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Winter pressures information for home support

We provide information and support to aid our home support providers in managing winter pressures. Over the winter months a range of problems can place strains on how we deliver health and social care across the county. Take time to read the following information and bookmark the page.

Winter planning in Norfolk

We work with providers and Norfolk’s three acute hospitals throughout the winter period to ensure our health and social care system works effectively and resiliently through winter.

  • Make sure you are signed up to the Norfolk Keeping People Well at Home blog which we use to provide regular updates to home support providers over Winter.
  • Your first point of contact at the Council for issues relating to discharges and capacity in your service is our Brokerage Service. Please contact with any queries, details of capacity in your service and responding to unmet needs.
  • We understand winter and Bank holidays can bring with them extra pressures on delivering a resilient service. To meet the challenges your workforce may face we have developed a capacity incentive payment to facilitate the prompt commencement of specific packages of care. Download the Fact Sheet for details of eligibility.
  • Follow #norfolkwinter on Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on keeping vulnerable clients healthy and safe, as well as information on severe weather and gritting routes for your workforce. You can also find information on our Norfolk Winter webpages.

Are you prepared for winter?

The following information is intended to support you deliver care and support through the winter months.

Busy periods and bank holidays create pressure and strain on the health and social care system which can result in people failing to get the care they need. This has a detrimental impact on people’s health and is distressing for families and individuals.

We understand the difficulties of operating as a care provider or working as a carer during busy periods. We have identified that paying a premium for picking up new care packages can strengthen the workforce and support resilient services.

How will this work?

We will have designated period this winter and spring (see information under 'Designated periods for capacity incentives') where incentive payments will be offered for promptly commencing new and restarted packages of care for people discharged or transferred from specific care settings. These include mental health, acute and community hospital discharges and transfers of care from short-term block beds, bed-based reablement, NFS, NEAT and out of hospital services.

This is a one-off payment that our social workers can agree with you to facilitate prompt payment. This payment is to support workforce resilience, increase payments to your carers and the delivery of sustainable services through the winter period.

Designated periods for capacity incentives

  • Christmas, New Year, up to and including February half-term - Friday 20 December 2019 – Sunday 23 February 2020
  • April bank holiday - Monday 6 April 2020 – Wednesday 22 April 2020
  • Early May bank holiday - Wednesday 6 May 2020 – Wednesday 13 May 2020
  • Late May bank holiday - Wednesday 20 May 2020 – Wednesday 27 May 2020

Significant pressures on the health system

This may include but not be limited to:

  • Severe weather conditions
  • Unexpected staff absence
  • Market failure

We will notify accredited providers as dates become known. Dates will also be listed at

What sort of care provision will count?

Only care packages for people being discharged from mental health, acute and community hospitals and transfers of care from short-term block beds, bed-based reablement, NFS, NEAT and out of hospital services are eligible for these incentives. They will apply to any new or restarted home support care packages notified and started as outlined under 'How and how much?' below.

How and how much?

  • Home support – single worker packages - commence care within 12hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service) £130 / commence care within 24hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service) £95 / commence care within 24-48hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service) £60
  • Home support – double worker packages - commence care within 12hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service) £195 / commence care within 24hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service)£142.50 / commence care within 24-48hrs* of request (Care Arranging Service) £90

*The time frame used to determine the incentive will be measured from (a) the time the request is made for care with the provider to (b) the care is in place and being delivered. We will use the contractual clauses and processes already in existence to monitor that care is delivered in a timely and high-quality manner.

Who can receive this incentive?

All home support providers on our accredited provider list can receive these payments.

When this will apply?

Capacity incentive payments will apply during the periods indicated under 'Designated periods for capacity incentives' above. We may extend or add to these designated periods if there are severe weather conditions or heightened system pressures over the winter period. These will be announced on our website and communicated to providers via the home support provider blog:

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Right to review: Norfolk County Council reserves the right to review and amend this at any time.

Home support workers can get a free flu vaccination by completing this letter and taking it to a pharmacy or GP surgery that provides the vaccination. We want to see as many social care staff working with vulnerable older people vaccinated as possible. This vaccination is essential to limiting the risk of flu outbreaks, reducing the risk of severe infections with your clients and maintaining a resilient workforce.

