Staff briefing roundup

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

Welcome – Rob Gerlis

General update – Peter Wightman

  • A reminder the next ICS wide briefing is on 9 November, so please put the date in your diary and email any questions or concerns you would like raised to the Communications team
  • You are also invited to a series of virtual listening events to get perspectives on how we want to work as an ICS. Please do book on to these, as it is really important. There are six sessions to choose from and you can book via ASKHUE
  • We are still waiting to hear if we will be called an Integrated Care System or Integrated Care Board as this is not yet clear
  • Regional director Ann Radmore is retiring in March and accountable officer interviews continue. Jane Halpin had hers last week and a second candidate will be interviewed between 5 and 8 November with stakeholder panels – this is a key decision point within the transition
  • Primary care has been in the news this week – extra funding been supplied for GP access and there is a need to use that money wisely
  • Government messages have been a bit tricky in looking at the bottom performing practices and this is quite flawed as a proposition with the BMA nationally and Essex LMC having reacted strongly against this
  • While trying our best not to get in the middle of this, we are starting to look at the data
  • GP appointments are being measured but the team is so much more than just the GP, so we need to go beyond that to see what is being delivered
  • Emergency care pressures continue
  • We approved a care co-ordination business case last week and since this is a really exciting step, involving EPUT, ECC and PAH, so it would be good to speak at this meeting in greater depth about this soon
  • Louise Hall – yes this will put us on the map if we can get the tech investment we need, it really will
    change things fundamentally so it will be great to have an opportunity to share that with everyone

Vaccination update – Marius Van der Lith

  • 10 to 15 days ago the COVID prevalence rate looked fairly similar against the districts. Uttlesford is now of particular concern as its prevalence rate has more than doubled in comparison to the other districts within that period of time so is probably going to be facing the biggest challenge
  • Rob Gerlis – we need to bear in mind this is a big area
  • Anurita Rohilla – the population in Uttlesford is different, they may be testing more so it could be the other districts are as high but they are not testing as much, we don’t know how many people are testing per population
  • Marius Van Der Lith – you are absolutely right, there is a higher rate of testing in Uttlesford
  • Peter Wightman – another indicator is how many beds are being occupied in PAH as they were starting to go up
  • Louise Hall – it is up to 37 today, so it is quite a significant jump
  • Peter Wightman – that is quite a step change and the boosters now start to become a really important intervention for us

Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • There is a big push on boosters at the moment. If you meet the criteria for having a booster book one and get it done, they are open to all those over 50, vulnerable people and frontline staff but it has to be given at least six months (182 days) since your second dose.  PAH will do a flu clinic for staff on Tuesday 2 November in the Board Room at Spencer Close. We will confirm appointments by the end of the week. More information on AskHUE
  • Rob Gerlis – remember, the fluchanges each year and this is why we have to have the jab annually. We were lucky it was a relatively light year for flu plus many were isolating, there was no social interaction and people were wearing masks. There is concern it will be different this year
  • Early indications – flu will make a comeback; people are not wearing masks as much and people getting tired of having vaccines and all of that could be a possible perfect storm for a flu epidemic and remember it is a dangerous condition – different to COVID. Flu can also cause many problems including affecting the heart
  • I have gone back to putting my mask on again in shops – partly because it is good for workers but there is increasing evidence these do stop particles being transmitted and offer a degree of protection. If you are offered a flu jab – get it
  • Marius Van der Lith – flu jab uptake is high in care homes and amongst pregnant people. The ambition is to have everyone in west Essex vaccinated by January
  • Half of staff have completed the NHS Staff Survey and this remains open until 26 November – if you have not had your link check your junk mail or email the HR advisory team
  • Sign your team up for the Halloween/Bonfire night family quiz taking place on Thursday 4 November by emailing the Communications team

Welcome new starters

  • Ian Tompkins – welcome to Dawn Rumsey. Iolanda has been on loan doing vaccine comms from the Cancer team. Dawn is now here to get us over the line in the next few months with the programme
  • Dawn Rumsey – I have been working with a company who was with Reuters and was doing communications and IT and I also have a PR background

Your questions

Clodagh Hewins – does anyone know if there are further plans to give CYP aged 12-17 a second dose? Many young people (16-17 years) are getting frustrated that when they had their first dose they were advised to book their second and when they have gone to do this are finding they have to be 17 years 9 months to be eligible?

Rob Gerlis – at the moment they don’t know whether immunity for young people lasts – they are waiting for the data to come through so they can work out if it is needed based on how long immunity lasts

Melanie Mavers – there is a significant amount of anxiety within the public about boosters and third primary doses. We have had a lot of queries – quite a few through MPs

Rob Gerlis – generally it is going well but there are some little glitches with booking and eligible people being told they aren’t etc, but we just need to keep an eye on it

Melanie Mavers – concern over third doses as these can’t be recorded as 3rd primary doses yet, but this is being worked on

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