Report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services)
Purpose: To enable Committee Members to review key data for the committee area and determine whether any issues highlighted in the data profile merit further investigation and inclusion on the committee work programme.
Considered: The report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services) which presented key data for the constituency area and invited the Committee to determine whether any issues highlighted in the data profile merited further investigation and inclusion in the Committee’s Work Programme.
During discussion, the following issues were identified from the data profile for possible further investigation by the Committee:-
· Being admitted to hospital should be a last resort, but only if well-resourced and trusted services were available in the community. This was particularly so for the very young. However, whilst A&E attendances for the under 5’s were not high relative to England, average emergency admissions to hospital were. Across England, for every 100 A&E attendances for under 5’s, 26 were admitted, but this rose to 60 in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area. The Committee should therefore ask for data consistency issues to be checked and, if appropriate, seek to understand better why average emergency admissions to hospital for the under 5’s in the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency were high relative to England, how parents were accessing services for the very young in the constituency, and what measures could be taken to support and reassure parents at times of concern for their children’s health.
· A Member queried whether data was available to show how many people were living in affordable housing and were in fuel poverty. Councillor Peter Lacey undertook to look-up such information and suggested that intelligence could be shared in an informal development session with relevant Council professionals.
· Members commented that ‘affordable housing’ was not always affordable, especially for young people in the rural areas. They suggested that the Council should look towards providing more social housing, and the possibility of preventing people from selling such housing after a few years.
· Members asked whether any data was available about the following access issues:- wait-times for ambulances; to NHS dentistry; and to GP services. Members commented that, whilst some of these were national issues, they would wish to be aware of such data to see if there was anything which this Committee could do to assist. Members commented that any such data was particularly pertinent to the amount of development taking place in Harrogate and Knaresborough, eg to find out where the dental practices, surgeries were located to cope with that development. Members also queried whether a plan existed to show how the NHS intended to recruit staff for these services, recognising the national shortage of GPs and NHS dentists etc.
· To improve social deprivation amongst young people within the constituency, the Committee should seek information regarding social sports facilities and consider how such facilities were being used within communities. An example given was a field in Harlow Hill that was no longer used as a football pitch.
· The Committee should seek information concerning thought processes regarding what the site of the Woodfield Community Primary School might be used for if that school were to close. Councillor Paul Haslam expressed the view that Woodfield Community Primary School was very necessary within the Woodfield area and he hoped that that view would be expressed within responses to the consultation regarding possible closure of that school.
· To address the health of the environment within the Constituency, the Committee should seek a report about pollution levels, information on the AQMA areas, and number of EV chargers to understand the locations where pollution levels were high and to be reassured that action was being taken. A Member suggested that the Committee should also consider the way in which air quality was being measured and expressed the view that it should be measured in real time.
That each of the suggestions put forward during the debate, as recorded in the preamble to this Minute, be discussed between the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Principal Democratic Services Officer to determine how best to progress each issue.