Staff briefing roundup

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

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

Update from Jane Halpin

  • Resolution on the ICS boundary issues – a letter went out to all staff last Thursday
  • The new Secretary of State determined the ICS boundaries will remain as they are
  • What’s next? – it will start to feel much more real in terms of how we bring things together and reinforce place-based working – we want to build and strengthen relationships
  • A Transition group has been pulled together. The first meeting is on 12 August. There will be a range of people across all the different directorates to plan our joint future
  • We expect to see guidance regarding the transition. We have set up an ICS intranet, a single place for us to see all new information/updates
  • Rob Gerlis – ICS boundaries – it was not a uniform decision, there were changes in other areas in the UK
  • We still need to carry on with the One Health and Care Partnership, as well as reinforce our positive working relationships with Essex
  • It is not about sides, or one side ‘winning’ – we still want to arrange a meeting with Essex partners

Vaccination update – Stephen Fry

  • Another fairly slow week – under 30s have tipped over 60%
  • Second doses are going up across the board
  • Epping and Harlow’s prevalence generally falling
  • Uttlesford has still slightly increased but should start to tail off
  • There have been three deaths locally, but nationally deaths are still increasing
  • Jane Halpin – still waiting to hear information about the booster vaccine information e.g. whether we can give both the flu and COVID booster at the same time
  • We are already seeing higher rates of wheezing and respiratory issues in children – this usually occurs in the autumn

Operational update – Michelle Bullman

  • Flooding at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) last week and the beginning of this week
  • It has been the most pressured our systems have been
  • In the hospital last week we were seeing results of last week’s peak – up to 32 patients in the trust and 5 in the ITU
  • We had several days of no critical care capacity at all
  • From Thursday onwards, the trust has been operating on OPEL 4
  • Our red Emergency Department was completely full and corridors and COVID wards were full
  • Plans to create an extra ward
  • We were significantly hit by the floods over the weekend, with the whole hospital badly affected. We did manage to recover but lost all of our same-day emergency care pathways, as the areas were not useable
  • We are on a recovery track today (27 July)
  • The ambulance service were on the highest level of pressure (level 4) – very badly affected across the whole ICS, but particularly PAH
  • 15-17 ambulances queuing last week
  • ECC partners remain on very high-pressure level
  • Out of hours (HUC) have been on OPEL 4. They have seen 126% increase on their expected call levels
  • We are on track to recovery, although we are flatlining. Our forecasting does show we are likely to see rising COVID numbers

Spotlight on…

Local update – Ian Tompkins

Returning to the office

  • At the moment, we’re asking everyone to continue as they have been – to continue working from home unless they really need to come into the office
  • Buildings 1, 2, and 3 are being used for the vaccination programme and will continue to be, so we only have Building 4 open to staff
  • Looking ahead we expect there to be a mixture of home working and office working, but we need a few weeks to put some measures in place, including a booking system for visits to the office
  • We’re just waiting on national guidance around safety measures in NHS settings before we make any changes. Once we have these, we can work out the next steps, how we can do this, and share it with you
  • If you do need to come into the office, please make sure you let Jackie Hall on reception know in advance. Sign in when you arrive at Spencer Close reception and when you leave the office, clear the desk you use completely – please do not leave your belongings at the desk or in the office when you leave

Update on vaccination walk-in clinics

  • The latest walk-in and pop up clinics happening this week are on the My Health Essex website
  • Please share with family and friends who haven’t yet been vaccinated
  • These sites are open to everyone aged over 18
  • No ID needed, no appointment needed, just turn up
  • People don’t have to be registered with a GP

Thank you

The Incident Management Team and Toni Coles would like to say a huge thank you to Michelle Bullman for her helpful and constructive support.

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