Letters from Chief Nursing Officer, Cyd Akrill MBE

17th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you following my recent communication in respect of the coronavirus with an update.

We will continue to update you regularly, however, in order to be as efficient as possible we will post all communications onto our website. We have a dedicated page www.springfieldhealthcare.com/coronavirus-updates/ where you will be able to find out all the information that you need. Updates will also be signposted on our Facebook pages.

You will more than likely be aware that the UK has now entered the next phase of their contingency plan which is one of Delay, to try and delay the spread of the virus to enable the country to cope. There are many conflicting pieces of information and advice at the moment, information which changes daily and often lacks detail. By receiving the most relevant and up to date information from the Government, Chief Medical Officer and the Public Health Authorities we, as a senior team, look at the risk, discuss all information, ascertain the risk and agree a plan. The Directors and Board are updated on a regular basis and I discuss the topics daily with the Chief Operating Officer. We want to offer you appropriate reassurance and by giving clear information and direction we aim to reduce some of your anxieties at this very difficult time.

We have now stopped all events in the homes which involve movement through resident communities, and are increasing community based activities for the continued wellbeing of our residents. We have cancelled all non-emergency contractors and have asked each home manager to liaise directly with their local areas to keep monitoring or regulatory visits to a minimum as part of encouraging social distancing. The Care Quality Commission have now stopped all inspections in care homes up and down the country and have reduced the amount of information they request and deadlines to take the pressure off providers over the coming weeks.

There will be many businesses who will have to close for set durations, this will put pressure on them financially and inevitably they will have to make their staff redundant. We are more than happy, subject to the appropriate checks, satisfactory DBS and them being of the right calibre, to employ more colleagues during this period to cover any necessary sickness and absences. We are also training non–care staff in order to meet the shortfall in numbers we are expecting over the coming months.
The teams and I are well aware of our responsibilities and will persevere throughout these difficult and challenging times.

I made the request last week to relatives and friends to ask you not to visit to allow us time to establish a robust contingency plan, identify safer routes in and out of the home and communicate to all as appropriate. I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding, the decrease in visiting has been invaluable. The time has afforded the teams the opportunity to offer certain residents more support, extra personal support for staff and prepare the in depth plans required.

We have now identified routes in each home which reduce the time spent travelling through a community and minimises the risk of infection to residents. We will try whenever possible to facilitate some visits either in a resident’s own room or identified safe area.

Please can I ask you to discuss with the manager of the home prior to visiting to ensure that we can facilitate your visit.
Obviously at the moment making the arrangements for visits is taking more time than usual therefore we will need to limit visits and ask for your full cooperation in this matter. Time is precious at the moment, in the coming weeks we will have a reduced workforce and residents who will have increased needs.

We appreciate we have people in our care who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will continue to balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have loved ones close. People who are nearing the end of their life will always be our priority as will their relatives and I know you will agree with this approach.

All visitors will be asked to wash their hands prior to entering the home to visit their loved ones. We prefer hand washing as opposed to using hand sanitiser, therefore you will be directed to the nearest facilities.

Every person who visits increases the risk to themselves and more importantly the people in our care.
If and when we have any suspected cases or differing advice from the Government we will review the current plan in place. I do expect in the coming weeks we may need to have a complete ban for as short a period of time as needed.

The risk at the present time remains moderate, this unfortunately will change, we will adjust accordingly to meet the demands placed on the homes and colleagues working in them. We must track the activity in other countries and be prepared as per our ongoing contingency plan. Please be assured that we are closely following and complying with the Public Health Authorities to keep residents and colleagues safe.

I would like to thank you all very much for your understanding and support of the homes and my colleagues who will without doubt meet the challenges they face in the coming weeks.

If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer

16th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you, following my recent letters, to offer further information and updates in respect of the coronavirus.

You will be aware the government have moved to the next phase of their plan -the delay phase which basically means we must try to balance the spread of the virus to reduce the impact on the healthcare system so they can better manage.

We continue to take many steps in order to minimise the risks to the people who live in our homes.

All events, which involved movement through resident communities and non -essential visits for example by contractors have been cancelled or postponed.

Our regulators and other authorities have been notified, we continue to monitor advice from the Public Health Authorities and Government websites.

The advice at the moment is any person who is presenting with a persistent cough and or high temperature must self-isolate. We currently have residents who are being cared for in their rooms due to symptoms of concern which I would deem mild symptoms. Unfortunately, unless people are transferred to hospital, they will not be tested routinely for Covid-19 / Coronavirus.

The critical care beds in our hospitals are in short supply and people will be prioritised, the most poorly people will be transferred to hospital, those presenting with mild symptoms will be cared for and monitored in the community.

As expected, and in line with many pieces of advice and evidence I must now ask you not to visit your loved ones or friends who are living in our homes. This decision has not been taken lightly but in view of advice, evidence and my knowledge, this is the right thing to do. We are in unprecedented times, this has been a very difficult decision to make but, in my heart, I feel it is the correct one.

Please in the first instance if you have any queries or concerns could I ask that you speak to the manager or deputy of the home. When we have residents with symptoms who need to self-isolate, we “barrier nurse” them in line with our infection control policy. By reducing visits this also gives colleagues more time which can be devoted to the people in our care.

We appreciate we have people currently who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have their loved ones close. I am very aware how upsetting this could be, we will try to get the balance right and will always be mindful of supporting you and the people in our care.

We have identified a route in each home which does not involve, or reduces the time going through the communal areas, people who are poorly would be in their rooms and again this reduces the risk to others.

In discussion with the manager of the home we can offer an update every few days on the condition or activity of your loved one. We can look at alternative ways to keep in touch for example, phone calls, email or video calls again please discuss this with the manager who will ensure the team are aware and monitor this. I hope this offers you some reassurance. If at any time we are concerned or a person in our care becomes unwell or deteriorates we will of course inform you and arrange for you to visit.

At Springfield we are committed to residents and colleagues, these measures are to protect them and also you who are in the wider community.

We would greatly appreciate your support and cooperation during the coming weeks, we will endeavour to keep you informed on a weekly basis with all measures and updates.

If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,


Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer