Date published: 03 November 2020 by Amber Hemming
A new national lockdown is being introduced across England from Thursday 5 November in response to a steep rise in case numbers of COVID-19. The new measures will require people to stay at home as much as possible, and to limit social contact between households. Schools, colleges and universities will remain open, but many workplaces will be required to close. People may only meet one other person outdoors for particular purposes such as exercise. Non-essential shops, plus pubs and restaurants and leisure venues, must all close until 2 December.
Throughout this period, Rainbow Trust will still be here for families with a life-threatened or terminally ill child, because a child does not stop being ill in a pandemic.
Unlike the initial national lockdown, people who are clinically vulnerable are not being asked to shield, in light of concerns that social isolation has been detrimental to people’s mental health. Instead, families will be sent guidance from their GP or clinician.
Rainbow Trust’s Chief Executive, Zillah Bingley, said:
"For families caring for seriously ill children, the rise in numbers of people contracting the virus will be alarming. Parents have told us that the last seven months have been an incredibly tough time, as we have shown in our recent report, Pandemic Pressures. The poor communication of the new lockdown, with unofficial reports in the media ahead of an official announcement, will have only added to their anxiety.
"With the country preparing for a new lockdown, but with no plan to return to the previous ‘shielding’ system, families need clear guidance as to what action their household should take if a child has been deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, what this means for healthy siblings in terms of attending school, and what support families will be entitled to, such as access to grocery deliveries.
"We know that for many families, Rainbow Trust is the only source of support outside of their family and friends.
"We urge the government and NHS England to make sure that services that support families with a seriously ill child are maintained. Importantly, we recommend that key professionals, such as therapists and health visitors, are not redeployed to other parts of the health service unless absolutely essential.
"We also urge local authorities to ensure that parents and siblings have access to breaks from caring which can enable families to cope better with the demands of caring during the lockdown."
The proposed restrictions have taken on board some of the concerns raised by parents in recent months. Playgrounds will remain open, and the new guidance states that pre-school children will not be counted in the cap of no more than two people meeting up outdoors. This means parents of babies and young children will be able to meet another adult, reducing the risk of feelings of isolation.
Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers have continued to support families throughout the pandemic. In the month of October Rainbow Trust support included 584 episodes of support to parents by phone call, video call or text, 11 episodes of end of life support for families, and 93 episodes of bereavement support, among a wide variety of support provided. Any face-to-face support is risk assessed, delivered safely with PPE, and is socially distanced.
You can read our latest report Pandemic Pressures here.