Staff briefing roundup

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

General update – Peter Wightman

  • Jane Halpin is keen to hold monthly ICS-wide staff briefings. This will help Jane share information and updates around the ICS plans more easily. Dates for these are being considered and we will share more with you when we have these.
  • Planning guidance for the coming year – The planning guidance, which includes performance targets, has been published and includes information around the next steps to take. The ICS can make a submission in response to the guidance by 6 May 2021, which could include recognising the NHS is still under pressure.
  • Emma Nicol said a first meeting has been held to review the planning guidance and there are lots of questions around the steer of the guidance in some areas. Recovery and wellbeing of staff must come first.
  • Christine Cornwall said she would like more clarity around what can be offered as commissioners around wellbeing of staff.
  • Peter
    • explained the three CCGs (Herts Valleys, West Essex and East and North Herts) held their very first Joint Board meeting in public last week (25 March). Each CCG then held its own individual Board meeting in public. There was a lot of positive feedback and it was interesting to hear the agendas from the other CCGs. It was useful to have a separate WECCG meeting.
    • We are expecting news on the ICS boundary in late May instead of late summer now. This is good as it will enable us to make progress ahead of the April 2022 deadline.
  • Stephen Fry shared some data around local COVID infection rates compared to the national average, and progress on the vaccination programme. Infection rates in Harlow, Epping and Uttlesford have risen slightly and are now just above the East of England levels. On a positive note all care home outbreaks have now closed.
    • Vaccinations – The majority of vaccination activity is currently in cohorts 1-9. About 30% of people in their early 50s have been vaccinated.  Despite the restricted supply of vaccine going forward we think we will still hit the April targets. Second dose vaccinations continue and about 50% of people who have had first doses in the early cohorts have had their second dose.
    • The Moderna vaccine rollout will begin in our area soon. This will start at Robertson House in Stevenage in very small numbers.
  • Anurita Rohilla explained the over 50s and at-risk groups are in cohorts 1-9, and everyone else is in cohorts 10-12.
    • PCN sites have been asked if they want to continue vaccinating cohorts 10-12. In our area, Epping Forest North PCN and Loughton, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell PCN have opted out and won’t be offering vaccinations to under 50s and people not at risk. We are looking into what provision we can offer.
    • The issue for PCN sites is filling appointment slots as most people are booking via the National Booking System. It is being considered as an option. There is currently no timeline for this.
  • PAH is stretched and there are still some staffing issues.
  • Peter explained there is still risk of a third wave, particularly among younger members of the community. There’s careful national messaging about having fun very carefully. We are not back to normal yet and we are still trying to stop the spread.

Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • A lot of work was going on last week to vaccinate people in the hard to reach groups. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Claire Cowdery who has been in turbo mode organising all this and Jey and his team at Lister House have been vaccinating homeless and rough sleepers.
  • We had a meeting with faith groups in Harlow last week We have further calls with frontline council staff in the next few days. Feedback we are getting is people are happy to get their vaccine. It’s just about when and where, so the issue isn’t so much due to hesitancy.
  • We are now in the pre-election period of purdah: This means we must be more careful about sharing certain types of information externally, so we don’t inadvertently influence the outcome of the elections. If you are planning on sharing something that is new, may be controversial or you’re unsure, please get in touch with me or Vanessa in the Communications team.
  • Peter: Thank you to everyone who has been working hard to get the vaccination programme out to people in the hard to reach groups.
  • Charlotte Mullins: Thank you to Nadia, who is leaving the CCG after one year. We are really sad to see her go. It’s been a strange year. Nadia joined us at the beginning of lockdown and now she is leaving towards the end of it. She has never had a desk at the CCG offices!
  • Anurita: Thank you Nadia – we couldn’t have got the Epping Forest vaccination site on the road without her! We will really miss her so thank you for stepping in when we really needed her!

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