Agenda item

Update on Health and Social Care Response to Covid-19


·         Local Infection Rates

·         Vaccination Programme and Testing

·         Access to Primary Care

·         Staff Resilience and Wellbeing


Presentation to follow.



The Sub-Committee received a presentation from the Directors of Public Health and Adult Social Care which provided an update on the latest Covid-19 figures in Harrow as well as the borough’s response to the pandemic.  This also included information on local infection rates, the vaccination program and testing, access to primary care and staff resilience and well-being.


The Director of Public Health outlined the presentation, focusing on a number of key points:


·                     Rate of infections in Harrow, at the time of the reporting stood at 118.6 per 100 000 of population, which had decreased by nearly 85% since January.  With the highest infection rates seen in 25- to 59-year-olds.  Those over 80 had also proved to be significant demographic when it came to infection rates.


·                     Testing had softened recently as expected with the reduction in the rate of infection reported in the community.  Actions to increase testing rates continued with promotions, public engagement, improved access to a new site at Kenton Rec and additional testing days at the Civic Centre.


·                     It was highlighted that those who were identified as ‘clinically vulnerable’ in Harrow increased to 21,400 as at 17 February 2021.


·                     Vaccination centres had been opened across three sites within Harrow and three smaller, pharmacy sites had also been opened.  A location for a mass vaccination site had been identified but was yet to be operational.  Roving teams had been working within Harrow to allow for mobile vaccinations for those who were house-bound or in care homes.  Recently, same day access clinics had been tested in low uptake areas


·                     Uptake of the vaccine had continued to be encouraged, especially with BAME groups as well as certain frontline council staff eligible for the vaccine.


·                     General Practice remained to be focused on the delivery of essential services, to ensure there was capacity for the delivery of the vaccination programme as well as provision for urgent and emergency care for patients.


·                     The eConsultation model was a key component to streamlining services such as receiving advice, booking/cancelling appointments and having a consultation with a healthcare professional.  These services allowed for patients to contact their GP from home without having to wait or take time out to travel to the practice.  Harrow CCG had committed funding through the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) for continued development of this strategy to take place.


·                     Surveys and continued meetings had taken place in Adult Services in order for staff resilience to be monitored.  This resulted in actions plans drawn up for issues to be addressed.  Wellbeing resources had been promoted with wellbeing having been a focus in daily/weekly meetings.


Members welcomed the update and in the followed discussion, asked a series of questions which were responded to as follows:


·                     A lot of engagement opportunities had been implemented with communities in Harrow.  The Community Champion Fund received £500,000 which was being used for community engagement.  This led to discussion on the role Councillors had when it came to engagement in their wards and for the measures to be continually adhered to especially when the end of lockdown was approaching.


·                     Listening to concerns from those who are hesitant, making sure information had been provided and for time to be allowed for those who might have been hesitant, was critical.


·                     Data in vaccination uptake was planned to be analysed.


·                     The vaccine had been offered to all frontline staff, The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had taken the approach of prioritising age when it came to the vaccination programme.  The move into cohort 6 had allowed for a greater flexibility when it came to providing the vaccine to those with non-physical conditions.


·                     Digital exclusion was an important issue that needed to be monitored, it was noted that telephone consultation would be the primary non face to face method with face-to-face appointments arranged if needed.  There should be a variety of methods in place to accommodate all users. 


·                     It was agreed that outreach programmes to encourage vaccination uptake within the younger population would need to be discussed.


·                     Uptake from care home workers was not as high as it could be, at 64% but engagement would be continued.


·                     There was not a cut-off point once an invitation for vaccination was sent, it was also noted that phone calls were encouraged to give people an opportunity to speak to a clinician.


·                     Though the supply chain process had improved over time it had not yet met its full potential, with scope to plan limited.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

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