Mrs C Selkirk, Executive Director for Health Improvement, Kent & Medway CCG (KMCCG) was in attendance for this item.
1. Mrs Selkirk introduced the agenda paper and updated the Committee that since publication, a fourth vaccination centre had opened at the Saga Centre in Thanet. She drew attention to the paper’s community services focus, following on from previous Member interest.
2. Mrs Selkirk noted that whilst critical care services had been under immense pressure due to the pandemic, this had begun to ease in line with the lowering infection rate. However, she warned that whilst planned elective care was beginning to get underway, staff were owed leave and therefore timescales would not return to normal immediately.
3. Community Hospitals were seeing an almost 100% occupancy rate, which was unusual for the sector, and this pressure was likely to continue for some time.
4. Discussion around vaccinations included:
i. General staff take-up had been high, and health providers were working with hesitant staff to understand what barriers existed and how these could be overcome.
ii. The number of people being contacted by both central and local vaccination centres (leading to confusion and duplication) was reducing as the processes became embedded.
iii. A national database was recording details of who had received (and declined) a vaccine.
iv. GP practices would be in contact with individuals once their vaccines were due.
v. Generally, individuals would go to the location of their first dose in order to receive their second, but the CCG would try to redirect anomalies where people had travelled a long way.
vi. There had been a shortage recently of vaccine in the area, but staff were utilising the downtime to contact those who had so far declined to have the vaccine.
vii. Local health leaders were talking at least daily to the national centre to work out vaccine supply and demand.
viii. There was no cut-off date for vaccination groups and individuals whose cohort had already been vaccinated were still able to receive it.
ix. The local NHS was reaching out to communities with low uptake, looking for ways to reduce barriers by using mobile sites and mosques for delivery.
x. Local health partners had been pro-actively vaccinating individuals with learning disabilities.
xi. Councillors could play a key role in encouraging their communities to get vaccinated.
5. Responding to concerns around mental health, Mrs Selkirk explained there had been additional work undertaken in this area, particularly in relation to support for children and young people. A Mental Health Learning Disability and Autism Improvement Board had been established which looked at services offered across all age groups, from the perspectives of clinicians and system leaders.
6. Highlighting two key areas for concern, Mrs Selkirk spoke of the ongoing challenge of children and young people’s mental health (an area under scrutiny by HOSC) as well as eating disorders. The Board were looking into these areas and would be happy to provide further details in due course.
7. In terms of elective surgery and working through the backlog of patients waiting for treatment, Mrs Selkirk confirmed providers were commencing elective surgery, but that staff availability was key, and many staff were owed annual leave. They were also working with the independent sector.
8. Finally, asked if staff attrition rates had been impacted by the pandemic, Mrs Selkirk confirmed absence rates were dropping and generally they had witnessed record numbers of people applying to work with the NHS.
9. RESOLVED that the Committee considered and noted the report.