02 November 2020
NCHA member update – 2 November
In today's update:
- Lockdown - financial support (UK)
- The national lockdown in England
- Hearing care shows signs of recovery
Following the Prime Minister's Covid-19 statement on Saturday, the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now remain open until December.
This means employees on furlough will continue to receive 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. To be eligible, employees must have been on PAYE payroll by 23.59hrs on 30 October 2020. HMRC is expected to provide more detail on an updated claims service shortly, and we will share this in follow-up member updates.
Members should also note that government-backed mortgage payment holidays have been extended by six months without this being recorded on your credit file. The FCA today said to support those financially affected by coronavirus it would propose that consumer credit customers who have not yet had a payment deferral under its July guidance could now request one. It also added that it was also proposing that "borrowers who are currently benefitting from a first payment deferral under [its] July guidance would be able to apply for a second deferral."
As England prepares for a national lockdown on Thursday, the Prime Minister's Covid-19 statement included the following reminder. "This is really important - unless your clinicians tell you otherwise, you should continue to use the NHS, get your scans, turn up for your appointments and pick up your treatments. If at all possible, we want you to continue to access these services, now and through the winter. Indeed, it's only by taking this action that we can protect the NHS for you."
Audiology remains an essential service, and community audiology premises (classified as essential retail) will be able to meet the nation's hearing care needs throughout the November lockdown. Members should continue to follow sector Covid-19 audiology and otology guidance and use our Covid-19 resource hub for support and advice on working in a Covid-secure way.
Also, with increasing prevalence of Covid-19, we strongly advise members to repeat local infection, prevention and control training for all staff. To help with this we have a produced a seven steps training and compliance guide on standard precautions. Members can also contact us for additional help and advice by emailing [email protected] or calling us on 020 7298 5110.
The latest BIHIMA data show that the hearing care market in the UK and Ireland has started to recover following a severe contraction in demand due to pandemic restrictions during Q1 and Q2.
The private market responded to increased demand during Q3, with unit sales up 14% on the same period last year, meaning overall sales are down 26% this year.
The NHS showed slower signs of recovery, with sales down 49% on the same period last year, and 50% down on the year to date.
In Ireland, year to date sales were down by just 13% after a significant increase in demand following the easing of local restrictions.