Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Temporary pause in recruitment to NHS Volunteer Responders

30 March | NHS Website
Recruitment to this scheme was temporarily paused on 29 March 2020 to process the initial 750,000 applications. Further information will follow.

What is the NHS Volunteer Responders?

NHS Volunteer Responders is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.


City of York Council announces Emergency Coronavirus Fund to support residents

26 March | City of York Council

City of York Council has today announced details of a new Emergency Fund totalling £1.25m to support residents facing hardship during the  Covid-19 pandemic.

With the funding in place, residents will now be able to receive financial support from 2 funding streams, depending on their circumstances and how much help they need. The 2 funds are:

  • Emergency Hardship Fund for residents affected by Covid-19
  • Council tax Covid-19 Hardship Fund


Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

25 March | Government Advice

The UK Government has today launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp.

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.


Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

24 March | Government Advice

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Please read the new rules and Government guidance below:


Easy read: Learning Disability Partnership Guide to Coronavirus

23 March | Learning Disability Partnership

The Learning Disability Partnership has shared an update for its members and an easy read document about the Coronavirus pandemic. Both documents are abailable to view below:


Council to link volunteers to those in greatest need

19 March |  City of York Council

Residents who would like to volunteer are being asked to sign up to, call 01904 551550, or go to As the health and safety of residents is a priority, this structured and safe approach to volunteering is to ensure people get the support they need in a co-ordinated and safe way.

Those vulnerable residents who do not currently have any access to support, but who need help because of the impact of COVID-19, are asked to contact CYC’s Community Support Coordinators at:

Telephone: 01904 551550


Patient Communications from PMG Covid-19 Response Team

19 March 2020 | Priory Medical Group response to Covid-19

The current Covid-19 pandemic is placing our practice under significant pressure. The service we can offer patients changes daily based on staff availability and changing Government, NHS England and Public Health England guidance. In response to the above and to protect and preserve clinical services for our patients we are making a number of significant changes to the services offered by Priory Medical Group.


From Saturday 21st March 2020 and until further notice:

  1. All Routine consultations will be telephone consultations only. Face to Face consultations will be based on clinical need and where deemed essential by our clinical team. These will be subject to screening prior to and on the day of your appointment.
  2. Face to face appointments will NOT be bookable on-line, by telephone or in person at any of our surgeries.
  3. Saturday morning surgeries at Priory Medical Centre are suspended until further notice. This does not affect the Saturday Improving Access Service provided by Nimbuscare from Priory Medical Centre.
  4. Victoria Way, Cherry Street and Rawcliffe surgeries will NOT be open to patients.
  5. All currently booked routine face to face appointments from 21st March 2020 onwards are cancelled with some exceptions based on clinical need. We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause you but this is unavoidable with clinical staffing capacity changing daily. If you currently have a routine appointment booked, you will receive a text (SMS) message or telephone call from PMG to advise your appointment has been cancelled.
  6. The only exceptions to this are pre-booked routine appointments for the following services:
    a. Childhood Immunisations
    b. 6 Week baby checks
    c. Anticoagulation (INR) Service
    d. Dressing clinics
    If your routine appointment for any of the above services was at Cherry Street, Victoria Way or Rawcliffe surgeries you will be advised of the new location for your appointment.
    Patients and/or their carers will be screened for active symptoms of Covid-19 prior to the appointment and on arrival at the surgery.
  7. Routine appointments will be bookable on a same day basis only by calling 01904 404100, or on-line via the NHS App (click here).
  8. Our Urgent Care service will continue to be provided from the Urgent Care Centres based at Heworth Green Surgery and Priory Medical Centre. Access to these surgeries remains subject to current Covid-19 screening criteria.

We strongly recommend the use of the NHS App/Nominated Pharmacy service for your prescriptions. Please do not visit Cherry Street, Victoria Way or Rawcliffe surgeries for prescriptions as they will not be accessible to the public.

Please only bring samples to surgeries if requested by your PMG Clinician. Cherry Street, Victoria Way and Rawcliffe surgeries will not be able to accept samples. These should be taken to any other Priory Medical Group surgery.
All of our services are subject to change at short notice in line with clinical resources and Government/NHS England/Public Health England guidance.

We would like to thank you for your continued support at this time and strongly recommend you follow advice published daily by HM Government and NHS England.


Healthwatch York: Free Post Address

19 March | Healthwatch York

Healthwatch York has a free post address and will write letters to anyone who is isolated and doesn’t use the internet but still needs to be connected!

Their Freepost address is: Healthwatch York, FREEPOST RTEG-BLES-RRYJ 15 Priory Street YO1 6ET

Please share this information.


Coronavirus Community Fund

19 March |  Coronavirus Community Fund

Two Ridings Community Foundation has established the Coronavirus Community Fund to support community groups through this unprecedented time. The focus of the fund will be to offer community organisations emergency funding to deal with emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus.

The fund will support the following:

  • Community organisations that are preparing themselves to appropriately respond and continue their work in a difficult work environment, and to tailor their specialist services to give help to the people who need it the most
  • The development of advice and support initiatives to fill gaps for people and places where there are no current suitable services
  • Groups that provide vital community support to maintain some level of viability through these uncertain times where they are experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of the current crisis.

Visit Two Ridings Community Foundation website


CYC Public Health Briefing

17 March | PowerPoint Presentation (pdf 674 KB)

City of York Council’s (CYC) Public Health Team attended a briefing hosted by York CVS on Tuesday 17 March to provide guidance to York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. You can download the presentation below:


Your organisation and coronavirus
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has produced the following guidance for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. This information is intended to help you decide what steps you and your organisation may need to take in light of the spread of the coronavirus (covid-19). This information was last updated on 10 March 2020.

