This report will provide an update on the Local Outbreak Management Plan and other recent updates in light of the Governments living with COVID-19 strategy. This report will focus on new updates since the last brief was presented to the Board on 14 April 2022.
The following issues were discussed:
Long COVID – in response to Board members’ request, the DDPH undertook to provide information on the statistics relating to long COVID and advised that many studies were being undertaken in the area. There was also a concern about the impact on mental health caused by long COVID.
Vaccination – Board members continued to encourage those Medway residents who were yet to take up their initial or the required vaccine offers to receive the respective doses.
Noting that clinically extremely vulnerable individuals should receive booster jabs further to the standard three doses, a Board member expressed concern that this was not occurring in his ward. Another member noted the difference in accessibility to vaccination among different wards in Medway. The ICB Interim Chief Nursing Officer Designate, Kent & Medway CCG (CCG Rep) clarified that there had indeed been some confusion between the third dose and a booster jab. She advised that together with the Spring Booster, some clinically extremely vulnerable people should have received 5 jabs. At the request of the Chairman, the CCG Rep agreed to provide the relevant statistics for all wards across Medway.
As regards the problem of people having trouble using the NHS app to get vaccinated, the DDPH advised that Medway residents could find a walk-in clinic near them on the national “Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site” via the following weblink: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/.
Lessons learnt – a Board member considered it was now timely to draw up lessons learnt from LOMPs, including acknowledging the local resources deployed to implement an effective track and trace, and the brilliant work of frontline medical staff. It was also worth noting the room for improvement in respect of the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) which was related to procurement and logistics arrangements between central government and the local authority. While expecting to receive a national report on lessons learnt, he hoped that the Board could consider lessons learnt in Medway.
Face-to-face GP services – Given that all health and safety requirements for employers and the guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-status certification had both been removed, Board members asked when the restrictions on face-to-face GP services would also be removed. In response, the CCG Rep advised that GPs were independent practitioners who ran their businesses according to the national guidance. On lessons learnt, GPs faced great challenges during the pandemic, and it might be necessary to transform some of the existing practices.
A Board member noted that a Task Group on GP appointments and access to services was formed under the Health and Adult Social Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee. He also reminded the Board that it was the directive of the Department of Health given at the beginning of the pandemic for GP appointments to go online.
Monkeypox – A Board member noted from the DPH a couple of days ago that there were no cases of Monkeypox in Medway. The DDPH undertook to report at a future meeting.
The Health and Wellbeing Board noted the report and Board members’ comments in respect of long COVID, provisions of GP services and the vaccination programme in terms of performance and accessibility.