Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Health and social care

Caring kind connected logoEast Ayrshire Health and Social Care Services (EAHSCP) and local communities all have a key role to play in looking out for each other, containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), keeping ourselves safe, and protecting those most at risk.

We are following the current Scottish Government advice in relation to delivering health and social care services and following national Health Protection Scotland guidance which focuses on safe systems of work. 

All services are being affected and adjustments are being made to allow services and care to continue.

Open with care

Care home visiting arrangements from March 2021 - planned, safe and fair.

Seeing loved ones in care homes during the pandemic needs to be meaningful and safe. With new guidance that supports contact resuming from March, we need to work together to make sure we can achieve this.

Seeing loved ones is vitally important. We all want those connections to resume to benefit residents’ wellbeing. However, we must protect people who choose to live in care homes from what can be the devastating effects of coronavirus.

That is why we are asking visitors to plan their contact with the care home in advance and support the measures it has put in place, including hand hygiene, lateral flow tests and wearing specified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Working together will make sure we can aim for the best experience possible for our care home residents, their families and staff, and that this is done fairly and keeps everyone protected.

To achieve this, we are asking visitors to:

  • work with care homes to agree on two designated visitors and an individual visiting plan
  • arrange meaningful contact in a planned way with the care home – recognising that there may be time constraints to allow for fair access to visiting
  • be prepared to answer coronavirus screening questions
  • practise good hand hygiene using soap and water or hand sanitiser and any other infection prevention action as required (for example: removing jewellery, bare below the elbow)
  • take part in designated visitor testing using a ‘Lateral Flow Test’ kit
  • wear a Type IIR fluid resistant surgical mask and any other PPE as advised by the care home

Seeing our loved ones is important to everyone and East Ayrshire’s care homes are ready to make planned visiting arrangements with you.

With support and understanding we can help keep people safe and protect against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information

Johnnie Walker Bond reception is open

The reception area of The Johnnie Walker Bond, Strand Street, Kilmarnock is open to enable people to access Health and Social Care Services.

Physical distancing arrangements in place and therefore we are limited to welcoming a few people into the reception area at a time.

Where possible, we ask that people phone in advance to make an appointment and anyone wishing to meet with a member of staff should call 01563 554200 before arriving at The Johnnie Walker Bond.

We can confirm that due to physical distancing requirements we are continuing to provide support to individuals by telephone where this is possible.

The waiting area in The Johnnie Walker Bond has been significantly reduced to ensure that physical distancing is adhered to and that members of the public and employees can access this area safely. This means that turning up without an appointment may result in a lengthy wait, some of which may be outside the building.

Masks or face coverings must be worn when entering the building and hand sanitiser will be provided at the entrance.

Our opening hours are Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4pm.

Please note that no other Council services will be provided from The Johnnie Walker Bond. For all other services, please call 01563 554400.

Limited re-opening of Sir Alexander Fleming Centre in Kilmarnock 

Following discussions with parents, carers, service users and care managers, we are currently offering a building-based service to individuals where there is a critical need. The service is currently operating on a one-to-one basis. However, small scale 'bubble' support and a community activity is being introduced.

A limited Housing Support service is possible via a changed registration process. Please call 01563 529549 for more details.

The three day service bases plan to re-open their doors and be back to business on 28 September, however this will be with a reduced capacity to ensure that Scottish Government guidelines are followed.

A limited social work transport service is also available. Please contact the appropriate day centre for possible availability. 

Limited day opportunities at South Riverside Centre available

We are working with the Health and Safety team to reduce the COVID-19 risk for our community members and staff so that we can keep offering support in the safest way. This will continue to be reviewed regularly and as soon as any changes to the Scottish Government Tier system are introduced. Supports which may be available include:

  • Daily centre-based sessions - morning and afternoon
  • Daily walking supports lasting approximately one and a half hours, some over seven days
  • Daily/weekly telephone contact
  • Weekly Zoom sessions
  • Home visits
  • Manager contact with all carers
  • Daily video sessions
  • Daily telephone sessions
  • Daily walking sessions
  • Outdoor access to a gazebo at the centre garden for individuals who prefer to be outdoors to meet their friends (using physical distancing)
  • Organising for friends to meet up in their local areas (complying with physical distancing)
  • Emotional and physical support offered to families
  • Regular shopping support
  • Working with hubs in the community to provide physical distancing support

Our aim is to continue with all of the above activities and to expand the centre-based sessions as and when it is safe to do so. We are also looking into how we can expand the home visits to include people who are shielding.

However, we will be reviewing Scottish Government guidance regularly and may be required to change or stop some of the above activities at short notice. In the event of any changes, we will try to communicate these to anyone who may be affected as soon as possible.

Protecting people contacts

Services to protect and support vulnerable people are available as usual. Please call 01563 554200.

