City of York Council

Committee Minutes


City of York Outbreak Management Advisory Board


7 April 2021


Councillors Aspden (Chair), Runciman (Vice-Chair) and D Myers


Ian Floyd - Chief Operating Officer, CYC

Sharon Stoltz - Director of Public Health, CYC

Amanda Hatton - Corporate Director of People, CYC

Sian Balsom - Manager, Healthwatch York

Marc Bichtemann - Managing Director, First York

Lucy Brown - Director of Communications, York & Scarborough Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

James Farrar - Local Enterprise Partnership

Prof. Charlie Jeffery - Vice Chancellor and President– University of York

Julia Mulligan - North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner

Beverly Proctor – Chief Executive, Independent Care Group (Substitute for Mike Padgham)

Alison Semmence - Chief Executive, York CVS

Lisa Winward – Chief Constable, North Yorkshire Police












In Attendance

Phil Mettam - Track & Trace Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Simon Padfield - Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health England

Mike Padgham - Indepdendent Care Group

Stephanie Porter - Director of Primary Care, NHS Vale of York CCG

Dr Sally Tyrer - General Practitioner, North Yorkshire Local Medical Committee


Anita Dobson – Nurse Consultant for Public Health, CYC

Claire Foale - Head of Communications, Customer Services and Digital, CYC

Fiona Phillips – Assistant Director of Public Health, CYC

Ruth Thompson – Managing Director, York Inspirational Kids

Professor Mike Holmes – Partner, Haxby Group (York/Hull/Scarborough)




123.    Declarations of Interest


Board Members had no interests to declare.




124.    Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 March 2021


There were no matters arising from the previous minutes. The Board signed off the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting held on 17 March 2021.




125.    Current Situation in York


Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director of Public Health, reported that the validated Covid rate in York had dropped to 15.7. As the rates decreased it became easier to identify any rises and patterns in the data.


Fiona informed the Board that York had the lowest rate in the region and ninth lowest in the country. Unfortunately there had been 386 deaths among York residents, but this was still a lower rate than had been seen nationally. She also reported that over half of the adult population in York had received their first dose of the vaccine.


The Board noted the update.




126.    Presentation: Overview of Supporting People to Access the Covid Vaccination


Anita Dobson, Nurse Consultant for Public Health at City of York Council, reported the vaccination programme to be a great example of the city coming together to provide vaccines to our priority groups. She had been working to reduce some of the barriers for people when trying to access vaccinations. Anita also reported that, since the Moderna vaccine could be rolled out next week, training for staff in the various processes around storage and administration had been organised.


Professor Mike Holmes discussed the arising concerns seen in the media around the AstraZeneca vaccine as there was a slight risk it might cause blood clots.  Both the National and European governments had investigated these claims, and suggested its continued use due to the minuscule risk. However, the 18-30 cohort should be offered a different vaccine as there was a higher risk of blood clots the younger you were.


Anita also reported that work was being progressed in partnership with the CCG, Nimbuscare and community leaders to understand people’s specific issues and address any inequalities in the vaccination programme. The contact tracers were receiving training around how to approach vaccine hesitancy. More questions had been added to their script to understand what an individual’s barriers were towards the vaccine. Anita informed the Board that Public Health England (PHE) training had been offered to both the contact tracing team and the local area coordinators.


Sian Balsom, Manager of Healthwatch York, asked whether psychological support was being offered to people who were terrified of needles. She thought this shouldn’t be underestimated as it could be a main factor in vaccine hesitancy. Anita assured the Board that the training provided by PHE supported staff to engage in one to one discussions with residents to allay any fears they might have around vaccination.


Marc Bitchemann, Managing Director of First York, informed the Board that the First Bus website now detailed which bus route went to which vaccination site. In order to help foster connectedness all bus routes, not just First, had been added to the website.


The Board discussed whether any trends could be found in the Humber Coast and Vale level data. The Chair suggested developing a similar report but at a York level.  Anita assured the Board that the patterns, barriers and facilitators had been found to be the same across the region.


Action: The Board agreed a further update report should be developed and brought to a future meeting.


The Board noted the update and presentation.  The presentation has been added to the agenda papers on the website.





127.    Presentation:  York Vaccination Centre: Good Practice For People with Learning Disabilities


Ruth Thompson, Managing Director of York Inspirational Kids, gave a presentation around the vaccination support they had been offering families who had a child with a disability. She explained that they supported most disabilities from learning to physical and that ages ranged from birth to twenty-five years.  Additional support had to be organised for this cohort as some were struggling to have the vaccine administered.  This was mainly because there were a lot of people queuing and even though it was quick, waiting in line amongst a crowd caused some distress. After a site visit with Nimbuscare, it had been decided that a separate area was needed for the learning disabled.  They had also decided to have the appointments fifteen minutes apart instead of five, to have less congestion on site.  Ruth reported that positive feedback had been received on these arrangements.


