Venue: Meeting Space, Block 1, Floor 2, County Hall, Morpeth
Contact: Lesley Bennett
Note: Due to Covid restrictions only those who have registered and are actively participating will be allowed access to the meeting. Any member of the press or public may view the proceedings of this meeting live on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/NorthumberlandTV.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from S. Brown, J. Lothian, C. McEvoy-Carr, R. O’Farrell, W. Pattison, E. Simpson, D. Thompson.
Minutes of the meetings of the Health and Wellbeing Board held on Thursday, 8 July 2021 and 12 August 2021 as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings of the Health and Well-being Board, as circulated, be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair:
a) 8 July 2021
b) 12 August 2021
REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF ADULT SOCIAL CARE AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES
Update on the Epidemiology of COVID 19 and on the Northumberland COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan
An update will be provided at the meeting on the epidemiology of COVID 19 in Northumberland and developments with the Council’s COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan.
Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health, gave a presentation to update the board on the Covid 19 epidemiology. It included the latest key data and developments of Covid in the area and showed the statistics of Covid in England compared to Scotland for the past several months. It was noted that Scotland had an increase in cases since restrictions were relaxed which had been exacerbated by the return of schools. Rates across the country were variable with some areas having significantly higher rates than others. Data from the national statistics suggested that up to 1 in 70 people were infected at any one time using data up until the end of August.
From a regional perspective across the LA7 it was highlighted there was a general upward trend for infections. Cases per day in Northumberland had increased by just under 20% in the last 7 days. There had been an increase in rates in 10-19 year olds which was expected. Cases in over 80’s are decreasing and mainly stable in older age groups.
Data from Northumbria Trust suggested that cases in hospital were stable and there was no significant change. The rate of patient deaths had increased from July and August. It was highlighted that double vaccinated people are still being admitted to hospital and are still dying from Covid and it was noted that although the vaccine provides protection from serious illness and death, it does not necessarily prevent the transmission of infection. Therefore it was expected that there will be more cases of double vaccinated people being admitted.
The presentation gave an oversight about how we will live with Covid in the future. It gave an overview of the Government’s summer roadmap and recent Government guidance which included an updated control plan:
· Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence.
· Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws
· Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans
· Manage risks at the border to reduce the risk of variants emerging
· Retain contingency measures while learning to live with COVID-19
It outlined the priorities moving forward for the LA7 region which were:
· Equitable and rapid deployment of covid and flu vaccination progammes
· Encouraging good infection prevention and control measures including hand washing, respiratory hygiene, good ventilation and face coverings where appropriate ?
· Coordinated Test, Trace and Isolate programme and management of outbreaks via Local Outbreak Management Plans?
· Taking our communities with us via Beat covid NE using behavioural insights, consistent messages and community champions?
· Protection of vulnerable individuals in the community;?
· Continued monitoring and surveillance ?
· To re-focus our work on health inequalities
The presentation gave an overview of schools and how DfE and PHE will assist with children returning to schools safely:
· Revised DfE guidance for management of covid in schools and FE
· Close working between schools, education teams, public health and PHE
· Prevention – hand and respiratory hygiene, environmental cleaning
· Schools are continuing to test
· Regional documents to support outbreak management and measures
· Still asking schools to report cases ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT
A verbal update on communications and engagement will be provided at the meeting.
Phil Hunter, Service Director gave an update on the communications, both national and local, that had been and were going to be published by the Council. He also gave an overview of the projects undertaken by the Council to engage with the public.
The presentation outlined the way in which it supported outbreak prevention through the following:
· Outbreak Prevention and Control Wraparound Groups?
· Care Homes?
· Workplaces and businesses?
· High Risk Individuals, Communities and Settings?
· LRF comms cell?
· MPs / elected member briefings?
· Cabinet Office / Government Communication Service?
· Support the Community Champions programme
The new regional communication that was being introduced was Beat Covid NE which included communications around; ‘keep the North East open’, vaccination hesitancy, ‘Acts of Kindness’.
There was an update regarding the community champion project. It was highlighted that over 50 champions had signed up to the scheme and it was being well received in the community.
The presentation outlined the next steps for the Council’s communications:
· Continuing to amplify national campaign?
