Staff briefing roundup

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

Welcome – Rob Gerlis


Health inequalities – Ian Tompkins, Director of Corporate Services

  • The health inequalities work is part of the One Health and Care Partnership strategy (OHCP) and focuses on inequalities in health access and provision and prevention. The work includes input from the NHS, district and county councils, voluntary sector, and Healthwatch Essex
  • It’s also about sharing good practice and the work is similar to what is happening in northeast Essex and in Manchester. Topics include health behaviours, socioeconomic, clinical, social care and built environment
  • The work reflects national actions in the medium term
  • There are many opportunities for this work, including £500,000 funding that has come from the national outbreak management fund, which will help turbo boost some of the projects that come out of this such as mental health, lifestyle, and behaviour change
  • We are looking at making every contact at a GP practice count, and are working with Lister Medical Practice to see if we can offer some people coming in for their vaccinations a type of health MOT before they leave the surgery. This may happen in June
  • We are also looking at running a Healthy Harlow programme of events in conjunction with the county and district council and voluntary sector. It will also link to Harlow’s 75th anniversary
  • If you can think of any ideas that may help support this work or think your work ties in with these topics please do let me know.

Opthalmology – Louise Hehir, Senior Transformation Manager

  • I work in planned care which also includes urgent and emergency care, which you heard about last week. We work across many specialities
  • All the different elements are overseen by the Expert Oversight Group which includes different sectors, including secondary care
  • Demand for opthalmology services is growing – estimately by 12% in the next 10 years. The in CCG we are bringing in new pathways to manage this demand.
  • The first is MECS – Minor Eye Conditions Service. This is being implemented over the next three years through nine community ophthalmology practices. We have good coverage across west Essex.
  • Secondly our glaucoma services. We have seen 4,000 people so far. There are seven accredited glaucoma practices across west Essex that check for glaucoma symptoms and other conditions that lead to sight loss
  • Finally, we have our post-operative cataract pathway.
  • Peter – is there an opportunity for some of this work, such as MECS, to come together with health inequalities to find out if there are patterns in where this service is needed and access to health services?

COVID vaccination update – Stephen Fry

  • We are seeing positive vaccination numbers. The most movement is in the 30-35 age group and we are also seeing positive numbers for the second doses. The change from 12 week to eight week gap seems to be behind this.
  • Peter – There doesn’t seem to be a big trend in this area in relation to the Indian strain. Data from last week shows there have been no death as a result of COVID anywhere in west Essex in the last seven days

General update – Peter Wightman

  • There is increased demand for GP services and face-to-face appointments following the national announcement, which goes against social distancing and remote triaging. We are being supportive to GPs and sent a letter from Jane and the three MDs to offer support. There are stories of GPs going about their personal business and people haranguing them asking about why they can’t get an appointment. We are working with comms on this issue.
  • There is a lot of good work going on at the moment, including positive improvements to adult ADHD services, a new IAPT service that starts on 1 July, which will support practices with the demand for some mental health services.
  • We are briefing Harlow and Bishops Stortford MPs about the boundary issue. Jane Halpin had a meeting with a health minister yesterday to talk about this. We have been putting our case across to say it makes sense to keep things the way they are. However, ministers seem set on the idea of aligning with upper-tier local authorities
  • We met with Harlow Council members on Wednesday night last week to talk about vaccinations and held a meeting about the PAH new hospital yesterday.
  • The Joint CCG Boards will meet on Thursday in public, followed by the West Essex CCG Board

Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • Next week is National Volunteers Week. We would really like to celebrate this and showcase the work volunteers are doing. So if you have volunteered, know of anyone who volunteers, please get in touch with the comms team.
  • Staff survey – thanks to everyone who has responded. Had a great response so far – more than 137 people have completed the survey. There’s still time to complete it if you haven’t. Deadline is 5pm this Friday, 28 May. There is a story on AskHUE with a link to the survey. We will put a link to the story and survey on AskHUE in the chat.
  • Don’t forget to email Debra Smith if you have borrowed any equipment from the office to work at home, such as chairs, monitors, keyboards etc.

Goodbye to Claire Cowdery – Anurita Rohilla

  • Some of you will know Claire Cowdery is leaving on Thursday. Claire has been with us for 16 years and has always had a can-do attitude. She takes on every challenge and what she has done with social prescribing is amazing! Claire’s work with the county council is superb, as well as what she has done to work on health inequalities. I just don’t know what we are going to do without her. Claire is going on to Essex County Council where she will continue her fabulous work. She does all this and she is a mum to two children! We hope everyone will join me in saying a massive thank you to Claire for everything she has contributed. We are all going to miss her greatly. I haven’t even mentioned Harlow and everything she has done there!
  • Claire Cowdery – I’m finding it very emotional this week. I have learned so much and worked with brilliant people. Thank you Anurita for recruiting me. It’s been lovely with you – particularly over the last year. It’s been really rewarding and I will miss a lot of people, but I will keep in touch.
  • Rob Gerlis – All the very best Claire!
  • Karen Cakmack – Thank you Claire. I’d like to reflect what Anurita said – In the last couple of years it’s been amazing working with you. We have achieved so much in Harlow and the PCN we have valued you and your work so much. We will miss you!

Welcome – Joanne Reay

  • I’d like to welcome Jolaade Olawaye to the team. Jolaade is covering for Libby while she is on maternity leave.
  • Most movement has been in the 40 to 50 bracket which is going really well. A decline in supply of first doses, not due until later in May, is now expected this week due to the situation in India affecting Astrazeneca supply. There is enough stock, regardless of supply, to give first doses to cohort 10 as and when that is opened


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