The council is calling on its wider workforce in non-critical services across highways, planning, and back-office jobs to volunteer to step into social care roles should they be needed to help keep people safe and well as Omicron continues to spread.
North Yorkshire’s partner agencies which form the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum - the county and district councils, the NHS and emergency responders agencies - are all involved in surge planning as Omicron disrupts services with increasing numbers of the workforce infected.
They say that Health and Adult Services have stepped up emergency planning to manage significantly reduced staffing levels across critical care services and the wider care sector.
Staff have been reorganised into different roles, taken on different duties and worked extra hours over the holiday period and into the New Year.
However, the council is now calling on its wider workforce in non-critical services across highways, planning, and back-office jobs to volunteer to step into social care roles should they be needed to help keep people safe and well as Omicron continues to spread and reduce staffing levels further.
Richard Flinton, who chairs NYLRF said:
“We believe putting our workforce on an emergency footing in this way is vital to ensuring our partners in the NHS can function, enabling patients to be discharged from hospital into care settings as needed and freeing up beds for people waiting to be admitted.
These emergency plans will only be used if needed but will hopefully provide sufficient volunteers to get us through the Omicron wave which may see as much as a 40% reduction in available care staff due to illness or self-isolation.
Staff would be deployed in such circumstances on a range of different duties supporting care delivery in our elderly person’s homes and extra care settings to free up care colleagues to deliver direct care.
So we are looking for colleagues to help with roles such as cooking, cleaning, helping people eat and drink and social activities/interaction, including helping people stay in touch with families virtually or answering telephone calls.
We are providing training and support as needed and will match new duties to normal working patterns."