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Coronavirus vaccination update and impact on Adult Social Care Service

Here is a copy of a letter dated 17 January 2022 from Professor Graeme Betts CBE, Corporate Director of Adult Social Care.

Dear Carer

I am writing to update you on the latest position in relation to Covid and the impact that the new Omicron variant is likely to have on the services that Adult Social Care deliver.

As you will have seen in the media, Omicron is less likely to make people seriously ill in most cases than previous variants. However, the infection rate is far greater than any other Covid variant. The rate of infection means that a number of staff have begun to contract Covid and are so unwell they cannot work and have to isolate. Therefore, this is beginning to have an impact on the care support that we are currently providing to the citizens and this position is likely to continue to deteriorate.

Evidence from up and down the country suggests that the number of staff affected by Covid who may be unable to attend work is likely to increase before it levels off. Therefore, we would ask that if you do have family, friends or neighbours who can assist whilst the health and social care system is challenged that you ask them to do so. More information about available support can be found at: https://birmingham.connecttosupport.org/ or www.r2wbirmingham.info/home or by calling 0121 303 1116.

In addition, as you will know, any formal or informal carers are able to access support through the Carers Hub who can be contacted on Tel: 0333 006 9711 or by visiting their website at: https://birminghamcarershub.org.uk.

The priority for Adult Social Care in Birmingham is to ensure that we work alongside our colleagues in the NHS to ensure they are able to treat those citizens who are affected severely by Covid. This will mean us moving our own staffing resources to enable this to happen.

If we have to take urgent decisions to change our service to you or those you care for, we will ensure that you are informed. We will also use social media and the city council website to ensure that this message is clear.

As you will be aware, vaccinations are the most effective way to combat the spread of Covid and the Omicron variant – I would encourage you to ensure you are fully vaccinated unless exempt. If you have not yet had your vaccinations, you can book with your GP or via the national NHS booking system.

There has been a drive to ensure that social care staff are fully vaccinated, and I can assure you that where legislation has been passed, we are ensuring we only allow fully vaccinated staff members who are well to work and provide care to citizens on our behalf.

We are also offering a free taxi service for individuals and families (funded by the NHS) who can’t easily get to a vaccination centre by walking, driving or using public transport for their first, second or a booster jab.

Full details about how to book a taxi are available on the Birmingham.gov.uk website. The service is available till the end of March 2022. The latest government advice on Covid can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and it should be followed.

As always, Adult Social Care support and advice is still available by contacting your local social work team. If you do not know how to do this and need help urgently, please call 0121 303 1234.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones and let’s hope for a brighter 2022.

Yours sincerely

Professor Graeme Betts CBE
Corporate Director
Adult Social Care