1) The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Mrs Bell, gave an update on the following issues:
Symptom Free Covid-19 Testing
It was reported that symptom-free Covid-19 testing was operational at 19 sites across districts in Kent. Another 5 sites were to open to reach the target of 2 testing sites in each district of Kent by the end of January 2021.
It was recommended for people to undertake testing every 2 weeks, particularly critical workers or those needing to leave their homes regularly. By 15 January 2021, 93862 lateral flow tests had been conducted and 956 tests had come back as positive for Covid-19.
Mrs Bell said that she had taken a test herself at the Ashford Eurogate site. She said that her experience was that the centre operated very efficiently and safely and she thanked Public Health officers, the KCC property team and army personnel for all their hard work.
There were job vacancies at the testing centres and people were encouraged to apply to assist at the symptom free testing sites.
The tests could be booked via: www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest
Better Health Campaign
KCC was supporting the national Better Health Campaign, which encouraged healthier lifestyles, losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake. Information on the campaign was available on the One You webpage.
NHS Confederation Report – Health on the High Street
The NHS Confederation had produced a report at the end of 2020 called Health on the High Street, which looked at how the NHS could work with local authorities and support high street regeneration. The report considered how information and support could be provided where people are shopping, etc, and looked at using properties on the high street to deliver services.
The report showcased the One You shop in Ashford which had between 400-500 visitors each month prior to the pandemic. The shop was operated by the Kent Community Health Foundation Trust, with funding from KCC and the premises was provided by Ashford Borough Council.
It had been reported in September 2020 that there was a waiting list for smoking cessation services for the first time due to the pandemic. Third party providers (GP and pharmacy) had ceased their delivery of support as their work was diverted to support the pandemic. Service capacity was increased by offering telephone, digital sessions and the My Quit Route app. The waiting list was reduced to 21 as of the week which commended 2 January 2021 from 407 in September 2020 and the longest waiting time had been reduced to one week.
There had been 182 referrals in January 2021 and work was ongoing to increase capacity as it was envisaged third party providers would not be able to restart services due to involvement in the vaccination programme for Covid-19.
Health Visiting Service
In line with the national guidance, the health visiting checks had been put on hold in March 2020 apart from high-risk families. For this reason, there had been a significant drop in performance. A ‘catch up’ programme has been delivered and take up had been good. It was expected that performance would be as expected for Quarter 3.
Baby Friendly Services
Kent’s children’s centres had been awarded ‘Baby Friendly’ accreditation following an audit conducted by UNICEF which looked at breast feeding support and advice. The audit assessed staff knowledge and skills and families were interviewed about the care they had received. 100% of clients had reported that they were happy with the support they had received.
2) The Director for Public Health, Mr Scott-Clark gave an update on the following issue:
Health and Europe Centre
Work was ongoing with the Health and Europe Centre and a board meeting had taken place on 20 January 2021. KCC were directly involved with projects including the Dwell project, which aimed to reduce the impact of diabetes and work was being undertaken around sexual health.
Some projects had been impacted by the pandemic and work was to continue until around March 2024, funded by the European Union.