Staff briefing roundup

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

General update – Peter Wightman

  • Vaccinations:
  • The latest data on COVID incidents indicates there has been no negative impact since the lockdown restrictions began to be lifted at the end of March
  • Those aged 45 and above, cohort 10, will now be receiving an invitation nationally to book their vaccinations, while in west Essex good progress is being made in vaccinating the over 50s
  • Carl Bates – those in the categories 1 to 9 have all now been invited- now particularly focusing on hard-to-reach groups
  • Anurita Rohilla – AstraZeneca hesitancy has resulted from the reports in the media surrounding its safety, resulting in people cancelling or not turning up for scheduled appointments
  • The PCNs and Herts Community Trust (HTC) are persevering with vaccinations. This is still a massive good news story with all those in cohorts 1 to 9 now having been offered the vaccine
  • Thanks should specifically go to Carl Bates and his team as this has been made possible with the data they have been providing
  • Rob Gerlis – The meetings co-ordinated by Ian Tompkins with the councils and Harlow Ethnic Minority Umbrella last month have also helped us hugely in bucking the trend seen in other areas so thanks must go to him.
  • Peter Wightman – The first ICS all-staff briefing will take place in May and these will be monthly.. We will continue with the weekly CCG all staff briefings in between.
  • In future staff briefings we would like to hear from different teams to talk about a particular topic or aspect of their work.

ICS update – Jane Halpin

  • The first ICS all-staff briefing will be on May 11 at 2 pm. Details to follow.
  • As the transition to an ICS takes place the aim is to be as open and clear as possible, however, it may be six weeks before things are clearer
  • After the Queen has made her speech, the legislation is expected to move quickly
  • What we do know is the white paper proposes to move staff over to the ICS and it will then become the employer and it will be on the payslips
  • For the vast majority of people, it won’t change the work you are doing
  • At the moment, there are many aspects that cannot be completed until the ICS is firmly established
  • The move will mean some functions removed when Primary Care Trusts became CCGs, will now return. This is a good news story but may require some catching up to be done
  • We are now keen to start work on putting a staffing structure together which will allow as smooth a transition as possible. As there are similar directorates across all three CCGs, but not exactly the same, we need to make sure everyone understands what they are doing and who their line manager is
  • We appreciate this is all a bit confusing but ask you bear with us for the next four to six weeks while this is worked out. It is more of a clarification than a change
  • It is important staff are confident about which team they are in and who is responsible for making sure they not over-loaded
  • The boundary issue has not been resolved but we continue to work with those who are deciding this

Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • Everyone aged over 45 is being invited to go online and book an appointment for their jab.
  • If you had your first jab at PAH, the hospital is offering second doses until the end of Wednesday 14 April. If you haven’t got your appointment booked email

Office 365 roll out – Alan Hicks

  • You should now be able to install this on your computers and the communications team will be sending out instructions on how to carry this out
  • It should be straightforward but please speak to your line manager before you install
  • Training sessions will be held in the coming weeks to outline all the new features of Office 365

Introducing the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) – Sue Massey and Anita Root

Sue Massey

  • MHFAs are a new service available to staff as part of the CCG’s Time to Change pledge to help break down the stigma regarding mental health issues. Remote working, as a result of the pandemic, has increased feelings of loneliness and isolation and the idea is to help combat this and help build a healthy workplace
  • Anita Root
  • As one of six MHFAs I went on a two-day training course. The first aiders listen without judgment and signpost appropriate services
  • It is about being available, open and having the time to listen and have a supportive conversation. We don’t diagnose, judge, give therapy/counselling or provide long term help – but our conversations may be across several weeks
  • Any information given to us will not be shared, not written down but if there was a risk or concern of harm, then there is an escalation process. Wewould inform the person of before acting on this
  • Contact details for the MHFAs, Anita Root, Steff Monk, Naomi Money, Emma Harnett, Jacquie Clements and Sarah Gascoigne are on AskHUE
  • Rob Gerlis – Much has been said in the media of late about the effects of COVID on mental health. It is something, like inequalities, which was already there but has been brought to light by this situation. It is important, when you are worried about someone, to ask if they are alright twice. The second question is often the most important.


  • Jane Kinniburgh – What is the latest guidance on coming back into the office?
  • Ian Tompkins – The Government guidance remains the same until at least 21 June which is to work from home where possible but if you do go into the office carry out a risk assessment.
  • As an ICS, the issue of how we will be working is being looked at.
  • Peter Wightman – It is difficult to imagine us going back to the pre-COVID model of working and while there is a benefit of face-to-face meetings, we need to look at what is safe and appropriate and helps us be an effective team. The culture of “being present” is being moved away from.




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