Staff briefing roundup

Here’s a summary of what was covered in today’s staff briefing…

General update – Peter Wightman

  • Phasing out of Webex and Skype soon – more details will soon be available on AskHUE
  • COVID-19 regional picture – ‘R’ rate is between 0.8 and 1 in the East of England
  • National alert remains at level 3
  • Local positive cases since 5 July – Epping Forest  7; Harlow 2; and Uttlesford 4. Total in Essex is 191 (up from previous weeks)
  • Hospital beds in Essex – Number of patients in hospital with COVID is falling. Essex NHS Trusts have been at 67.8% capacity with 1.5% of these beds taken by COVID patients and 1.3% suspected COVID patients
  • Deaths from all causes have returned to normal levels with 21 of 207 deaths attributed to COVID in the week ending 3 July in Essex
  • People are getting out and about a bit more now though still not back to levels we were seeing before COVID and weekends are still quieter
  • Schools have broken up now for the holidays, so families may get out to beaches and parks a bit more
  • Park usage has increased beyond pre-COVID levels
  • Important to remember the virus hasn’t gone away and everyone should continue with regular handwashing and maintaining social distancing when they are going out
  • Each of us is an ambassador for the NHS – important to follow and reiterate it to others
  • Government is keen for the country to get back to some normality with working but we are still taking this slowly and making sure people can work safely if they choose to come into the office
  • No immediate change to advice given to staff at the CCG – but under review
  • Geographical pattern of the cases in the UK:
  • Braintree – large numbers have been recorded recently
  • General pattern remains very similar
  • Meeting weekly as joint exec team for Herts and West Essex
  • Discussing the next stages and have settled on the governance of the Integrated Care System (ICS)
  • Good ICP meeting this week with EPUT, ECC and PAH
  • Discussions on:
    • Hospital strategy – flow in and out of hospital and prevention
    • Where is best for ICS to be leading and implementing
    • Enablers such as digitals, estates, population health management –will happen across the ICS patch but service delivery more
  • Working with the three district councils Chief Executives
  • Discussions on the phasing out of the furlough situation – this will have a significant impact on employment across the 3 areas
  • Forecast employment impact – Stansted – more significantly across age groups rather than job levels
  • Keen to do something practical to help


Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • Test and trace – there is no doubt there will be some sporadic local outbreaks
  • Directors of public health within local authorities have devised a local outbreak plan
  • Yesterday – West Essex CCG took part in multi-agency test – tested scenarios based on real situations from elsewhere in the UK (not in WE)
  • Discussed how far we go to stop a local lockdown – perhaps have certain areas of lockdown rather than whole town
  • We need good quality information, data, comms and intelligence so that we can make decisions effectively
  • Working together and sharing information and finding joint solution to ensure no surprises and adopt a consistent approach
  • There are notes to come of these discussions – will share if this is possible
  • Individual risk assessment:
    • 60% have been completed – urge you to complete these ASAP
    • Line managers to submit to HR by 24 July at the very latest
  • Working from home:
    • Still following government guidance – working from home unless you cannot
    • Looking at cleaning contract – cleaners should be able to come in and wipe every surface to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
    • Sanitisers have been placed across the buildings
  • Antibody testing update
    • If you haven’t already registered and want to there is a link on AskHUE. A story featured in the staff update yesterday and will again in tomorrow’s newsletter, so keep a look out for the link. There is no need to download the app.
    • Around 1,500 staff in west Essex have already had a test
    • Starting to widen it out to social care, care homes and domiciliary workers – approximately 29-30k people
    • Working with Mid and North Essex to have a mobile service for this testing
    • One off basis for antibody testing – no plans to do regular/routine testing
    • Average positive results around 20%
    • Looking into how we implement flu vaccine programme
    • With the rise of any potential COVID-19 vaccines we will be looking at how best to roll this out
  • Face masks
    • Government announced last week they need to be worn in shops from this Friday (24 July)
    • Make sure you have yours – the shops can refuse you entry if you’re not wearing one.
    • There are exemptions for wearing face masks. Look on the GOV.UK website for details
  • Teams meeting guidance/etiquette – details will be available on AskHUE tomorrow

Toni Coles

  • Out of hospital strategy – will demonstrate how we plan to deliver integration
  • New hospital build – plan for new hospital 2025
  • Trying to secure the £580 million needed for this
  • Set to be located between M11 – Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Outline business case is due December followed by a full business case 12 months later
  • Schedule of accommodation to be signed off in September
  • Urgent treatment centre – this is currently integrated within site, but decision needs to be made on whether it is to be moved to the new hospital or based locally in central Harlow – Expert oversight group to be set up
  • Decisions: Access to diagnostics – expecting demand to increase, decision on where is this to be located needs to be confirmed as it needs to be more accessible within the community
  • Good progress is being made so far


Any other business  

  • Book club: If you enjoy reading and sharing your experiences with friends afterwards, then join the Book Club which takes place between 3pm and 3.30pm once a month. The next club meeting is on 28 July and the book being discussed is The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared – Jonas Jonasson. Email Judy Hiscott for more information
  • AGM – next Thursday (30 July) – first virtual meeting
  • Frequency of staff briefing – we plan to keep it weekly for now
  • Remember to support colleagues – keep looking after each other virtually
  • Check payslip – ensure everything is correct. If you have any issues contact Ian confidentially and he will follow up


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