Personal Assistants as ‘Key Workers’

PA eligibility for vaccinations

Disability North (together with other organisations) have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) about PA eligibility for vaccinations.

PAs are frontline health and social care workers and should be included in phase 1 of the vaccine rollout and cohort number 2 on the priority list. This has been confirmed by DHSC and NHS.

Standard Operating Procedures for the roll out of the vaccine health and social care workers were published on 14th January. This sets out responsibilities and processes that Local Authorities need to follow to ensure that the PA workforce are able to receive the vaccine.

Many Local Authorities have now contacted their Direct Payment employers and are beginning to offer slots for PAs to receive their vaccinations.

Slots have now been released for PAs to receive the vaccine in the Newcastle area. Please contact us on 0191 2840480 or LynneWaggott@disabilitynorth.org.uk for further information on how to offer your PA the vaccine.

Key workers

The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed that Personal Assistants (PAs) are included in the definition of ‘key workers’.

Many employers have asked how PAs can demonstrate that they are ‘key workers’, as they may not have identity badges in the same way that Care Agency Workers, Social Workers and NHS Staff do.

If your PA’s status is being challenged, our Direct Payments Advisors can provide a letter that your PA can use to confirm that they are defined as a ‘key worker’. Please email our Direct Payments team at directpayments@disabilitynorth.org.uk or call 0191 2840480 to leave a message and one of our Advisors will get back to you.

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 (PAs), across both health and social care, who meet the criteria.

More detailed information on the types of workers who may now be eligible for testing can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-get-tested

  • All PAs are now able to receive a test, symptomatic or asymptomatic – as essential, frontline workers. The test is most effective in the first three days of infection (but can still be effective up to five days). So PAs who are symptomatic, should get tested as soon as possible and any PA who is asymptomatic (but thinks they may have been exposed recently) can also now access testing.
  • PAs can either self-register, or be referred by their employer, with availability for both home-delivered tests, and drive-through testing.
  • All patients in the NHS, and residents in care homes can now access tests, symptomatic or asymptomatic. It has also been agreed that ‘patients’ extends to individuals with personal health budgets in place. Therefore, any personal health budget holders with concerns that they may have Covid-19 / been exposed to Covid-19, can now access these tests (via self-referral).

Further information on this process is provided within this PowerPoint: Covid 19- Testing for personal care assistants

If you have any queries on this process, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care on opshub@dhsc.gov.uk.

Please note: PAs need to be able to drive and have access to a car or have a member of their household who can drive them to the test centre.