Care Home Providers Only - Visiting Arrangements Update

16 Oct, 2020

Communication from Surrey County Council: 16th October 2020.


Dear Care Home Manager,


Re: New COVID Alert Levels and updated local care home visiting framework

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 12th October, introducing a three-tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England, we have updated the local care home visiting framework and are writing to share the updated framework with you.


The new COVID Alert Levels include three tiers;

  • MEDIUM Alert Level – covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, which came into force on 25th September.

  • HIGH Alert Level - areas with a higher rate of infections and means some additional restrictions will be necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

  • VERY HIGH Alert Level - areas where transmission rates are causing the greatest concern, based on an assessment of all the available data and the local situation.


The updated care home visiting framework here sets out the actions you should take at each COVID Alert Level, which is set at a national level. At both HIGH and VERY HIGH alert levels, care homes should close to visitors, except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life. For further information, please see Local COVID Alert Levels - what you need to know


The current alert level for Surrey is MEDIUM (with the exception of the Elmbridge district area – see below) therefore national restrictions apply. The action that you need to take includes:

  • Care homes must follow the national guidance on visiting by updating their risk assessments and visitor policy to allow safe visiting within the setting See the guidance on visiting relatives in care homes.

  • Ensure any visits by residents to family/friends outside the home premises have individual documented risk assessments

  • Raise awareness of preventative measures with visitors


The current alert level for the Elmbridge district area is HIGH identifying it as an area where additional restrictions apply. This change will be implemented from Saturday 17th October. The actions required for this status include:

  • Care home closed to visitors, except in exceptional circumstances, for example end of life.

  • No visits out of the home.

  • Continue alternative methods adopted to maintain contact e.g. video calls


The Director of Public Health will provide clear communication to care homes and other partners, on which COVID Alert Level applies to the local area, any changes to the local COVID Alert Level, and what actions care homes are advised to take for visiting arrangements. Public health teams will not review risk assessments for individual care homes in their area.


Outbreaks or cases of infection within your home are managed separately by Public Health England, who will provide advice on testing, visiting and home closures; which is independent of the local RAG status.


For national guidance on visiting arrangements, please see: visiting arrangements in care homes


Ruth Hutchinson                                                      Simon White

Director of Public Health                                       Executive Director Adult Social Care

Surrey County Council                                            Surrey County Council


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