Staff briefing roundup

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

General update – Rob Gerlis

COVID national and regional picture

  • NHS alert remains at level 3. The Government’s alert is at level 4. This means COVID-19 is in general circulation in the community, but transmission is high and rising quickly
  • The ‘R’ rate in the East of England is between 1.0 – 1.3, compared to the UK which is 1.1 – 1.5
  • The ‘Rule of six’ still applies in England but pubs and restaurants need to close at 10pm
  • The number of cases detected by testing in the last two weeks is 4,044 in the UK on 28 September, with a seven day average of 5,770 on 25 September (up from 2,600 on 11 September)
  • The total number of patients admitted to hospital has increased to 1,615 in England on 25 September, with daily deaths at 13 on 28 September
  • North of England and Midlands and the 20-29 age group have the highest concentrations of positive rates due to swab testing, though it is increasing in other age groups also

Local cases

  • All districts in Essex have had positive cases in the last 14 days, with a 7 day average number of positive cases 50% higher than a week ago
  • Epping Forest has reported the highest number of positive cases at 85, and the highest rate of 65 per 100,000 population over 14 days
  • Harlow has had 46 positive tests and Uttlesford, 47. In Essex, the total number of positive tests is 641
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital now has cases in ITU – they have had to move patients
  • 6 care homes in west Essex and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping have got confirmed COVID-19 cases

Farewell to James Roach – Rob Gerlis and Peter Wightman

  • Instrumental in getting the One Health and Care Partnership over the line – very helpful and a real driver
  • Great support in getting on top of PPE issues across the system
  • Wishing him all the best for the future and a big thank you from everyone at West Essex CCG

Local update – Ian

  • Testing – highest surrounding area with confirmed cases is Redbridge
  • There is a big pressure on the testing labs – this is relatively moderate in west Essex compared to the north of England
  • Lab capacity – trying to increase to approx. 2 million per day according to the government statement – this is driving the testing process but still limited against demand
  • There is a drive in Essex and Hertfordshire for fixed testing sites – but there needs to be lab capacity to process the tests.
  • We have been asked by PHE to increase mobile testing in Epping Forest – we have a unit in Epping, operating two days a week and as of Friday we will have one in Buckhurst Hill
  • A lack of testing units has had a knock on effect on routine testing for professionals visiting care homes – we have opened up critical key worker testing – testing for teachers, social care, fire fighters and other various key workers
  • Families of key workers can also be tested if they are symptomatic
  • Call 01702 742 172 or email Ian to book a test – for key workers and their families who are symptomatic ONLY
  • Home working – following government guidance, please continue to work from home unless you cannot do so
  • For those wanting to return, for whatever reason, you must complete the risk assessments
  • The office buildings are officially COVID-19 secure – we are signing off the final paperwork
  • For those working from home – you need to complete a working from home risk assessment – the deadline for all risk assessments is 16 October 2020
  • Flu jabs – we’ve booked the Board Room on Friday 9 October between 9am and 3.30pm for staff flu vaccinations. We will share details on how to book in tomorrow’s staff newsletter. We would ask that everyone completes a consent form before arriving for your appointment and make sure you arrive no more than five minutes before your appointment time to enable social distancing at Spencer Close
  • Bring a mask to wear in the Board Room
  • NHSE is encouraging all NHS organisations to try and reach for 100% vaccination coverage among staff, so please do consider this carefully
  • Appraisals and mandatory training – thanks to everyone who has already completed their mandatory training and signed off their appraisals.
  • Virtual family quiz night – we’ve had a few teams register for our next virtual quiz this Friday evening (2 October). It would be great to get a big crowd, so get your teams together and email the Comms team with your team name and the name of the team captain by midday Friday
  • Staff Room on MS Teams – And the most exciting news of the day is the new virtual staff room in MS Teams. You’ll find this by clicking on the ‘Teams’ icon underneath your ‘Chat’ icon in Teams. You can use this at any time of day to catch up with colleagues. All you have to do is click on the video icon at the top and you’re there. You can also use this space to run any clubs you’d like people to join. Just let everyone know in the chat what time it will run. You can also have a dedicated ‘Teams’ channel for regular clubs. Just speak to the Comms team and they will set you up

 Staff survey – Kamaljit Kaur

  • Staff survey launches next week (Monday 5 October)
  • It is being conducted by independent organisation, Picker – completely confidential survey; we wouldn’t be able to pick out who said what etc.
  • We are mindful it has been a difficult time for everyone due to COVID-19 – we want to hear your comments and thoughts
  • Launched BAME network and still feeding into Staff Partnership Group
  • We have the Employee Assistance Programme where you can also access personal and professional support

Staff Book club

  •  The next book club is meeting on 13 October at 12.30pm
  • They are currently reading Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
  • They will be using the new Staff room on Teams to have their next meeting
  • It would be great to see more people at the club. Please contact Judy Hiscott if you would like to join


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