You have the right to be safe and to be protected from harm and abuse. The lockdown does not mean that you cannot leave an abusive situation and get help.

Please get in touch with us if you are worried about your situation or someone else's. Visit our protecting people page for more help and advice.

NHS online help and advice 24/7

Our NHS is still here to help everyone. It is important that you seek help for any other conditions that are not related to  coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can access clinically safe, quality assured resources  on the NHS Inform website 24/7.

By using these self-care services at home, this reduces the pressure on both General Practice and the NHS 24 telephone lines.

Visit the  NHS Inform website for more information, including help on:

Children's health, care and justice services

During this difficult time our priority will be to ensure that we still operate a protection service for our most vulnerable children and adults.

Please see below the measures we are taking to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect, as well as we can, those who use our services and our staff.

Health and social work services

While all venues currently remain open we ask that you do not attend the East Ayrshire HSCP buildings at the Johnnie Walker Bond, Kilmarnock and Rothesay House, Cumnock unless requested to do so. 

All services are currently working with reduced numbers of staff. This means that you may be supported by a worker not previously known to you. Please be assured that all our staff are sensitive to your current challenges and are there to do their best for you and provide the support you need. 

Health visiting and school nursing service

The way services are being delivered has been reviewed. While most appointments will take place within the family home, some may now be carried out via telephone assessment or Attend Anywhere. You will be contacted before any home visits and asked some questions around the potential exposure your family may have had to COVID-19 so that appropriate arrangements can be made to protect yourselves and our staff.

If families have any concerns about their child's wellbeing and need to speak to a Health Visitor they can call 01563 545730.

If your child is school age and you have any concerns about their wellbeing you can phone the School Nurse Hub on 01563 545737.

Justice services

In order to protect against the spread of COVID-19, contact between service users and supervisors within a confined space, such as a vehicle, has been suspended.

Court work is currently continuing but local Courts are aware that the impact of the virus may result in delays in producing reports.

Cared for children services

Arrangements have been made to ensure sufficient staffing within our Children’s Houses. Support arrangements for our carers, including Kinship families, will continue and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. We are creatively exploring how we can use digital technology to manage risk and support our most vulnerable residents.

Face-to-face contacts

To ensure the safety of our children, families and our staff, we will be reducing the number of face-to-face visits unless there is a clear assessed need to make direct contact. We continue to follow government guidance regarding preventative measures, including our professionals self-isolating and being vigilant with their current health symptoms. Our priority is to ensure we still operate a protection service for our most vulnerable children and adults.

Where we may be required to visit children/adults who are either displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have a confirmed diagnosis, we will be taking both appropriate advice from our health and safety team and current public health guidance before undertaking such a visit.

Accessing East Ayrshire children and families and justice social work services

We recommend that you make contact on 01563 554200. This phone line will be covered from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4pm on Friday.

Any families with children under the age of five can contact the Health Visiting phone line on 01563 545730. If you need any advice or support for your school age child, you can call the School Nurse Hub on 01563 545737. These phone lines will be covered from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Ayrshire Urgent Care Service, who operate outwith office hours, are contactable on 0800 328 7758.

Please contact us if you feel your situation is either critical or urgent.

If you are unwell or displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, the latest guidance, including physical distancing and stay at home advice can be found on the  NHS Inform website.

Community health

Better health hub

Do you need help, information or support on health matters for yourself or others?

The Health Improvement Team have information which will be of use to individuals, communities and partners who are concerned about their ability to stay healthy during this COVID-19 outbreak. Anyone needing support should visit the NHS Ayrshire and Arran website.

In addition, the Better Health Hub runs a telephone service on:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am-4pm
  • Thursday from 10am to 12 noon 

Please contact the service on 07584 174428 or email: AA-UHB.BetterHealthHub@nhs.net

They are happy to ring callers back if there are worries about mobile phone charges. Further information can also be found on the NHS Inform website

Community health and care – older people's services

We are working hard to ensure services continue to operate whilst adhering to current health and safety guidelines and continue to prioritise the most vulnerable in our communities. We are experiencing some delays but will continue to communicate with you to keep you updated. Please do not hesitate to get in touch should your needs become more urgent.

Day services

We regret to advise that our day care services for Older People's Services closed on Friday 20 March at the James Boswell Centre, Auchinleck and Rosebank, Kilmarnock and will remain closed until further notice. We are, however, working with families to ensure their needs continue to be met and offer alternative supports.

We have carefully reviewed Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland advice in relation to the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 and the needs of people who receive services from Day Services. This has led us to move to a managed closure of these services to protect vulnerable older people, many with underlying health conditions. This is under constant review and we will be in touch as the situation changes.

Community services

Currently, all services within the community are operational, however this is under daily review based on demand and pressures. Services can be accessed as normal by contacting Community Care – Older People's Services by calling 01563 554200 or emailing  social.work@east-ayrshire.gov.uk. Services will be prioritised on level of need to ensure we practice physical distancing to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and also to protect our most vulnerable within the community.