· Refreshed town centre signage in place?
· Continue Community Champions recruitment?
· BeatCovidNE – ongoing campaign development?
· Vaccination programme/hesitancy?
· Further behaviour insight work (North East wide)
The following comments were made following the presentation:
Members gave thanks to Phil Hunter and commented on the importance of communications given to the public to push the importance of not being complacent. He also highlighted that vaccine hesitancy was a very real problem and must be tackled. He also stated that it was important not to alienate those who do have vaccine hesitancy in society and that communication shouldn’t create stigma against them.
There is a lot of uncertainty around why people get side effects. Certain allergies can be an indicator but realistically there would always be some people who would have an adverse effect to the vaccine. Many people seek information on platforms such as social media where information may not be accurate. It was suggested that it was a big task to unpick the problem.
The Council were waiting for a lead from National Government and Cabinet Office on Covid passes and how they would be used.
Communication was going to be valuable to allow people to gain confidence in returning to voluntary groups etc. Many elderly people had become used to being locked down and isolated and communication was needed to reassure them that it is safe to go to groups and clubs.
It was acknowledged that communication needed to be given about still behaving appropriately in public regardless of their vaccination status. However there was an awareness that explaining this was complex.
To receive the Healthwatch Annual Report 2020/21 and a presentation by David Thompson, Chair of Northumberland Healthwatch.
Derry Nugent gave a presentation on behalf of David Thompson who was unable to attend. The presentation included information about the annual report, annual survey and moving forward.
The presentation outlined what Healthwatch Northumberland had achieved throughout 2020/21 including; enabling people separated from loved ones in care homes to share what it meant and how it could be better. Building solid relationships which enabled them to relay messages about vaccination programme.
The annual survey by Healthwatch Northumberland focused on the NE23 and NE61 postcodes. There was a 67% overall satisfaction rate. The main concerns raised from the survey were quality of care for care service providers, access to GP’s, dentists and mental health services, recovery of cancer services.
The priorities for Healthwatch Northumberland in 2021/22 are as follows:
· Access to primary care – dentists and GPs?
· Mental Health services?
· Sight loss?
· Care homes – new support forum?
· Enter & View (when we can)?
· Here to Hear?
· Patient and service user voice in the ICS
The following comments were made in response to questions:
Members echoed the concerns regarding access to GP’s. The CCG and other members acknowledged that access to GP’s was difficult. There were not less services available but essentially it was a supply and demand issue. Services were transforming which meant GP’s would not be the first point of contact but it may have been a pharmacist or district nurse. It was acknowledged that communication was needed to inform and educate patients of the service changes.
Access to dentists were questioned. It was highlighted that through speaking to colleagues across the North East that the region was experiencing the same issue. Patients were struggling to find access to NHS dentists and in some cases, patients were struggling to access a new dentist after the pandemic where they may have been from the practice.
Derry Nugent expressed her pride in the Healthwatch continuing throughout the pandemic with a small team and the relationships that had been built with services. She said the pandemic brought with it frustrations such as not being able to go out to speak to the public. The annual response rate to the survey was less than last year. Moving forward Healthwatch wanted to develop by integrating services and help with services at a local area level.
To note/discuss details of forthcoming agenda items at future meetings; the latest version is enclosed.
Paula Mead requested that the Children’s & Adult’s Safeguarding report be deferred to the December meeting
a) The forward plan be noted;
b) the Children’s & Adult’s safeguarding report be deferred to the December meeting and be place in the December meeting for all future forward plans.
URGENT BUSINESS (IF ANY)
To consider such other business as, in the opinion of the Chair, should, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
Ralph Firth raised that it would be his final meeting for the board as a representative for the voluntary organisation sector. He thanked the board for allowing him to attend. A new representative will be elected as a representative in the near future.
The Chair thanked Ralph Firth for his attendance to the meetings and the contributions he gave.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Forthcoming Meeting Dates at 10.00 a.m.
14 October 2021
11 November 2021
9 December 2021
13 January 2022
10 February 2022
10 February 2022
14 April 2022
12 May 2022
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 14 October 2021, at 10.00 a.m. in County Hall, Morpeth.