In light of the recent uncertainty about the Coronavirus, we are keen to provide an update on our own situation.
Lomond & Argyll Advocacy Service (LAAS) remains open and is working hard to minimize disruption to our services, whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff and service users.
Some of the people who use our service may be more at risk or highly concerned about the virus. We will try to help by continuing to make available clear and up to date information about prevention measures and promoting government guidance to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Scottish Government issued the updated guidance on 16 March advising people to limit social contact:
“To slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) the general public are being asked to stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary social contact.
“People over 70 and those who have high risk and underlying health conditions are being strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and significantly reduce unnecessary social contact.
“The advice is that people should:
- minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
- avoid using public transport as much as possible
- work from home when possible
- follow the latest health and travel advice, and follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
“People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period. Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should stay at home for 14 days.”
LAAS recognises that some staff may be to work from home and wish to do so, particularly if impacted by school closures and caring responsibilities. We will try to ensure that staff have access to appropriate equipment such as laptops and mobile phones to assist with remote working.
We will encourage and support to staff to review travel arrangements, and consider if travel is necessary, or if there are possible alternatives such as telephone contact or video conferencing.
The health and well-being of the people we support, our staff and volunteers is paramount. In light of the current circumstances, LAAS has reluctantly suspended all face-to-face advocacy. We will continue to provide advocacy by telephone or email. We have also cancelled all group events, including training sessions, conferences, board meetings and collective advocacy forums until further notice.
LAAS has also taken the reluctant decision to suspend the involvement of volunteers in advocacy case work.
In view of the rapidly changing circumstances above measures will remain open to ongoing review.