Please ask your workforce to complete and take the letter to your local pharmacist or GP for the free flu vaccination. They may also require some proof they are employed as a support worker, providing care for older people.

Independent Age publish free guides on different issues. One which will be helpful to the people you assist over the coming months is their recently updated guide called ‘Winter wise – Ways to look after yourself during the coldest months’. To download a copy of their guide, please click on the link Advice Guide Winter wise.

Age UK also publishes information and advice for dealing with the risks winter can present to people’s health and wellbeing. This can be found on their website

Your clients may also be eligible for a winter fuel payment that would pay between £100 and £300 towards the cost of heating their home. People born on or before 5 November 1953 are eligible, and the deadline for claiming payments for Winter 2018 to 2019 is 31 March 2019.

This winter Norfolk County Council has worked with NHS, District Councils, and Third Sector colleagues to produce a healthy ageing toolkit. This toolkit sets out some practical ways that we can all work together to enable older people to stay safe and well at home this winter. The toolkit is free for anybody to use:

You can really help by thinking about how you can use the toolkit to enable your clients to stay safe and well at home this winter and sharing the toolkit within your organisation to carers connecting with older people in the community.

Healthy ageing is everybody’s responsibility. The connections we make together can change lives.

The Norfolk Resilience Forum is a multi-agency group working to manage risks and plan coordinated responses to emergencies. They can assist your organisation with business continuity assessments and planning. Business continuity is about protecting three main areas of your business:

  • Safeguarding people
  • Safeguarding your assets
  • Safeguarding your processes

Their aim is to make you aware when there is a risk or an emergency and what their planned response would be and also to provide you with information and advice as necessary at the time of an emergency.

The Norfolk Resilience Forum also publishes the Community Risk Register, providing information on hazards that may affect Norfolk.

You know your business best, and through your experiences you know what sort of increased pressures and risks you can expect to encounter over winter in relation to staffing. Now is the time to make sure you are adequately staffed to cover the winter period, and that you have business continuity plans in place in case of any staffing issues. We encourage you to carefully consider your business continuity plans for the following situations:

Staff sickness

  • What would you do if an epidemic sickness hit your staff?
  • How would you still manage to cover all clients who need care?

Staff absence

  • What if a member of staff unexpectedly doesn’t pick up their usual hours over winter?
  • Can you rework the rounds/rotas to cover?
  • Do you have other staff you can call in to cover their shifts?
  • Are you able to build a ‘bank’ of staff prepared to cover additional shifts?

The Norfolk Resilience Forum gives you help and advice on developing and evolving your business continuity plans. You can use their flu pandemic scenario to test your plan and make sure it is up to date. It will help you think about how you could manage your workload with fewer staff, whilst trying to maintain the high standards of care you offer even when you have encountered unexpected trouble over winter.

Our three-hour gritting runs cover approximately 2,200 miles of roads in Norfolk, focusing on commuter and major bus routes and, as far as possible, one route into all villages. Highways England also treat 143 miles of trunk roads including the A11 and A47.

We cannot grit all of Norfolk’s 6,125 mile road network, so when cold weather is forecast please check our map of planned priority gritting routes.

We will update people on our gritting plans via local radio, Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #norfolkwinter.

As we approach winter we’re encouraging you, our home support providers, to look at your business continuity plans and check that they are fit for purpose – including your arrangements for staff travel.

If any of your staff do break down in their cars, particularly at this time of year, do they have the right kit keep them safe and get them back on the road?

It’s recommended that year round car essentials should include:

  • Fully charged mobile phone and in car charger
  • Hi-viz bib
  • Road map – in case of diversions
  • First aid kit
  • Water and non-perishable food
  • Loose change
  • Umbrella or water proof
  • Breakdown service and insurance company contact details
  • Hazard triangle

In winter it is also worth keeping these items in your vehicle:

  • A coat, hat, scarf, gloves and extra warm clothing
  • A spare pair of shoes or boots
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Torch and batteries
  • Extra snacks (chocolate or cereal bars)
  • Extra screenwash

When the forecast is for severe weather and your staff still have to be out, then it’s good to consider packing these items as well:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • A flask of hot drink

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