Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We have made a list of questions we are most often asked. We will update these regularly.
Question: What are the current restrictions in England from 4 January 2021?
Answer: As of 4 January 2021, there is a national lockdown in England which means you must stay at home unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This means a reason that the government allows. The full list guidance is available here: National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: I was ‘shielding’ during the lockdown in early 2020, do I need to again?
Answer: If you are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19 you should shield again. You will get a letter from the NHS if you are affected by this, and this will be addressed to you. Information about the letter is available here COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: Can I/my personal assistant get a Covid-19 Vaccine?
Answer: The Covid 19 vaccine will be offered from December 2020 in priority order which will be:
- People who live in a care home for older adults and their carers
- People 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- People 75 years of age and over
- People 70 years of age and over and ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ people (you can check if this includes you on the government’s website Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination: advice from the JCVI, 2 December 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) )
- People 65 years of age and over
- People aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- People 60 years of age and over
- People 55 years of age and over
- People 50 years of age and over
As of 2 December 2020
The NHS will contact you when it is your turn for a vaccine if you will be offered one. It is important not to contact the NHS to ask for one before then.
How and where vaccines will be offered is not confirmed yet, but you can get further information from the NHS website here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Question: Can I get a Coronavirus antibody test for my Personal Assistant (PA) ?
Answer: Anyone who works in social care can get an antibody test. The antibody test will tell you if you if you have had Coronavirus/Covid-19 before, but this does not mean that you will definitely be protected from in future.
Your PA can find out how to get a test here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests
Question: What is a ‘support bubble’?
Answer: A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
You can find more information about making a support bubble here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household
Question: What is the latest guidance for people who get a Direct Payment?
Answer: The latest guidance (September 2020) and easy read version is available here:
Question: I am worried about the new rules that I will have to wear a face covering in shops. I would find this very difficult, what should I do?
Answer: The government has announced that from 24 July 2020 people will need to wear a face covering in shops, in the same way as they do on public transport unless they are not able to do so because of a disability or health condition.
The guidance makes it very clear that you do not have to wear a face covering if your disability or health condition makes it difficult for you to.
There is also guidance on what to do if other people wearing masks makes it difficult for you to understand what is being said.
The full guidance is available here
Question: I have a disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask, but I’ve heard that I have to wear one to use public transport, is this true?
Answer: No. If you have a disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask you do not have to wear one. There is guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#exemptions-face-coverings
Question: Can I get a Coronavirus/Covid-19 test for me and/or my personal assistant?
Answer: Yes, if you or your personal assistant has the symptoms below you can get a test. Symptoms are:
-A high temperature. Feeling hot, you do not need to take your temperature
– A new, continuous cough. Coughing a lot for more than an hour
– If you feel you have lost your sense of taste or smell, or your sense of taste or smell has changed
To get a test for your personal assistant (and anyone they live with) they will need to use the government’s self referral portal for essential workers https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#how-to-arrange-a-test
To get a test for yourself, you will need to use the NHS website www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
If you can’t use the website you can use the new NHS phone service to arrange a test by calling 119.
Question : What if my Personal Assistant is off sick and cannot get a sick note?
Answer: Please write down the dates your personal assistant was off sick and let your payroll provider know these dates by email. Your Personal Assistant can give you a sick note at a later date. Please keep the sick note with your Direct Payment records.
If your Personal Assistant is self- isolating because of coronavirus symptoms they do not need a sick note and will get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as normal.
Question: Can I get Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for my Personal Assistant?
If you or anyone one who lives with you has symptoms of coronavirus this can be provided free of charge. If your Personal Assistant normally gets PPE to support you, this should continue.
If your direct payment contains funding to purchase PPE for your Personal Assistant, you should continue to use that funding to purchase PPE.
If you live in Lancashire there is a supply of PPE available at the office of our partner, Disability Equality North West. You can contact them by email at [email protected]
If you live in Cheshire, please contact your Arrangement of Care and Support Adviser at Disability Positive who will be able to help you.
If you live in Bolton, we will update details as soon as we can.
. There is also government guidance if you receive a direct payment available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-people-receiving-direct-payments
Our services during the coronavirus outbreak
We are here to help, so please let us know if you are struggling. We will do our best to help you.
During the new national lockdown in November 2020 all of our services will be working in the same way as they were during October 2020, and we will update this page if anything changes.
Please call us on 01606 331 853 if you need any support.
Community engagement activities including Good Company, Buzz Group will run weekly calls by Zoom.
We are planning to run some small social distanced in person activities in November if we can.
We are doing wellbeing checks with all of our customers, to check that you are ok and if you need anything.
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 or coronavirus is a new illness that has infected many people around the world.
An easy read guide to coronavirus is available here, produced by Inclusion North
If you have it, you may have a fever (high temperature) and a cough. You may also loose your sense of smell and taste. Sometimes this can get worse and become severe pneumonia (a chest infection) which can make it difficult to breathe.
If you have a long term health condition, are older, or have a weakened immune system, coronavirus can be much more serious.
If you think you have the symptoms (the signs of having coronavirus) you should use the NHS website or call 111. The website will ask about your symptoms and you may be asked to go for a test. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Do not contact your GP unless you are not well.
