As we re-open there is a lot more information below.
Further down it is mainly for our drivers but perhaps interesting for you!

Updated 27.07.2020

What will the office volunteer ask me?

1. Name, address and contact telephone no

2. Where do you want to go?

3. Date and time of the appointment.

4. Can you get in and out of a car without any problem?

5. Do you use a wheelchair?    (if NO go to 6 )
                            Will you use your own, and will it fit in a car boot?
                            Will you want one at the Hospital?

6. If your appointment is at a hospital, can you give some idea of how long you expect to be there so that the driver will be prepared.
If is a routine outpatient appointment or a minor procedure then this information will be passed on to the driver. Usually your letter from the hospital will give you an estimate of how long it will take.

It is advisable for you take someone with you (the accompanying person MUST be from the same household to cut the risk down) if you are having a procedure as the driver may not accompany you.

Please don’t delay in arranging your “drive” as there are times when we do run short of available drivers.

Posted 15.3.2020

Protocol for the Chain Office       issued 27.07.2020

  1.  Each Driver and Passenger(s) will be asked if they have any Covid19 symptoms when the booking is made. This will be:

       Have you had a temperature?

       Have you got a persistent dry cough?

       Have you lost your sense of taste or smell?

     The Driver and Passenger(s) will be asked to report any changes to the Office.

  1. The Driver and Passenger(s) should both be told to wear masks and the passenger(s) must sit in the back diagonally opposite the Driver (not possible if client is being accompanied though!). The window will be open for continuous ventilation.
  2. The Office will be manned singularly and the door will be bolted from the inside. A sign will be put on the door to say ‘No Entry phone calls only’.
  3. The Volunteer on duty should sanitise at the beginning and end of their shift. This will include wiping the phones, printer and laptop, also the desk, chair and door handles.
  4. There will be a supply of Masks, Gloves, Sanitizer Gel and Antibacterial wipes in the Office for volunteers to use

Protocol for Chain Car Drivers                    Issued 27.07.2020

  1. Each Driver will be given a Jute Bag and this will contain 10 pairs of disposable gloves, 10 Disposable face masks, 1 washable face mask, hand sanitiser and sanitiser wipes for the car.  These will be kept in the Drivers car. THESE ITEMS ARE NOT FOR PASSENGERS
  2. Each Driver and passenger(s) will be asked if they have had any Covid 19 symptoms when the booking is made by the Office. This will be:

 Have you had a temperature?

 Have you got a persistent dry cough?

 Have you lost your sense of taste or smell?

The Driver will be asked to report any changes to the Office.

  1. Driver and Passenger(s) should wear masks and the passenger(s) should sit diagonally opposite the Driver (not possible if client is being accompanied though!). The window should be open for continuous ventilation. The Driver should sanitise the car before and after the drive.
  2. The Driver should wear gloves and mask to collect the passenger(s) and if necessary can give help to get in and out of the car.
  3. After the drive the car should be sanitised and any coat the Driver uses should be left in the car, the Driver should then wash hands thoroughly and not be asked to drive for 72 hours.
  4. Passengers will be asked to hand their donation to the Driver in a sealed envelope with the date and their name on the envelope (no change will be given and no money handled). 

Further Covid Advice below from the Web

Collecting Passengers

If you agree to undertake a journey, ensure that drivers and passengers understand the following rules. When drivers arrive to collect the passenger, they should:

 Knock on the door or ring the bell wearing gloves or otherwise shield the naked hand, for example with a disposable tissue, and then take some steps back before the door is answered, allowing at least a two metre bubble.

 If the passenger lives in a collective housing unit (care home or sheltered housing) observe any rules on entry restrictions that might be in place. If you need to use a key safe to enter, consider who used it last and whether you need to put on gloves / use a tissue.

 Ask the passenger how they are feeling, do they have any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 (a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough). Are they self-isolating, suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19? Ask the same question in respect of anybody else present at the property.

 If you have to enter the property, do not touch anything initially, call out and announce yourself and try to keep a 2 metre distance initially between you and the passenger until you have confirmation of their health.

 If the passenger is fit and well, continue as normal.

 If they are presenting as symptomatic then politely withdraw and inform the passenger / family that you have some precautionary calls to make first. Contact the office and inform them.

 If the passenger needs support or manual assistance to get into the vehicle, wear protective gloves.

 

 If you need to carry anything belonging to the passenger (such as shopping, frame etc) wear protective gloves.

