Agenda and minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting
Contact: Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
Board Members had no interests to declare.
There were no matters arising from the previous minutes.
The Board signed off the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting held on 7th July 2021.
Peter Roderick, Consultant in Public Health, gave a presentation on the current COVID-19 situation in York.
The presentation provided the following key data:
· We were now in stage 4 of the national roadmap and many restrictions had been lifted.
· The latest official “validated” rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 12.8.21 to 18.8.21 in York was 343.1 (724 cases). The national and regional averages at this date were 324.2 and 363.5 respectively (using data published on Gov.uk on 23.8.21).
· The rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 12.8.21 to 18.8.21 for people aged 60+ in York was 190.3 (95 cases). The national and regional averages were 137.1and 189.3 respectively.
· As at 20.8.21 there were 23 people with Covid in a General / Acute bed and 4 in ITU
· In the most recent period (Week 31: 31.7.21 to 6.8.21) One Covid-19 death was recorded as having occurred for CYC residents. There have been 105 ‘excess deaths’ in York since the start of the 2020 (using the 2015-2019 weekly average number of deaths as the comparator)
Additionally the presentation contained information about the number of 111 triages; local contact tracing and the lateral flow testing for York residents.
There were a number of questions about the presentation from Board members, including:
· Is there any knowledge of the extent of the problem around Long COVID? In response it was confirmed that there was active work going on around Long COVID and there had been some funding to help with this. There was a Long COVID clinic and access to this was through Primary Care, via a GP
· How big a problem is under-reporting? In response the board were informed that under-reporting had always been an issue and led to an increase in infection rates
· Are hospital admission rates and deaths comparable to those we would see from seasonal flu? Death rates were below the summer level of mortality and lower than they would be in winter. However, the hospital was under pressure with an increase in both general and COVID admissions and presentation at A & E.
[Note: the slides from this presentation have now been published online in an agenda supplement.]
The Director of Primary Care at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group presented the paper included within the agenda pack and also provided the Board with some more up to date information. This covered:
· Background information and the current position regarding the flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination programme: Currently about 82% of York residents have had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Students returning to the universities and international students will be offered the vaccine (if they haven’t already been vaccinated). The Vice-Chancellor of York University told the Board that they were beginning to gather data from both new and returning students and there was early indication that vaccine hesitancy was not of concern. There was no suggestion that there was a low uptake of the vaccine from international students. A further update would be provided once more data had been gathered.
· Phase 3 COVID-19 boosters and seasonal flu vaccinations for this winter: primary care and community pharmacy will be the delivery point for seasonal flu vaccinations and planning is underway. People will be called for their flu vaccine based on age and eligibility. There are ongoing discussions in primary care about how best to administer the flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine and the COVID booster vaccination programmes alongside each other.
· Addressing inequalities and access to vaccination services.
· Risks and issues.
The Consultant in Public Health, along with some Board members, presented a number of slides included within the agenda pack.
The slides provided information on the impact of easing COVID-19 restrictions in the following areas:
· Public Protection
· Community Safety
· Children’s Social Care
· Adult Social Care
· York Hospital
· Community and Voluntary Sector
Some of the key points highlighted were:
· York appeared to be taking a sensible approach to the lifting of restrictions with many still wearing face coverings in indoor and busy settings.
· There were concerns around the quality and sustainability of some employment opportunities as well as concerns around matching skills to the employment vacancies available in the City.
· There was an increase in demand for children’s social care services along with a change in the complexity of those coming forward. However, it was noted that it was positive that people were coming forward for early help.
· There was a rise in complex mental and emotional wellbeing problems within children’s services.
· There were major workforce issues and challenges around recruiting experienced social workers and other staff in adult social care. Work was ongoing around how to attract people to work in York.
· The health and social care system was under pressure and this was a national issue.
· The hospital had seen a rise in attendances and admissions which was not usual for this time of year.
· There were workforce challenges within the hospital setting exacerbated by both long term vacancies and staff needing to self-isolate.
· Routine work was taking place in the hospital but this had to be done in a safe way to avoid COVID infections within the hospital environment.
· In terms of the voluntary sector; many charities were using their reserve funds to continue operating. There had been two charity closures within the last month and another very close to having to close. There had been an increase in demand, more complex cases and fewer staff and volunteers to provide voluntary sector services. At a time when the voluntary sector is needed more than ever it is struggling. The sector has its own workforce issues and as many contracts are short term it is difficult to recruit.
A Board member asked a question around the ability of the Council to maintain statutory services within adults’ and children’s social care, especially as some grants would stop soon. It was confirmed that work was happening around this and the system was doing its best to work together in partnership; however the whole system was under great pressure. A paper was being prepared at a regional level that could be used to ‘lobby’ against the cessation of grants and to highlight the pressures within the system.
Comments were made about the impacts on primary care and the pressures on this particular workforce; the fatigue they were experiencing and the significant backlog of work as a result of the pandemic situation.
It was also acknowledged, in response to a question from a Board member, that those that could confidently navigate the ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
The Assistant Director of Policy and Strategy at City of York Council commented on work that was taking place to advertise York as a good place to work and it was hoped that this would benefit the whole system and lead to employment vacancies being filled.
The Board the received a presentation, contained within the agenda papers, that highlighted some of the communications and campaigns that had recently taken place in relation to COVID-19 and the lifting of restrictions. It also mentioned work being undertaken to support the vaccination programme; work to support residents ‘mental and emotional wellbeing; a ‘deconditioning campaign’ to encourage residents to exercise more; testing for children to return to school and the new self-isolation rules.
A Board member highlighted a query around 16 and 17 year olds and how best to inform them about the vaccination programme; including how to access a vaccine. It was agreed further work needed to be done around the best social media platforms to use, and further information about this would be included as part of the communications update to the next meeting.
Items for Next Agenda
Dates of Future Meetings
The next meeting date was 29 September 2021. It was proposed that the meeting cycle thereafter change to once every two months, with confirmation/review of this being considered at the September meeting.
Any Other Business
The Board had no other business to discuss.