We’re back in lock down as of today and this is a very significant move triggered by a huge rise in Covid-19 cases across the country and in Cornwall. We will get through this but, as before, we must work as one team and do what we can to support each other.

As of today, all our shops, donation centres and our warehouse are closed. Retail staff are on furlough and it’s likely this will be the case until late February or early March. This is extremely tough for them all, especially as they achieved exceptional sales figures in December for which we congratulate them. At present our eBay site remains open.

For non-retail staff, your line manager will be in touch if you’re to be asked to go on furlough to support our charity.

The brighter news is that our two hospices are still busy caring for patients. However, St Julia’s is closed to new admissions at the moment following a number of staff being affected by Covid-19 over the Christmas period. We’re reviewing the situation on a regular basis and hope to be able to accept new admissions on Friday.  In the meantime, we’re pleased to be included as part of the Covid testing process and are able to test all staff and volunteers at the hospices on a weekly basis. Our clinical staff who work closely with patients, are booked in for their first vaccinations and as the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske increase availability, we hope to be able to include others. If you’re offered a vaccine from your GP it’s really important that you accept it.

If you’re a non-clinical staff member or volunteer and you’re concerned you may have Covid symptoms, please contact NHS 111 online here – www.111.nhs.uk  or you can call 111 and talk to a team member.

Our hospice visiting arrangements will be changing as a result of this lock down. We’ll be shortening the visiting period at both hospices to midday to 6pm. We’re also now able to start testing visitors every third day and are giving them a ‘testing passport’ so they have a record of this. If patients are close to dying, we continue to allow families to come in and are supporting this with testing and the provision of suitable PPE.

We would also ask that volunteers keep in touch with departmental managers and Volunteer Services. You’re a vital part of our one team, but we want to ensure you’re not facing any personal risk.  Please also remember that as a volunteer you can access all the latest news and briefings from us via our website and on any device, by clicking on the words ‘Message Board’ in grey at the very top of the homepage.  You just need to enter the password MYaccess. You don’t need to be on a Cornwall Hospice Care computer or have a charity email address to do this.

It’s vital that you work from home if at all possible. Please discuss this with your line manager as we want to ensure you have the right equipment and support to do this and remember, you still need to abide by the guidance to stay safe. What we’ve all learnt over the last nine months is that none of us are immune to the threat this virus poses.  It’s also vital that if you receive a shielding letter you inform your line manager straight away.

Please continue to be vigilant, in work, on breaks and out of working hours. We know that outbreaks can happen anywhere and at any time. This is about being on your guard constantly. Please remember the guidance we shared with you yesterday; If you have to come in to work and you share an office, you must wear a face mask at all times. You must also keep a window open. Good infection control works if we’re consistent. You must:

  • Use any PPE that’s relevant to your job and wear a face mask/covering at all times.
  • Keep socially distanced whenever and wherever you can, whether you’re at work, based in your home or on furlough.
  • Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands because of a lack of facilities, use plenty of hand sanitiser.
  • Clean phones and keyboards regularly, better still clean them every time you use them. Try not to share equipment, such as phones unless the item is cleaned thoroughly between users.

When having a meal or coffee break, keep your mask on as much as possible. Only take it off to eat and drink. If you’re eating in a communal area, stay distanced from others.  It’s also worth sharing this advice with your family and friends – spread the message and not the virus!   This link will take you to the government advice as it stands now in Early January 2021 – CLICK HERE.

We started by saying that we can get through this and we want to repeat this message. You’re a fantastic team and you’ve proved this time and time again over the last nine months. There’s no escaping these are tough times and the threat is very real at the moment, but with the roll out of the vaccine and by following the government guidance we can succeed.

Remember: Hands. Face. Space. Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

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Finally, you’re not alone in this. There’s always someone you can talk to from your line manager, to colleagues, our HR team and us. Doors are open so keep in touch and remember, it’s ok not to be ok.

Take care and please stay safe and we’ll keep you informed of all developments.

Paul, Gina and Graham

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