Coronavirus (COVID-19): reopening day centres for adults - letter from Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Letter from Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, issued today regarding the reopening of day centres for adults.

Day services for adults

I am writing further to my letter of 3 August which stated that day centres for adults could reopen with local agreement. Subsequent guidance to support the safe re-opening and delivery of building-based day services for adults was published on 31 August.

That letter and the associated guidance highlighted the value of these services to individuals with support needs and their unpaid carers. I would like to reiterate the importance to people who need daytime support and their families and unpaid carers of having appropriate levels of support available at the times they need it – for their resilience and wellbeing. This is particularly the case heading into the winter months, with so many day services having remained closed for a long period. It is therefore important for HSCPs to continue to work together with providers and the people who use their services to assess these continuing needs and meet them in the most appropriate way.

I recognise that risk-assessments and decisions on re-opening of services will be balancing the public health need to keep people safe from infection with the benefits for supported people and carers outlined above.

The guidance therefore notes the need for these decisions to be made locally and on a multidisciplinary basis. Recognising that local areas will have different decision-making structures, the guidance states that, ‘Each local area should agree which multi-disciplinary group has responsibility for signing off risk assessments for individual services and communicate this with services’. Authority for signing off risk assessments is normally delegated by the Director of Public Health. I would encourage them and HSCPs to ensure that such sign-off arrangements are well understood locally.

In particular, communication with providers will be crucial - so that providers are aware of the process for signing off risk assessments for day services and the relevant officials are aware of providers’ plans for re-opening.

The guidance also emphasises that, for those who are unable to access support immediately, alternative provision should be considered and discussed with them. For those eligible for social care support, this would include flexible use of their support plan to meet agreed outcomes, moving to a different Self-directed Support Option.


Jeane Freeman

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