Below are links to general advice and information
These links are to information or support not managed by Disability Positive but may be useful:
- Coronavirus overview – nhs.uk website
- National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Coronavirus Vaccines – nhs.uk website
- Postcode checker for Covid alert levels in England – GOV.uk website
- Guidance on Covid-19 for people who receive a Direct Payment GOV.UK website
- Frequently Asked Questions for people who employ a Personal Assistant -Skills for Care website
- How to make a ‘support bubble’ with another household – GOV.uk website
- Easy read guide to coronavirus
- Coronavirus: NHS Advice – nhs.uk website
- NHS Coronavirus 111 Service
- Coronavirus: latest information and advice – GOV.UK website
- Cheshire West and Chester Council Coronavirus information
- Cheshire West and Chester Council FAQs on Coronavirus
- Live Well Cheshire West and Chester – advice and information
- Cheshire East Council Coronavirus Information
- Lancashire County Council Coronavirus Information
- Bolton Council Coronavirus Information
- Government advice on Coronavirus for supporting living and home care gov.uk website
- Advice on Coronavirus for carers from Carers UK
- Facebook support group ‘The Bunker’. This is a support group for disabled people who are self isolating and employ a personal assistant.
- Disability Rights UK
The new lock down restrictions start midnight tonight until the 2nd December 2020. Here’s what we should and shouldn’t do.
The Government’s Coronavirus alert post code checker is now live! Enter the postcode of the place you want to find information about. For example where you live, work, or visit. Each area has a Local COVID Alert Level. There are 3…
Know your support bubble! As Cheshire has been rated as being on High alert due to the level of the ‘R’ rating, the councils have listed the following restrictions: ℹ️ People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household…
COVID-19 antibody testing is now available across England for personal assistants who provide support to an adult. An antibody test will tell you if you’ve previously had the virus. If you’re in England you can only register for a test…
Mencap Charity have created an easy read guide for people with learning disabilities on understanding and using the NHS Covid-19 App recently published. Click here for the easy read Covid-19 App guide Mencap also have up to date easy read…
As children have now returned to school you may have concerns or questions with regards to their safety and what you/your child can expect. Livewell (Cheshire West and Chester Council) have a dedicated web page containing information for parents and…
We need you!Our AGM is open to all our members, and if you are not a member yet, there is still time to sign up here Wednesday 30th September6.30 – 8.30pmVia Zoom We want to know:What matters to you?What would…
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of Covid19 you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician from the onset of the pandemic. You were described as ‘shielding’.…
Groups that support carers in west Cheshire are coming together to ask, ‘What’s it like to be an unpaid carer in 2020?’ This year, because of Coronavirus, people across the area are continuing to face new challenges and carers are…
The UK Chief Medical Officers have increased the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days if you have tested positive for the Coronavirus.Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with COVID-19 who are mildly ill and are…
27th July 2020 Disabled people’s led organisations from across England, including Disability Positive, have written to the Prime Minister highlighting the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis on the lives of disabled people. Two thirds of all deaths so far…
The UK government has issued an official face mask ‘exemption card‘ for people living with disabilities or long term conditions.
Disability Positive CEO said: “I’m delighted that the guidance makes clear that if wearing a face covering is difficult because of disability, health condition or communication issues, then you do not have to wear one”
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes: young children under the age of 11not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a…
The majority of children currently considered ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ to the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be able to be removed from the shielded patient list. Evidence from paediatric clinicians shows COVID-19 poses a low risk to children and young…
Millions of people shielding from coronavirus (COVID-19) will be advised they can spend more time outside their homes from Monday 6th July. Advisory guidance is to be eased for 2.2 million people who were classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to…
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that…
Millions of people shielding from coronavirus (COVID-19) will be advised they can spend more time outside their homes from Monday 6 July, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced. From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather…
We know not all disabilities are visible, and those who live with Crohns disease, (IBS) Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colitis type conditions are advised that if they brave the high street it would be best if they check that the…
Passengers who don’t follow the new rules on face coverings will not be allowed to travel on public transport. It remains clear that people should continue to avoid taking public transport (bus, taxi, aeroplane, ferry etc) where possible. By mandating…
From Saturday 13th June people in England, living alone, can have a support bubble with one other household, as part of the government’s latest efforts to address the challenges during the coronavirus lockdown. Single adult households in England, including single…
Guidance is for people, including children, who are clinically extremely vulnerable to the affects of Coronavirus plus their family, friends and carers. They should have received a letter advising them to shield or have been told by their GP or hospital clinician.…
If you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, here’s what will happen:➡️ You will be alerted by text, email or phone if you’re at risk➡️ If contacted, you MUST self-isolate for 14 daysLearn more via UK Government…
The latest regarding the NHS Test and Trace service is that some people will be asked to self-isolate if they’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case. You must then complete the full 14 day self-isolation… ⚠️BEWARE of scammers…
There have been some temporary changes to DBS ID checking guidelines which may be useful for Individual Employers and Personal Health Budget holders.Please click on the link here for full information.
The NHS are concerned that people are not visiting their GP or attending hospital appointments because they are worried about #covid19. Photosymbols were asked by the NHS to create a poster to ensure everyone understands that the NHS know how to keep…
If you’re a key worker who is self-isolating (not able to leave home), you can now apply for you and your household to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).If your test result is positive, or someone you live with tests positive,…
IPSEA have updated their FAQs on how school closures have, and continue to affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.Follow this link for full details.
The Coronavirus National Testing Programme has now expanded capacity to test other frontline workers who are having to self-isolate due to having coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of their household has symptoms. This expansion includes all personal care assistants…
This guidance is aimed at people who receive support via Direct Payments through personal budgets and personal health budgets, and local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and providers who support and deliver care via direct payments. It sets out key…