Protecting you and our staff

All staff are following government guidance to manage the spread of COVID-19 including physical distancing, working from home where appropriate, cleaning and decontaminating appropriately, practising effective hand and respiratory hygiene and using personal protective equipment (PPE) as directed by Health Protection Scotland national guidance.

We are asking all people who come into contact with our staff and services whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19, so that our staff can use appropriate PPE to minimise risk of cross-infection.

Falls and older people

Falling as we get older is quite common. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to stay steady on your feet. Most falls among older people are caused by the interaction of a number of risk factors including weak muscles, poor balance and walking difficulties. Other factors which will increase the risk of a fall are poor eyesight, side effects of medications, getting up too quickly, foot problems, clutter on the floor, being confused, having an infection, being dehydrated or being constipated.

Although not all falls cause serious injury, they can leave us feeling distressed. A fall can also be life changing because as we get older our bones are weaker and more damage can be done. The facts are:

  • One in three people over the age of 65 experiences a fall at least once a year with higher rates among those over 75. Falls are the most common reason for an ambulance being called to an older person
  • Falls represent over half of hospital admissions for accidental injury (approx 18,000) and 6,000 of those are hip fractures
  • Half of those with a hip fracture never regain their former level of function
  • One in five of those with a hip fracture die within three months

Therefore doing what we can to reduce our risk of falling makes sense. See more information on preventing falls.

Further information

Members of the public are advised to take physical distancing measures to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. In particular, this is strongly advised for people aged 70 or over, people with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.

New guidance has also been published on 23 March 2020 specifically for health and care workers, outlining the conditions which place individuals at highest risk of COVID-19 transmission: “Guidance for Health Care Workers with Underlying Health Conditions” Perrow & Evans 2020.

The delivery of all our services will uphold this guidance wherever possible.  

SMART supports

For all Smart Supports telephone enquiries you should continue to phone 01563 503328/01563 503351. Given the current circumstances, staff members can also be contacted at home by phoning 07769 367292.

Alternatively we can be reached by emailing  smartsupports@east-ayrshire.gov.uk  

East Ayrshire foodbanks

Find out the latest information about foodbanks.

Lunch clubs

All lunch clubs in supported accommodation for older people have currently been suspended. A food delivery service is operating with the help of staff and volunteers.

Facing difficulties

If you are facing difficulties which have been made worse by the self-isolation needed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, then please know that help is available. Please contact one of the agencies below – they will listen and help.

Every life matters – suicide prevention

There are many local and national organisations that can help if you feel life is too hard to go on. Please contact:

Visit the Suicide Prevention page on EAHSCP webpage for further information.

Loneliness and isolation

Nearly all of us experience loneliness at different stages of our lives and when we do there are certain things that will help:

  • Tell family and friends about how you are feeling. If you don’t tell anyone, they won’t be able to help you
  • Ask for support – a telephone befriending and contact service is available from Connect Call. Tel: 01563 574000 or email: info@cvoea.co.uk
  • Even the smallest amount of social contact can make a difference to how you feel so reach out to speak to others while maintaining the two metre social distance between you
  • Offering to do things for others makes us feel needed and appreciated and allows a connection to be formed with others
  • Swap telephone numbers with others and phone them regularly for a chat

Debt and money matters

If you live in East Ayrshire and are having money troubles such as being sanctioned, having no access to affordable credit, having difficulty obtaining a bank account or are struggling to budget then we may be able to help. Call freephone 0800 3897750 or visit the  EA Money website.

Visit our financial help page for more help and advice.

Advocacy services

Advocacy services can help you make contact with agencies and support you to get what you need and want by giving you a voice. Advocacy services can help you to understand your rights and choices and speak up about what is important to you. Contact them on 01563 574 442 or email  irene@eaas.org.uk

Unpaid carers 

East Ayrshire Carers' Centre is still providing valuable support to all unpaid carers during these very challenging times. The centre provides assistance across all of East Ayrshire and supports young carers aged 5-18, young adult carers aged 19-25 and adult carers aged 26+.

Anyone feeling anxious about the wellbeing of those they are caring for can email  admin@eastayrshirecarers.org.uk or call 01563 571533.

Useful links

Scottish Government

Other links

Contact Information

Council Headquarters
London Road
Kilmarnock
East Ayrshire
KA3 7BU
Contact us online: www.eastayrshi.re/contactus
Save time, do it online: www.our.east-ayrshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01563 554400
Textphone: 01563 576167
24 Hour Emergency Helpline: 0345 724 0000 (local rate)
Health and Social Care Partnership
The Johnnie Walker Bond
15 Strand Street
Kilmarnock
KA1 1HU
Telephone: 01563 554200

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