Pledge for infection control training in all South Tyneside care homes before end of May
North East health bosses have identified problems with prevention in some facilities, as well as other issues linked to coronavirus.
But a scheme to help staff at the borough’s homes to try and limit the spread of COVID-19 is now expected to be finished by Friday, May 29.
“It’s obviously has been a very busy time for them,” said Jeanette Scott, director of nursing, quality and safety at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“But we have attempted, always, to be very responsive to any needs that they might have, and that’s continuing.
“We’re delivering infection control training to every care home in South Tyneside and by next Friday (May 29) we have a target to have trained every single care home – 100 per cent of homes.”
Scott was speaking at a meeting of the CCG’s governing body, which was held by video conference and broadcast via Youtube.
Figures released on Friday, May 15 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed 57 people have died in South Tyneside’s care homes since the COVID-19 outbreak started.
The confirmed coronavirus death toll across the wider North East’s care homes stands at 782, according to the most recent data.
Minutes from a meeting of the Integrated Care System (ICS) for the North East and Cumbria on April 24 showed regional NHS chiefs had identified ‘issues with understanding of infection prevention and control’ in care homes.
They added many had seen high levels of staff absence due to coronavirus, as well as problems with access to personal protective equipment (PPE) or specialist advice and guidance.
However, Scott added South Tyneside had been ‘quite fortunate’ to maintain access to PPE.
“We’ve managed to keep the supplies going,” she said, “we’ve had good processes in place, we’ve had good mutual aid where it’s been required.
“We have got a hub set up in Sunderland that can support organisations in an extreme emergency when everything else, every other route, has been explored.
“There’s an indication that that might need to continue for a short while yet, so those conversations are ongoing.”