28 March 2020, National

CHP Coronavirus (Covid-19) Response

Covid-19 Response Update  for under tenants

I wrote to you last week to inform you of my decision to ask all CHP staff to work from home in order for us to maintain a full level of service for as long as possible and to avoid the unnecessary risk of transmitting the Coronavirus within or between buildings.  Since then a great deal has happened nationally with extensive advice from HM Government on home working and social distancing which has served to reinforce my view that we made the right decision.

I know there was some concern about our approach in the first few days, but I believe that things have settled down and we have all adjusted to a different way of working.  If you do have any concerns or frustrations, please raise it with me or any senior member of the property team directly rather than taking local staff to task for what was my decision.

My main reason for writing to you is to let you know about some further important decisions we have taken and how they will impact the services we provide to you.

Critical Worker Status

All CHP staff, LIFT Company staff, Hard FM staff, and SoftFM staff are recognised as critical workers playing a vital role in supporting you and the wider NHS locally.  Where individual employers are not able to provide their staff with credentials to confirm that status, I will be making something available that can be used if such workers are challenged by Police or other authorities.  This means that necessary attendance at sites will be able to continue.

Service Levels

Although willing to work normally, all of our service providers must adhere to Government guidance on working and movement and will, over time, be impacted by staff absences.  In the circumstances I have asked LIFT Companies and their suppliers to focus on critical activities to support the safe and effective working of properties which means they will not be undertaking other routine work.  Planned lifecycle works will be postponed and although you will still be able to log other non-critical service requests with helpdesk the jobs will be stored for completion at a later date.

 Cleaning following a possible case of COVID-19

Following the latest NHSE Standard Operating Procedure notice issued 20 March 2020 and review of the PHE interim guidance for Primary Care, we have revised the cleaning standards applied to the rapid deployment cleaning teams where the patient has left the room/area.  This means that cleaners need to use disposable aprons and gloves rather than full PPE.  This approach will relieve some of the pressure on the soft services contractors whilst providing sufficient assurance that the risk of transmission of the virus has been addressed.

Variation Requests

Requests to modify properties are coming in thick and fast and where those requests relate to the Covid-19 response they will be responded to: whether that’s repurposing to accommodate new services or simple jobs such as providing screening at reception desks.  All LIFT Companies have agreed to relax the normal procedures for requests and will expedite without the usual formalities.  When we return to normal operations your usual working environments and practices will be reinstated.

Additional Space Requirements

The need for additional space either to set up dedicated Covid-19 centres, to move other services to free up space elsewhere, or simply to provide a little additional space to manage patients, is quite apparent and we want to support you and the NHS in each area to get what’s needed as quickly as possible.  In the first instance you should speak to your Property Manager or TLM and they will make the necessary arrangement.  They will be using the flexibility of the LIFT Company and our own streamlined process to respond as quickly as possible.

There are a few practical points to note.  In order to free up space for alternative use we will not be taking any further bookings for non-clinical flexible (bookable) space until further notice and will discuss existing bookings with those that have made them.  With space at premium there are likely to be times when there are competing demands for the same space.  Where that occurs we will consult with NHS England Regional Delivery Directors whenever possible and a senior manager will explain the prioritisation decision to all parties.  Finally, we are waiving the normal prerequisites to occupation (i.e. account in good order and agreeing a lease) but it will still be necessary to ask you to sign a simple occupancy agreement so that we can properly manage the space and ensure all safety issues are addressed.

Please do not occupy additional space without first securing the agreement of your Property Manager.

Funding

You may be aware of the emergency procurement policy note that have been issued and CHP will be complying with them.  This means that we will continue to pay all contractors be they LIFTCos or FM providers – this ensures continuity of service for you not just today but also in the future.  As many of you are public bodies or publically funded entities you are expected to do the same and that means paying your rent and service charges as usual.  You can find the guidance using the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0220-supplier-relief-due-to-covid-19.

 On a practical note can I ask that if you currently pay by cheque could you instead use the BACS system, this avoids the need to attend offices to collect remittances and removes the risk of post not being delivered.  Customer services are more than happy to help with details and can be contacted at Tel:0161 509 3350

email: c.services@communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk

 

If you have any queries arising from this, please speak to your Property Manager in the first instance.

Mark Day

Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Chief Executive