Agenda item

Verbal updates by Cabinet Member and Director


  1. The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Mrs Clair Bell, gave a verbal update on the following:  

Level Three Cold Weather warning – As part of the warn-and-inform responsibilities, Public Health had issued a cold weather alert during the previous week and were urging residents to follow simple steps to keep warm, and to help vulnerable families, friends and neighbours stay safe. 

Additional Funding for Drug and Alcohol Treatment – Mrs Bell said that in February 2023 the Government had announced £421 million for local authorities across England over the next 3 years to boost drug and alcohol treatment. The funding would mean that the total local authority funds for treatment would have increased by 40% between 2020/21-2024/25. For Kent, this would mean an extra £3 million during the next financial year and then £5 million for each of the following two years. Together with the core grant for drug and alcohol support, this would be a total of over £13 million. The additional funding would be used to enable the Council to focus support on homeless individuals in treatment services, maintain the treatment and recovery for those moving into new accommodation and help individuals into employment as part of their treatment. 

No-smoking day 8 March 2023 – Mrs Bell said that Kent smokers were urged on this day to stop smoking to enjoy better health. This was a national awareness day that highlighted that smoking not only caused life-threatening cancers, strokes and diabetes but also increased the risk of dementia. It was noted that the number of people who smoke in Kent was at a record low, 167,000 residents were estimated to continue to face serious health issues from smoking. Only one-fifth of smokers in the South-East were aware that smoking increased the risk of Alzheimer’s. Mrs Bell said that stopping smoking can lead quickly to improved health and that much local support was made available through Kent County Council services, such as One You Kent Stop Smoking Free Service. 

Further details can be found here: Quit smoking - Kent County Council


  1. In response to questions from Members it was said:  
  1. Figures regarding the estimated number of residents who smoke in Kent were to be circulated after the meeting.
  2. It was confirmed that the extra funding for drug and alcohol services was additional to the core funding already received. Which would be to focus on the key areas mentioned in the update. There would be a close working relationship with the District Councils on areas such as housing. The extra funding was made available following the finding from the Dame Carol Black review. 


  1. Dr Anjan Ghosh, Director of Public Health, gave a verbal update on the following:

Public Health Grant – On 14 March 2023 the Government announced details of the grant, the figure for Kent was £74 million for 2023/24. It was noted that this represented a 3.3% increase on last year’s grant. The allocated growth had been announced for 2024/25 at 1.3% this was noted to be an effective cut, so further budget planning would be required going forward.  

Covid-19 update – Dr Ghosh said that the county was in a good and stable position. In England, the estimated number of people testing positive for Covid-19 was 2.38% of the population or 1 in 40. The Zoe survey also suggested the numbers had stayed at a similar level. It was noted that the rates in Kent had seen a week-on-week drop, but this was just hospital testing, with the current rate being 38.1 per 100,000. Dr Ghosh said there was an ongoing review focussed on the next stage called the living with Covid plan. An escalation pathway had been included, for actions to be taken if numbers were to begin to rise again. 

Integrated Care Strategy – Dr Ghosh said the interim strategy had been published in December 2022, due to time constraints they were unable to extensively consult and co-produce the strategy, so this was now ongoing with several partners at different levels, the updated version was due to be published in October 2023. Work was ongoing with Health and Care Partnerships to develop prevention plans. Also, work with districts about the wider determinants of health. The governance of the Integrated Care Strategy included the Inequalities Prevention Population Health Committee (IPPH) which directly reports to the Integrated Care Board, it was proposed that there be four work streams under the committee which would focus on preventative health measures as part of the long-term plan to help resolve the NHS permacrisis. Dr Ghosh suggested that the Chair should consider how these workstreams report back to the Cabinet Committee. 


  1. In response to questions from Members it was said:
  1. Dr Ghosh was optimistic that rates of Covid-19 would stabilise but there were certain circulating variants and sub-variants of Omicron, and a new strain could change the picture, but the ongoing plan was to live with Covid-19. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had stipulated that further booster jabs were restricted to older groups. 
  2. It was noted that there was a possibility that Covid cases were going unreported, due to the introduction of paid-for test kits. 
  3. The living with Covid plan would include those with long Covid, work was ongoing examining its implications going forward.  
  4. Asked about working with district colleagues on housing and the effectiveness of social prescribing measures as part of the preventative health agenda. It was confirmed that housing was of key concern as one of the Wider Determinants of Health and work with districts would be ongoing about the supply of safe housing. It was noted that there was a review of social prescribing in Kent ongoing with Adult Social Care colleagues. Would be focused on the quality and consistency of outcomes.


RESOLVED the verbal updates were noted.