want someone to talk to, NES also provides a freephone Employee Assistance Programme (ICAS) with access to a 24-hour, 365 days telephone counselling service:
0800 072 7 072, or visit: www.axabesupported.co.uk and enter:
- username: educationscotland
- password: supported
Please check NHS Inform for up to date guidance on when to self-isolate and for how long, arrangements for return should then be discussed with your line manager and in line with NHS Inform guidance. If there is any uncertainty, Occupational Health guidance may be appropriate. Please find below guidance developed by the Occupational Health community:
assessment for staff return to work after self isolation
Where can I find guidance regarding work that should be undertaken by individuals considered to be at risk of severe COVID-19 illness?
NES has a responsibility to ensure staff health and safety at work. There are two groups of people considered to be at risk of severe COVID-19 illness. A risk assessment has been developed by Occupational Health colleagues which can be carried out by Supervisors/Clinical Leads to assist in assessing and controlling the risks to health specifically for those in these groups. This risk assessment should be undertaken with the member of staff. The risk assessment can be accessed here.
Occupational Health can be contacted on email@example.com if required.
The supply and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a key concern for health and social care staff as we respond to the covid-19 pandemic, and it is essential that all staff are aware of what PPE is available to them and who to contact locally if they need to raise any concerns or issues relating to PPE.
The following guidance outlines what PPE frontline health and social care workers should be wearing in different settings and scenarios. The guidance itself recommends the safest level of PPE to protect health and social care workers and it specifies the type of PPE that should be worn in the various healthcare and social care settings where patients or residents could be cared for.
Health Protection Guidance Scotland website
Direct link to the UK PPE Guidance
While NES is not engaged directly in the provision of clinical services and currently do not have a current requirement for PPE supply, we appreciate that this position might change.
Staff employed by NES but working in clinical placements are advised to raise the concern with their placement Board, this being the position under our existant Employment Responsibilities Agreement.
Please see below guidance to support staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds. We are aware that there is emerging evidence that people from this group may be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Further research and reviews are still underway and we await the result of these. Meanwhile, the health and wellbeing of our health and social care staff is a key priority and we are aware that many BAME staff may be feeling anxious and wish to discuss how best to protect themselves and their families at this difficult time. The below interim guidance is to help you and your placement area by setting out best practice that should be adopted to support BAME staff.
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background staff with underlying health conditions and disabilities, who are over 70, or who are pregnant should be individual risk assessed, and appropriate reasonable or workforce adjustments should be made following a risk assessment.
Individuals who feel they are at risk should contact their placement board for an occupational risk assessment to be arranged. Placement board contact information can be found here https://hub.nes.digital/contact-us/
If you are a Nursing and Midwifery student and feel you are at risk, you should contact Sheila Findlay at firstname.lastname@example.org for an occupational risk assessment to be arranged.
If you are required to quarantine when you arrive in the UK prior to starting in post, please contact your placement board HR in the first instance who will be able to provide you with specific advice based on your circumstances and placement. If you are a GPST working in a general practice placement, please contact the NES HR Trainee Services Team at https://nesdigital.atlassian.net/servicedesk/customer/portal/30. If you are working in a hospital placement, please contact the board where you are working – contact details can be found here: https://hub.nes.digital/contact-us/
Information on quarantine can also be found via the deanery website: https://www.scotlanddeanery.nhs.scot/covid-19/covid-19-faq/travel-quarantine-faqs/
As we continue with the roll out the COVID -19 Vaccination Programme to our frontline employees, our aim is to communicate information that will both assist and support you, during the vaccination programme, as NES continues to work closely with both Placement Boards and General Practices to ensure that you can access the vaccination as easily and timeously as possible.
In response to the roll out of the Vaccination programme you will find below updated guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions which you can refer to should you have a query in relation to your vaccination.
If you would like to access 'MyCohort' please use this link
COVID19 Vaccination – I’ve had my 1st vaccination – what happens next?
I have received my 1st Covd19 vaccination at a Local Board clinic - what happens next?
You will need to contact them to book your 2nd appointment to ensure that you receive your 2nd dose at the appropriate time
NSS Occupational Health Team do not have the ability to book or arrange this for you.
I have received my 1st Covd19 vaccination via the NSS clinic - what happens next?
At your first appointment you will be provided an indicative date for your 2nd appointment to allow you to book your 2nd dose via MyCohort at the appropriate time.
Please note second doses of the vaccine will be timeously rotated in the order in which you received your first vaccine.
What do you need to do if you have been vaccinated via your GP or NHS COVID -19?
If you have received your vaccination through your GP or NHS COVID-19 we ask that you please complete the attached forms so that your Board can understand how many of its workforce has been vaccinated when planning for future clinics and vaccine order requirements.
External Coronavirus 1st Vaccination 2020/2021
External Coronavirus 2nd Vaccination 2020/2021
COVID19 – How do I get a vaccination?
NSS Project Team will email you asking you to make an appointment through MyCohort.
As guided by the Scottish Government, each Board has been required to identify their priority staff groups against the information identified within the Green Book, Chapter 14.
NSS are currently arranging the 1st set of Priority Group clinics from February 2021 and will be issuing emails on this basis. - please wait until you receive your email.
COVID19 – Which vaccine will I receive?
At all NSS Clinics you will be offered the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine
NHS Uk website - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
NHS Inform Website - COVID-19 General Advice
AstraZeneca Website - COVID-19 UK Information
Gov.Uk Website - Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
COVID19 – I am currently on Maternity Leave when can I expect to receive an invitation to be vaccinated?
NSS Occupational Health Team are currently prioritising individuals on Maternity leave based on the date they are due to return to work and review this on a regular basis.
Should you wish to return to work sooner than your intended return date, please speak with your TPD or line manager to arrange for your vaccine to be administered by the placement you are due to return to.
COVID 19 - I have an issue with the system, who do I ask for help?
If your issue is not listed on the FAQ then log a call via the Contact Us on HR Connect.
Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccine
The coronavirus vaccine is strongly recommended in pregnancy. Pregnant women are at increased risk from coronavirus and the vaccination is the best way to protect pregnant women and their babies against the known risks of coronavirus in pregnancy.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that pregnant women are eligible for two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, followed by a booster dose. Having all the recommended doses of the vaccine is important for longer-term protection against coronavirus.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and NHS Inform have other information you may find helpful on Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy.
COVID19 – Where can I access further information
Please follow the link for further information.
DL (2021) 51 provides an update on a change to the asymptomatic Healthcare Worker (HCW) LFD testing policy from twice weekly to daily testing, as well as a move from Innova 25 and Orient Gene 7 test kits to Orient Gene 20 LFD test kits.
This letter also highlights the measures that you should continue to take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, including the new Omicron variant.
As early identification of cases is even more important with the new Omicron variant, it is strongly encouraging for all HCWs to test daily.
On 24 June the Scottish Government issued DL (2022) 21 advising that the series of temporary policies and variations to standard terms and conditions pertaining to COVID had now been removed. This confirms that the majority of the temporary COVID related policies ended on 30th June 2022.
Further to this, COVID Special Leave provisions ended on 31 August 2022. As of 1st September 2022, any trainee absence with COVID related symptoms will be treated in line with all other sick absence. This essentially means that staff who are absent due to COVID related symptoms will move on to contractual sick leave provisions, rather than be treated as special leave.
However, where a trainee receives a positive LFD test result for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, they should not attend work for a minimum of 5 days. In these circumstances, staff will continue to be treated as being on “Special Leave – Covid Positive” i.e. paid in full as if at work.