The next meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be on 10 September 2020.
The next public meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be on 10 September 2020.
Any other business:
The Chairman noted that as part of the national Test and Trace Service launched by the Government on 28 May 2020 to control the spread of Covid-19, each Upper Tier local authority were expected to develop Local Outbreak Control Plans by the end of June. As part of their local plans, councils are expected to have a member led, typically by the Leader of the authority, Local Outbreak Control Board, which will provide political oversight of local delivery of the Test and Trace Service. It was proposed that in Surrey, the Local Outbreak Engagement Board would be a subgroup of the Health and Wellbeing Board, leading the engagement with local communities and be the public face of the local response in the event of an outbreak. The first meeting of the new Board would be held privately on 18 June to review the draft Terms of Reference and approve the initial plan. He noted that the new Board would look to address the challenge of ensuring the rapid collection of local data needed down to postcode level and reinforcing preventative measures such as social distancing, commenting that Surrey was a high-risk area due to its proximity to London.
The Interim Director of Public Health explained that as part of the Test and Trace Service, anyone who received a positive test would be contacted by the national team and there will be a process of contact-tracing. Each area was different so they were tasked with writing their own Local Outbreak Plan. Surrey’s proximity to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports did affect the infection rate at the start of the pandemic. She added that communications and surveillance would be essential during the recovery phase. Within the Local Outbreak Engagement Board there would be a Health Protection Board with wide representation across the system.
A Board member highlighted that the Council was a Beacon Council delivering excellence in key areas such as governance and was sharing best practice such as how it was working with businesses across the county to ensure that the workforce felt confident about returning to work, collaborating with public transport operators. Ensuring fast localised data down to postcode level was key for targeted partnership activity through the Local Resilience Forum and powers to enforce the required changes in activity in communities were needed from the Government.
A Board member noted that Surrey Police had a crucial role to play in reinforcing lockdown restrictions and social distancing and agreed that communications would be fundamental to the recovery work.
The Chairman noted an incoming announcement from Government about more Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) and testing centres, with tests to be accessible from General Practices and pharmacies. It was discussed that the link to the Testing Cell within the LRF was key.
The Chief Executive of Healthwatch Surrey explained that Healthwatch initially took a step back early in the pandemic to review how they could most contribute to situation whilst system partners were dealing with Covid-19 on the front line. Planned face-to-face public engagement and meetings with system partners were cancelled whilst the helpdesk remained open to follow-up urgent cases. Resources were redeployed to help the voluntary and community sector and it worked with system partners to get the national messages out to communities. After a few of weeks Healthwatch England confirmed that local Healthwatch had been asked by the Government and NHS to continue their work gathering feedback and using engagement experience to ensure seldom heard groups were not overlooked locally. Healthwatch Surrey increased its insight gathering to reach out to communities using both digital and physical channels. It was a challenge as they were not able to go into care homes and use Enter and View to gather information, nor visit hospitals or health centres, so it joined virtual meetings of many voluntary and community groups in Surrey and distributed leaflets for people who use food banks to share their experiences.
The key themes in the latest e-bulletin ‘Healthwatch Surrey Intelligence Report May 2020’: were summarised: most people felt that they have had good information around Covid-19, with a few exceptions - people with sensory impairments had accessibility issues and people with health conditions felt confused about some of the messaging around shielding vulnerable individuals.
They received positive feedback about the new ways of working through technology removing need for physical trips, however those without digital access were left behind. It was concerning that some cancelled their regular check-ups and treatments due to the fear of Covid-19, confidence needed to be rebuilt and aided by communications.
There was mixed feedback concerning regular contact from GPs, ongoing consistent communications with patients about next steps and managing symptoms was vital.
Healthwatch Surrey had not heard much from those with mental health issues and she was happy to work with the Board to identify and address any gaps. In response the Deputy Chairman noted that she and the Priority 2 sponsor could take an action back to the Recovery Board about the ongoing communications to patients waiting for services.
A Board member noted that resident groups were supporting communities, helping those with mental health issues during the pandemic. In response, a Board member commented that he was leading the voluntary and community sector strand of the Recovery Cell to maintain support offered by community groups.
The Executive Place Managing Director for Surrey Heath CCG positively commented that during the pandemic there was an increase in people self-managing their own care, she provided reassurance that the health service remained available for people needing treatment. In response, the Chairman noted the importance of harnessing those positive changes in behaviour and the Deputy Chairman added that primary care could be very proactive due to the manageable patient level. The Priority 2 sponsor noted that national funding for a one-thousand home remote monitoring programme had been secured, initially focusing on dementia patients and those with long-term conditions.