The point to remember here is that infection may travel in either direction and therefore sticking to the protocols above acts as protection for the passenger as well as for the driver. But given that the passenger will be in an at-risk group, it is incumbent on you as an operator to ensure that you have minimised the risk to them. This is why you need to check that your drivers are themselves free from symptoms and that they come from a household where nobody has symptoms.

 

Social distancing measures             1.6.2020

The guidance from the UK and devolved Governments states that as far as possible, passengers and staff should keep two meters distance from others. The UK Government does state that there are situations where this may not be possible, but that any time when social distancing is not possible should be minimised.

The UK Government’s guidance suggests a number of things that organisations should consider and which are broadly echoed in the guidance from the Welsh and Scottish Governments:

  • Creating and agreeing a single, clear approach to social distancing for all workers and passengers.
  • Agreeing and maintaining clear rules for workers and passengers that meet social distancing guidelines, for example:
  • Clear rules for interacting with passengers, receiving goods, and testing equipment.
  • Support individual workers who choose to use face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible.
  • Organising the workspace and how people work in a single space to follow social distancing guidelines, such as:
  • Separating workspaces 2 metres apart from one another, where possible.
  • Use of screens or barriers.
  • Eliminating face-to-face seating, for example, shift to ‘bench’ style.
  • Repositioning workspaces to allow for optimal ventilation.
  • Reducing occupancy of group interaction spaces, including spaces shared with other organisations.
  • Adjustments for those with specific needs or protected characteristics, for example disabled people, the elderly and pregnant women. Consider groups of people who process information differently or who may not be able to distance from others.

The last point, referencing “adjustments for those with specific needs or protected characteristics, for example disabled people [and] the elderly” is of particular note for community transport providers who will likely need to take more precautions than commercial operators due to the nature of their passengers.

Vehicle cleaning and hygiene 

You may already have procedures in place to ensure the interiors of your vehicles are kept clean. You should consider whether you need to increase the frequency of your cleaning regime and take any additional measures.

  • Focus especially on areas of the vehicle which receive the most regular contact with and including:
  • Door handles
  • Handrails
  • Head rests
  • Seat grab handles
  • Seat backs
  • Seat belts (tongue/buckle/webbing.)
  • When cleaning your vehicle, there are a few things to bear in mind:
  • Using too much water/liquid can make interior fabrics damp, which will increases the likelihood that germs will collect and thrive. This can be overcome by being careful with the amount of water/disinfectant being used and maintaining adequate ventilation both during cleaning and vehicle operation. Adhesives can also fail with excessive cleaning.
  • Make sure wet floors and surfaces are dried before passengers board.

 

Volunteers over 70

As well as considering the safety of passengers, it’s also important to think about how organisations can protect volunteers who may be older or classed as vulnerable. We know that many invaluable volunteers have had to self-isolate or to shield throughout the lockdown as they are at a higher risk and that some of them are now starting to express an interest in returning to their previous roles. For many of the volunteers involved with community transport, there are as many benefits for them as there are for the passengers. This makes it extremely difficult for organisations who are legitimately concerned about safety when a volunteer is keen to return to driving.

When considering how you want to manage volunteers returning, you should be aware that there is a possibility of some individuals being classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. This is the category which will have received a letter from their GP advising them to shield. The guidance if you are in this category is that ‘you’re strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum (for instance once per day).’

For volunteers who are over 70, the current UK Government guidance defines them as clinically vulnerable. “This means that you are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.” As the guidance is not as prescriptive for this group, we have heard of some individuals feeling that they would be happy to return to volunteering despite being at a higher risk. If this is something which you are considering, we would advise extreme caution and to ensure that you complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. It may not be helpful to create a blanket policy about whether to allow older volunteers to return or not. Instead, it may be more appropriate to consider each volunteer individually, the role they are volunteering for, and to create a specific risk assessment for each one. Although this process may be time consuming, it may help both you as an operator and the volunteer to feel more confident.

Where possible you should first consider offering volunteering roles which can be done from home. You could also consider offering roles where maintaining social distancing is easier, such as making deliveries. Where social distancing is not possible you will need to carefully assess what control measures you can put in place and whether you are then left with an acceptable level of risk. It may be worth discussing this with your insurers to understand what cover you have in place regarding volunteers. NCVO have produced some guidance about insurance for volunteers and have also shared a useful webinar about Covid-19 and managing risks.