Staff briefing roundup

General update – Peter Wightman

COVID national and regional picture

  • The ‘R’ rate in the East of England is between 1.3– 1.6, compared to the UK which is 1.2 – 1.5
  • On Monday 12 October the Government announced a three-tier system of regional restrictions (medium, high, very high). These will take effect from 14 October and are subject to Commons approval
  • All Essex authorities are currently at medium alert. Essex County Council has requested to be placed in the high alert category, which would see greater restrictions imposed within the Essex County Council area. This excludes Thurrock and Southend. The County Council is now waiting to hear back from the Secretary of State
  • Elsewhere in England there are 13 areas of England (North and Midlands) that are at high alert and Liverpool City region at very high alert
  • The Rule of Six still currently applies in England but pubs and restaurants need to close at 10pm
  • The number of cases detected by testing in the last two weeks is 13,972 in the UK on 12 October, with a seven day average of 14,588 on 9 October (up from 10,937 on 2 October)
  • The total number of patients admitted to hospital has increased to 515 in England on 9 October, with daily deaths at 43 on 12 October
  • The number of positive COVID tests is 40% higher w/e 9 October compared to w/e 2 October
  • Basildon reported the highest number over 14 days (221 positive tests) and Brentwood reported the highest rate at 134 per 100,000 population
  • Epping Forest saw 175 positive COVID cases, Harlow 65 and Uttlesford 116.
  • The total number of positive cases in Essex is 1,735

In other news:

  • Our chief executive Jane Halpin is looking at appointing two more executive posts – Director of Primary Care Transformation and Director of Performance. With everything going on she will want to make sure there is minimal disruption to CCG staff. Jane is hoping to join us at next week’s staff briefing where she will be able to talk in more detail
  • The One Health and Care Partnership Board will have its first meeting on Thursday this week (15 October). We will go through the action plan I shared with you all a couple of weeks ago
  • Please tell your GP if you have had a flu jab so they can put it on your medical records

Local update – Ian Tompkins

Essex position

  • Essex County Council is leading Essex’s position with regards to alert levels and COVID-19
  • They are talking to Southend and Thurrock as they are unitary authorities and do not fall under ECC’s remit
  • The response is being led by Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health at ECC and the Leader of ECC
  • They are making the argument to Government that Essex has increasing numbers and they want to get ahead of that. Essex is about two weeks behind some of the worst hit areas. ECC wants to contain the spread before we reach that level, when much harder restrictions will come into play
  • People have mixed views about the strategy
  • We should have an answer on Thursday. In the meantime you can read ECC’s press release about their request to move to ‘high level’ status
  • COVID testing for critical key workers will continue at Spencer Close for the next few weeks

Flu jab

  • The flu clinic last Friday was successful
  • We’d like to know if you’ve had a flu jab. Whether you’ve had a jab at the flu clinic at Spencer Close on 9 October, or you went to your GP or pharmacy
  • It would be great to have an idea of how many colleagues have taken up the offer.
  • We will send around a quick poll, so keep a look out for it


  • Following government guidance, please continue to work from home unless you cannot do so
  • The office buildings are officially COVID-19 secure. They have been signed off by Infection Prevention and Control
  • For those wanting to return, for whatever reason, you must complete the riskassessments
  • If you are coming in to the office please let Jackie Hall know in advance
  • There will be no hot desking allowed
  • This is to keep everyone safe and ensure we comply with COVID guidelines
  • For those working from home – you need to complete a working from home risk assessment– the deadline for all risk assessments is this Friday (16 October 2020). Please send your completed risk assessments to Kamaljit Kaur

Staff survey

  • This launched last week, but please check your junk mail
  • It is being conducted by independent organisation, Picker – completely confidential survey; we wouldn’t be able to pick out who said what etc
  • We really encourage you to take part – we want to hear your comments and thoughts so we can improve
  • The Staff Partnership Group has been doing some great work to address some of the issues raised around last year’s survey

COVID vaccination

  • There is a lot of preparation for the vaccine around the logistics e.g. how they store it, who will administer and identifying the sites etc
  • There has been good progress – the government has ordered approximately 90 million stocks for when it’s licensed and available
  • Mica Marshall in the Comms team has left the organisation. We have advertised her role and will be announcing a replacement shortly. If you have any questions around any of the work Mica was leading on, please contact the Comms team

Mandatory training and appraisals – Kam Kaur

  • Please ensure you complete your mandatory training
  • We have a great webinar coming up on ‘the art of being brilliant’, details will be available in Thursday’s staff newsletter
  • We also have an opitmalife wellbeing survey available to complete. Info on this will also be in Thursday’s newsletter
  • There will be exciting training sessions in November and December on your wellbeing – looking at the importance of sleep, food and exercise etc. Please book your place on ESR

Freedom to Speak Up – David Wallace

Your questions

Q: Will there be any other opportunities to get the flu jab?

A: Please let us know if you need to get the jab via the Comms inbox and we will set up another session

Q: Who is our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian?

A: Stephen King

Q: What is the thinking behind the ECC strategy? In parts of Essex we have minimal numbers and it is frustrating

A: The idea is that if ECC can flatten the curve of positive cases early, then we won’t have to be put at high alert, where the restrictions are much tougher



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