Ruth reported that she had been in contact with York Wheels and Dial a Ride to establish accessible transport routes.  This had been offered to parents and had proved very successful.  She hoped the same could be achieved for the younger cohorts. 


The Board noted the update and presentation.  The presentation has been added to the agenda papers on the website.  




128.    York Test and Trace Update


Fiona Phillips reported that the latest model of lateral flow testing had now gone live.  She explained that there had been a move to a mixed model where tests could be either collected or administered on site.  If a resident was unsure how to carry out home testing effectively, staff on site would provide a demonstration and talk through the process to ensure the quality of testing was maintained.


Fiona also reported that the eligibility criteria had been removed, meaning anyone could now get tested.  The only group that was not being recommended for regular testing was children below secondary school age.


Fiona informed the Board of the work that had been progressed in partnership with McArthurGlen.  Workplace testing was being set up for their staff to help ensure a safe reopening of the retail outlet. Other, smaller, businesses had been able to register for testing as a workplace through the government website.  Three thousand tests had been carried out so far throughout the various workplace testing programmes.


Fiona reported that the local contact tracing service had moved on to zero hour cases, meaning we were able to trace a case’s contacts immediately after their details had been inputted into the system.  Through residents being more comfortable to answer a 01904 number with local staff to answer queries and follow-up questions, we had managed to contact 95% of all cases in York. Locally we were more able to recognise and identify one household, meaning only one call was needed instead of calling every tenant three times.


The Board noted the update.




129.    LGA Outbreak Management Peer Challenge Feedback Report


Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health at City of York Council, reported that the peer challenge had been very successful.  Sharon presented an overview of the report to the Board.  The review had taken place over two days, looking into all elements of our outbreak plan and speaking to more than 40 colleagues across all our agencies in York.  Through evidence gathered in focus groups, one to one meetings and documents, 145 hours had been spent evaluating York’s Covid response.


The report noted how Health and Social Care staff had worked hard throughout the pandemic, and recognised that the council needed to reflect on how it could support the resilience of staff. Sharon assured the Board that a cross-council group led by the Human Resource team had already been progressing work around this.  Sharon also noted the recent Mental Health Summit, at which mental wellbeing had been a focus of discussion.


Sharon reported that the Public Health Team had now been established as a team within the centre of the organisation, reporting directly to Ian Floyd.  Conversations were already being held around how public health could be further integrated across the council.


Action: Sharon agreed to bring back a progress update on the recommendations to a future meeting.


The Board noted the update.




130.    Refresh of the Outbreak Control Plan


As the Department of Health and Social Care required the Outbreak Control Plan to be refreshed, Sharon Stoltz presented the draft of the refreshed plan to the Board.  She asked for feedback to be sent back to her by the 16th April 2021.  Sharon explained that the core elements of the plan are the same but new sections had been added.  The final version would come to the next meeting in May for final sign off.  The council’s Executive would then adopt it once it had been presented to their meeting in June.


The Board noted the update.




131.    Communications Update


Claire Foale, Head of Communications, Customer Services and Digital at City of York Council, gave an update regarding the Outbreak Communications Plan and what had been progressed since the last meeting.  She explained that key messages in the campaign around hands, face and space had stayed the same but had been updated with an additional point about fresh air.  Along with the Outbreak Control Plan, the Outbreak Communication Plan had also been refreshed. Claire explained that the core elements were the same but an additional phase of safety recovery has been added.  The work that had been developed with the behavioural insight specialists would feature in the additional phase.


Public Health England (PHE) had reviewed the existing signage to decide whether it needed updating.  As most people now understood the basic restrictions, signage had been simplified to have less information with direct messages.  Claire also reported that a webinar had taken place for businesses with outdoor spaces to understand what had been good for both residents and visitors alike.  Claire added that businesses had also been supported through a guide the council had developed to help prepare for a safe reopening.


The Board noted the update.




132.    Update from Sub-Group: Universities and Higher Education establishments


Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of York,expressed concern over the uncertainty of when in-person teaching will return.  If this did not occur until 17 May it would be too late, as the term would have ended by then. Another major uncertainty for the universities was whether students would be eligible for home testing kits, as no guidance had been received around this.  Fiona Phillips assured the Board that students would be included as a part of the city-wide test collection offer.


The Board noted the update.




133.    Items for Next Agenda


The Chair confirmed that there were three standing items for all future agendas:

·        Current Situation in York

·        Communications and engagement

·        Updates from Sub-Group/ Task and Finish Groups


The Board agreed that the updated plan should be presented at a future meeting.




134.    Dates of Future Meetings


The agreed dates of future meetings were as follows:

·        19 May 2021




135.    Any Other Business


The Board had no other business to discuss.


Julia Mulligan informed the Board that this was her last meeting.  The Chair expressed his thanks for her contributions.








Cllr K Aspden, Chair

[The meeting started at 5.30 pm and finished at 6.58 pm].




























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