This paper gives a brief overview of the status of projects in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy implementation plans. Rather than detailing performance as originally intended, it indicates where projects have been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic leading to delays in some areas. It also highlights where projects are continuing as normal or with a different focus, often as a result of the impact of COVID 19.
Phillip Austen-Reed - Principal Lead - Health and Wellbeing (SCC)
Rod Brown - Head of Housing and Community at Epsom and Ewell District
Council (Priority 1)
Giles Mahoney - Director of Integrated Care Partnerships at Guildford and
Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) (Priority 2)
Rob Moran - Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council (Priority 3)
Key points raised in the discussion:
· The creation of a Homeless Multi-Agency Group to support Borough and District Councils in response to the Government directive to provide accommodation to the homeless:
- In response, a Board member commented that Covid-19 had magnified the housing shortage issues. All eleven Borough and Districts Councils responded to the directive to accommodate all rough sleepers aiding delivery of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and personal plans were being made for people moving on. District and Boroughs were having meetings with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to identify the particular needs of each rough sleeper as well as the solutions and funding needed. Despite some boroughs and districts not having sites to move people on to after the temporary accommodation, the use of Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, the Government preventing evictions in the private sector and triage support from health colleagues on who to prioritise for certain types of accommodation ensured that the directive has been largely met to date.
- Responding to a Board member query, it was discussed that there were tensions with commercial hotels putting rough sleepers in temporary accommodation and them wanting to return to business as usual particular in Guildford and Woking. Half of those rough sleepers had been moved out of those hotels in Guildford and assurance was provided that the tensions would be managed in conjunction with MHCLG. There had been a recent more flexible approach by hotels after discussions with MHCLG, who were looking at capital funding and asking councils to look into their procurement solutions, in which Surrey was aided by the LRF.
- A Board member was reassured that the Government was working proactively with councils on the long term issues surrounding rough sleepers and would consider potential funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to help on that matter.
· The positive work regarding domestic abuse, there was a new Domestic Abuse Executive Group:
- The Priority 1 sponsor noted that he had been involved in various activities in response to Covid-19, including helping to manage the emergency response and setting up a community hub. There were mixed messages concerning the increase in domestic abuse, but it was noted that survivors were waiting until pandemic is over before reporting so data was being modelled to meet that demand after lockdown.
- An attendee noted that the Executive Director for Children, Families and Learning (SCC) was chairing the Domestic Abuse Executive Group. Across the voluntary and community sector, Boroughs and Districts, Surrey Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner there was an increase in users to refuge services as well as an increase in domestic violence within assessments of children and in adult social care. In line with modelling which showed an increase in domestic violence that occurs after significant incidences such as the pandemic, the rise over the next year would need to be addressed in conjunction with refuge providers to add additional refuge capacity to Surrey.
- The Chairman noted that Surrey had been asked to participate in a Channel 4 documentary in the next couple of weeks to showcase its work on tackling domestic abuse.
· A virtual wellbeing hub and virtual safe haven had been developed for mental wellbeing support and adaptation to the community mental health offer:
- The Priority 2 sponsor commented that the emotional wellbeing of people and psychological impact of the pandemic were at the centre of the recovery work and the multi-agency approach was encouraging as all were taking responsibility for mental health.
· Additional support for local suicide prevention plans and new healthy schools approach:
- A Board member queried the national publicity about suicide rates rising, asking about levels of suicide in Surrey. In response, it was noted that a county-wide Suicide Prevention Strategic Group had been set up. The Consultant in Public Health added that it was complicated to get timely information relating to suicides from the coroner. Surveillance was crucial and they were working with Surrey Police to set up an early warning system. A data feed was being received weekly on unexpected deaths at home such as suicide and drug overdoses. The earlier increase in those deaths that coincided with the Covid-19 peak had returned to previous levels.
- It was noted that Surrey Police were involved in many cases of unexplained deaths, the Chief Constable had a daily log of significant incidences which has seen more unexplained deaths during the pandemic. Regarding attempted suicides, the Consultant in Public Health noted that they were looking at whether information from hospitals could be sourced relating to poisonings or trauma which would not show up in police data.
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