What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. This strain, covid-19, is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in January 2020.

What are the symptoms?
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has covid-19 infection:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

The latest advice and developments on the covid-19 situation can be found on the GOV.UK website.

What’s the best way to prevent the spread of covid-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap (or soap substitutes) and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport. Please see posters at the bottom of this email.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin. You can download a ’Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ poster (PDF, 940KB) for your workplace from the NHS.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

What do we need to do to protect staff, volunteers and visitors?

  • Information: Provide clear information using communication channels including posters and email.
  • Handwashing facilities: Handwashing facilities should be available and well supplied. More regular handwashing may require more supplies. Provide hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products around your buildings for staff and visitors. Please see posters at the bottom of this email.
  • Cleaning regimes: Viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours. Frequently clean key areas including keyboards and door handles.
  • There is government advice on social care and educational settings you may want to review if they apply to your organisation.
  • Support staff working from home: Staff and volunteers may be required to work from home, particularly if impacted by school closures. Consideration should be given to the infrastructure, equipment and processes required to allow staff to work remotely. These considerations include secure, remote access to servers, video conferencing facilities and guidance on home working.
  • Manage travel risks: Keep up to date on current travel advice. The Foreign Office has published information and advice on travel safety and the World Health Organisation is providing updated covid-19 travel advice.
  • Review travel arrangements. Is travel necessary? Are there possible alternatives such as video conferencing? Maintain updated and clear advice for staff travelling.
  • If UK staff or volunteers are working overseas consider what access they have to health care services.
  • Ensure emergency contact details are up to date

Should our employees take sick leave?
There is no need for most staff or volunteers to avoid the workplace.
The government has listed high risk areas/countries by category 1 (highest risk areas) and category 2 areas.

  • Employees who are symptomless but have returned from category 1 areas within the last 14 days should self-isolate for 14 days from their return.
  • Employees who have returned from a category 2 area within the last 14 days and who develop symptoms should self-isolate.
  • Employees who are recommended to self-isolate are entitled to sick leave but not necessarily sick pay, though you may well want to provide this anyway as a matter of being a good employer.

If employees are sick with the virus then they would qualify for Statutory Sick Pay subject to meeting eligibility requirements.

Further advice on employee sick leave and sick pay entitlements can be found on the Acas website. 

Should we cancel our events?
Currently the advice is for most people to continue to go to work, school and other public places.

  • If your charity is planning events which will bring together large numbers of people, keep your plans under review. If your events depend on volunteers, be aware that some may prefer to stay home.
  • If you are hosting a formal meeting, such as an AGM, plan for reduced attendance or the need to move locations and times meetings.
  • Refer to your organisation’s governing document to see what it says about remote participation and quorum.
  • Check cancellation policies for venue bookings you’ve made or are about to make.
  • Further advice on planning formal meetings can be found on the Bates Wells website.

How do we support our beneficiaries/service users?

  • Generally, infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. See below for resources from charities for different groups.
  • Some of your service users or beneficiaries may be more at risk or highly concerned about the virus.
  • You can play a role in providing clear and updated information to raise awareness of prevention measures like handwashing, but at this stage the most important message may simply be one of reassurance.

How do we support members of communities facing discrimination?

  • Members of some communities are experiencing acts of racism, discrimination and verbal abuse with the outbreak of the virus.
  • Covid-19 does not discriminate and the containment or spread of the virus is not based on ethnicity.
  • These communities must feel supported and know that these acts of discrimination should not be tolerated.
  • Stop Hate UK are providing anyone experiencing or witnessing such discrimination with a confidential 24-hour third-party reporting service.

How will we develop a contingency plan and how will our insurance be impacted?

Will there be financial implications?
You and your board may want to consider potential financial impacts of the virus’s spread continuing, and what steps you might need to take.
You may want to budget for increased contingency costs over the next financial year:

  • Your income may fall if there is serious disruption.
  • You may face increased need for support from people who rely on your organisation.
  • You may also face increased costs if the impact on global trade continues.

The Institute of Fundraising has developed guidance for fundraisers in relation to Covid-19.

How will our investments be impacted?

  • Stock prices have fallen this week. Many investors will have seen a rise in their portfolio’s valuation over the past year, but this will now be likely to have been wiped out by the recent fall in prices.
  • Charities with stocks investments will see a fall in their investment’s valuation.
  • This could have an impact if your charity uses its investments to secure borrowing.
  • A reduction in stock values could also impact defined liability pension schemes, where the employer guarantees the pension on retirement regardless of what happens to the underlying assets of the scheme. This should be less of an issue provided stocks recover in the medium to long term.
  • If covid-19 is a short-term issue, then it is likely that markets will recover and investments will gain the value they lost in the medium term.

How are charities helping to deal with covid-19?

  • Diabetes UK has provided an updated information page for people living with diabetes.
  • Asthma UK has released a blog post with advice for people with asthma.
  • The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems.
  • The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.
  • SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.
  • Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
  • Housing Justice has issued specialised advice to homeless shelters. Glass Door is emphasising the importance of handwashing and has boosted their stock of hand gels kept in their vans that move between shelters. Pathway and Crisis have called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
  • Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Primary Immunodeficiency UK have issued advice and support.

Key up-to-date information from the government:

Sector-specific guidance

Risk management
GOV.UK: Guidance on charities and risk management