Agenda item

NHS response to Covid-19 - verbal update by Wendy Balmain and Bruce Willoughby, North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group


Considered – a verbal update by Wendy Balmain, Sue Peckitt and Bruce Willoughby, North Yorkshire CCG.


            NHS pandemic recovery programme - the key points from the update are as summarised below:


·         The pandemic has reinforced existing health inequalities.  As such and as commissioners and providers of services, we need to understand the long term impact of covid upon the more deprived areas of the county

·         This last wave of the pandemic has been very difficult for hospitals.  Mutual aid has helped, as has close work with local authorities, particularly in the support of vulnerable and shielded people in the community

·         Hospitals have worked very hard to ensure that the risk of a hospital acquired covid infection is minimised.  Covid infection rates in hospitals are low and reducing but there is no room for complacency

·         Some people attending hospital may be infected with covid but not showing any symptoms.  This is usually picked up through routine testing upon admission.  Recently, such testing has been increased and so more cases have been picked up

·         Some routine elective procedures and some outpatient appointments have been restarted

·         Fast track appointments have been put in place for cancer assessments and treatment and are now at 110% of the pre-pandemic number

·         All assessments and treatment are prioritised according to clinical need

·         Patients are kept fully informed of what action will be taken and when and low level interventions and community support are being put in place for people in discomfort who are on a waiting list.


Vaccination programme - the key points from the update are as summarised below:


·         Good progress is being made with the vaccination programme, with North Yorkshire on target to deliver against all of the target cohorts.  Approximately 375,000 people in North Yorkshire have had the first dose

·         The new national target is that all eligible adults will have had the first dose by 1 July 2021

·         There has been some vaccine hesitancy.  A multi-agency group has been established to respond to this.  Everyone has a role to play in encouraging people to have a vaccination.


County Councillor Andy Solloway asked why the vaccination could not be done closer to home rather than involving significant travel to centres in large urban areas.


In response, Sue Peckitt said that some vaccinations were being done in nationally appointed centres and some through local GPs and partnerships


Borough Councillor Nigel Middlemass said that the issue that he had raised at the last committee meeting about hospital acquired covid infections had been addressed.  He had been concerned that the national coverage may have deterred people from accessing the help and treatment that they needed.  Based upon what has been explained today, people should feel reassured.


County Councillor Jim Clark thanked colleagues in the NHS for the way in which they had so successfully implemented the national vaccination programme.


County Councillor John Mann asked what the treatment response will be to long covid.


Wendy Balmain said that there is a move to establish specialist assessment clinics for people with suspected long covid and the initial focus would be upon the management of respiratory issues.


            Delivery of primary care during the pandemic - the key points from the update are as summarised below:


·         Patient monitoring has been setup for people with covid who are being cared for at home, as opposed to being admitted to hospital

·         Regular health checks and support have been put in place for people who have learning disabilities

·         All practices are covid-secure and make use of hot and cold protocols that enable people to be safely managed across a site and which prevent cross-infection

·         Secure video link and the sharing of photos has enabled remote assessments to be undertaken

·         Face to face appointments and telephone consultations have risen over the past three months, with face to face appointments now at 2/3 of the pre-pandemic level.  People will still be able to have a face to face consultation where requested

·         Safeguarding remains a priority

·         More mental health support is being provided at the primary care level, in recognition of the mental health stresses that have risen during the pandemic.


County Councillor John Ennis thanked those attending for such a comprehensive update on three key areas of work.  He welcomed the progress being made with fast track cancer assessment and treatment, the increase in outpatient appointments being offered and the roll out of the vaccination programme.


Resolved –


1)    Wendy Balmain and colleagues to attend the meeting of the committee on 18 June 2021 and provide a verbal update on the NHS recovery from the pandemic, the implementation of the vaccination programme and access to primary care

2)    Wendy Balmain to provide a briefing note that explains the rationale for cross-border vaccination appointments.