I am writing to update you on key issues related to COVID-19 in what
is a quickly changing situation.
I need to advise you that from today onwards you will be asked more
specific questions if you are cancelling a shift as Trusts now
require more detail from us. If you are not prepared to share this
information with the booking officer then ask to speak to me.
Individual Trusts are now beginning to provide more detail about
training, fit mask testing or which wards are going to be caring
for suspected patients. Trust is moving to use wards due to a lack
of induvial side room. This is perfectly normal it’s the same
action which gets taken with other viruses e.g. winter vomiting.
As information is shared with us your booking teams or I will send
this information to you as a nurse who works in that organisation.
We would NEVER withhold information from you.
Below are the following questions/concerns raised with me by those
of you who have spoken to me since COVID-19 became an issue
can I do to protect myself
yourself with the infection control and protection measures where
you are working. The relevant public health organisations are also
updating guidance on a regular basis, you can also access
information from the RCN at https://www.rcn.org.uk/covid-19
The Trusts/Organisation in which you work is all carrying out risk
assessments and putting in place measures to limit the risks
Fit Mask Testing - if you are working in an organisation where the
wearing of FFP3 masks is required then the organisation will need
to assess you. Male nurses may be asked to trim/shave beards
to ensure a good seal of the mask. Clearly religious observances
will need to be checked with your religious leaders. If you are not
passed as FFP3 this will impact on your ability to care for any
patient where FFP3 requirements exist
Make sure you follow good hand hygiene practice
Rest breaks are really important. Fatigue can lead to mistakes and
increase the risk of infection. If you are not being enabled to
take you breaks you must let me know so I can address this with the
I refuse to care for patients with COVID-19
you cannot refuse to care for a patient regardless of their
confirmed or suspected diagnosis unless you have a medical reason
and have been advised by a Doctor or OH service otherwise. If you
think this may be an issue speak to your GP and then advise me so
Trusts can be made aware when you are being booked.
If the required protective equipment for that patient is not
provided then you will need to take immediate advice from the site
Manager or Ward/Dept Manager/Matron and if you are still concerned
call the on-call Senior nurse for ICG Medical Ltd on 07496882532
Will my agency provide the protective
equipment I need to care for a patient who is isolated due to
protective equipment will need to be provided by the organisation
you are working in as this will meet their Infection Control
Policy. The Trust will also provide Fit Mask Testing for those
agency nurses who are required to care for patients with a positive
COVID-19 diagnosis. These will be predominately A&E, ITU and
Respiratory/specialist areas, but you will be advised as we are
I be paid extra for caring for COVID-19 patients
are not increasing the sums paid to agencies for caring for
do I self-isolate and who do I tell at my agency?
need only to self-isolate when you are advised to do so by the NHS
111 service in England, NHS24 in Scotland and in Northern Ireland
by your GP.
If you are advised to self-isolate you must contact the Head of
Nursing for ICG Medical immediately on 07496 882 532 who will then
take the relevant action and give you advice.
If you are required to self-isolate we will notify all the Trusts
you have worked at through an ICG Medical brand in the previous 7
If you are confirmed as being COVID-19 positive we will notify all
the Trusts you have worked at in the last 14 days.
I have to take any special precautions if I am pregnant
is no evidence of increased risk for pregnant women unless you have
an underlying health condition in which case consult your
obstetrician and midwife or speak to NHS 111 service in England,
NHS24 in Scotland and in Northern Ireland your GP
I have to self-isolate will I be paid
will need to address this with your employer who in most cases is
your umbrella organisation. At this time
it is not a mandatory requirement for staff to be paid sick pay
unless they are ill. Currently, the advice from the Govt is it will
be at an employer’s discretion.
can I get financial help and advice if I cannot work?
should speak to your bank/building society who will be able to
advise you of the assistance that they can offer you. Your
Union/RCN can also give advice to you. If you have
any further concerns please do not
hesitate to contact me. Regards Miriam