Staff briefing roundup

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

 General update – Peter Wightman

COVID national and regional statistics

  • The ‘R’ rate in the East of England is between 1.1– 1.4. The rate for the UK is 1.0 to 1.2
  • The number of cases detected by testing in the last two weeks has slowed, with 21,363 in the UK on 16 November, with a seven day average of 25,331 on 13 November (up from 23,287 on 6 November)
  • The total number of patients admitted to hospital in England was 1,433 on 13 November, up from 1,287 on 3 November
  • Daily deaths are at 191 on 16 November
  • All districts in Essex had multiple positive cases in the last seven days
  • Highest community rates in Essex were in Brentwood at 244 cases per 100,000 population, compared to England’s rate of 271.

Whipps Cross Hospital development

  • Whipps Cross Hospital is building a new hospital on its existing site. It’s currently spread out across smaller buildings on site so they are looking to bring it together.
  • A virtual public engagement event was held for Epping Forest residents to share the plans and ask questions of a panel. The panel was made up of Christine Moss, Peter Wightman and representatives from Whipps Cross Hospital development team and Epping Forest District Council.
  • About 25 people attended and many questions were asked, which the panel did their best to answer. Topics discussed included housing and bed space.
  • They want to specialise in frailty within the Barts Trust network


Leadership training session with Korn Ferry

  • Managers from across the CCG were part of training session led by Korn Ferry . This focused on best practice leadership through change.  We were thinking about gradual change, how to lead well in that context, useful concepts around coping with change and different leadership roles. It  would be good to bring some of those useful models taught to these meetings to share with everyone.

One Health and Care Partnership (One HCP)

  • Development session with the One HCP board – we have a monthly formal and informal meeting. This month was informal, we listened to each of our risks, what everyone was dealing with etc. It was good to share what our County Council colleagues are dealing with
  • Alison Ansel, Interim Director of Local Delivery (Adults at ECC) has some really good ideas for integration
  • The work will target high need areas, as PCN, CCGs etc – having particular response for places where need is highest – could be developed further

COVID vaccination programme

  • The PCNs are responding to the request to deliver to high risk patients in the community. We have got until end of the day (17 November) to work that through – working closely with practices to see where they are at. Harlow North are under a lot of pressure based on their day-to-day
  • HertsCCommunity Trust – run more closely with all those members
  • Council will be critical partners in delivery of this
  • Latest modelling assumptions are that the vaccination programme will run from December to June instead of December to February – this continues to be refreshed
  • Expecting regional letter detailing the release of a certain proportion of staff to deliver vaccine
  • PAH struggling this week – 12 hour waits , due to COVID and closure of wards – they have hit the wave Hertfordshire seemed to hit before us
  • Main issue is around non-COVID medical bed capacity – there are beds but they are closed because of infection control issues
  • COVID ward capacity is rising – 36 across two wards and five in ITU ventilated
  • Until we can get flow from non-COVID part of the hospital, we are going to struggle
  • 15 electives cancelled today (17 November) – outbreak meetings
  • Expect further guidance issued this week
  • Discharges to care homes – there are some challenges in Essex, but we are in a better position than Herts. Issues around the management of positive and potentially positive patients – working together to understand how to proceed

Local update – Ian Tompkins

COVID vaccinations

  • Work has begun to convert buildings 2 and 3. We are taking some pictures so you can see the changes taking place and how the building will be used. We’ll share these in the staff newsletter on Thursday and they will be uploaded onto AskHUE

COVID testing

  • Mass testing is emerging as a priority – to be given to NHS patient facing staff then to all other NHS staff. This is voluntary, staff are to be tested twice a week – this data will form part of wider intelligence across the country
  • Essex County Council – will be doing 150,000 tests per week excluding Thurrock and Southend. We are working with PHE to identify COVID testing sites
  • Liverpool mass testing – identified 700 people who didn’t have symptoms but tested positive

EU Exit

  • Still a threat as there are issues for us around the transit centre at North Weald. This is likely to cause major traffic issues

Staff survey

  • You only have until Friday 27 November to complete the staff survey
  • Please check in your junk folder if you haven’t received it. It will be from a company called Picker
  • It’s really important you complete it so we can get a good understanding of what we are doing well and what we need to improve as an employer

Staff briefings

  • The staff briefing is not just about us sharing news with you. We’d like you to share your news with us. Let us know what your team is up to, what they have achieved in and out of work and what they are working on. Email the Comms team and they can schedule you in

Staff Christmas quiz

  • Remember to register your team for the staff Christmas quiz on Thursday 17 December at 7.30pm.

Any other business – Vanessa Moon

  • Want to give a big shout out to Steff, Fikile and Lauren in the Comms team. They have put in so much hard work in getting the Primary Care briefing out each week, transforming the way it looks and doing their best to get it out on time each week. Thanks to Sarah Crane and Naomi Brooks for getting it to us as quickly as they can. It’s been a big team effort.


Your questions

Q. Employees are entitled to claim tax relief due to increased costs at a flat rate of £6 per week if they are required to work from home due to COVID-19. Can I ask… are there any plans for the organisation to pay this (as they are able to if they make special arrangements) or are individuals expected to claim individually please?

A. (answer from Alan Pond) We have had similar questions raised in ENHCCG.


Previously the position was that tax relief could only be reclaimed if the employer required the staff member to work at home.  If the employee chose to work from home no relief was available.  However, the latest guidance on the GOV.UK website is clear that the employee can claim the relief if they are working from home because of coronavirus.  To claim, individuals need to complete a self-assessment return, i.e. deal directly with HMRC.


We will include the link from the GOV.UK website in the staff newsletter on Thursday

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