Report to SWF Town Council Meeting on 12 May 2020

Since the last Council meeting (10 March 2020) the Town and our activities have been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted in lockdown.

Fortunately SWF’s GPs and some Pharmacists recognised the oncoming situation. On Friday 20 March the GPs at Crouch Vale Medical Centre (CVMC) approached SWF Health & Social Care Group (H&SCG) and asked us to work with them and the pharmacists to deliver the necessary health & social care support to shielding and isolating patients and people in SWF without local support networks of their own. This was expected mainly to involve delivery of medications as demand for that was expected to increase a lot, in excess of the normal capabilities. It is a great honour to have been trusted with this.

By Monday 23 March 2020 we had agreed an appropriate system for this which avoided unnecessary bureaucracy and fully respected patient confidentiality. Between 23 March and 5 May 2020 a total of 352 activations have been delivered in SWF and its surrounds for patients of CVMC Practices and SWF’s pharmacies.

Demand since Sunday 26 April (when 200 activations had been delivered) has increased substantially due to a sudden unavoidable absence not caused by COVID-19 of a pharmacy staff member. As a result H&SCG has recruited a group of ten accredited volunteers to help with this on a rota basis.

The vast majority of activations (say 85/90%) are to deliver prescription medications in and around SWF. Other referrals have included: supporting people with non-COVID-19 life threatening and other situations such as strokes, heart attacks, traumas; people from elsewhere in Essex who found out about us and had been unable to speak to others; providing initial assessments of residents disturbed by lockdown; providing end of life support; arranging packages of health & welfare support; checking on the well-being of seriously ill people; supporting and arranging support packages for bereaved people; supporting and liaising with the SWF Foodbank and other welfare organisations in the Town.

Understandably the national and county systems for referrals and use of volunteers have taken time to get into action and are still not fully efficient. It is a huge credit to our GPs and pharmacists that our Town’s system was established immediately and our Townsfolk have received timely full support from the onset. The Chelmsford Community Hub has been excellent throughout and Karen @ SWFTC and SWF’s churches have also been great.

This arrangement will continue as long as necessary.

Updated Sombre News: On Saturday 2 May the Office for National Statistics published provisional data for Deaths Involving COVID-19 in small areas within England and Wales. Initially this showed two deaths in the whole of SWF involving COVID-19 between 1 March – 17 April 2020 inclusive. Since then the ONS has been able to make adjustments and now reports separately for SWF North and SWF South (as in the Chelmsford CC electoral areas). We suspect that deaths registered outside our area have been transferred back to the area of the deceased’s home. The ONS now reports for the same time period three deaths in SWF North and three deaths in SWF South involving COVID-19, a total of six deaths of Town residents. This is increasingly awful news and confirms our experience that our Town has suffered lots of people with relatively mild COVID-19 symptoms, some taken seriously ill, some hospitalised, some taken into ICU and some suffering loss of life.

The ONS caveats which must be taken into account with this data are:

Source: Office for National Statistics – Deaths involving COVID-19

Notes:

  1. Points on the map are placed at the centre of the local area they represent and do not show the actual location of deaths. The size of the circle is proportional to the number of deaths
  2. To protect confidentiality, a small number of deaths have been reallocated between neighbouring areas.
  3. Deaths occurring between 1 March 2020 and 17 April 2020 and registered by 18 April 2020.
  4. Figures exclude death of non-residents and are based on February 2020 boundaries.
  5. Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause or was mentioned on the death certificate as a contributory factor (ICD-10 codes U07.1 and U07.2).
  6. Locally adopted MSOA names are provided by House of Commons Library. While these names are not officially supported for National Statistics they are provided here to help local users.

We hope this dreadful sombre news will convince absolutely everyone in SWF of the need to completely follow the Government’s lockdown instructions and stay indoors, protect our NHS and Save Lives.

Other things:

  • Thanks to our excellent Administrator Emma Wardall our new website, social media and communications capabilities have been fully developed and have been invaluable in advising, informing and guiding, utilising all the selected and edited information we gather from national, international, regional and local relevant sources; please do follow our website and social media, as below.
  • Emma is now moving on to concentrate on Essex health and social care projects, ever more vital today and we thank her profusely for the invaluable professional developments she’s delivered for us.
  • We welcome our new Administrator Nikki Boreham who has great enthusiasm for our Town and the work of our Group.
  • We are most grateful to Essex Community Foundation’s Essex Coronavirus Response & Recovery Programme for a grant of £1800.00 to help fund our increased activity for six months in connection with COVID-19. We are also most grateful to Mister Gees Foundation for funding the development of our new website, social media and communications capabilities. And we are also grateful to SWF Methodist Church for some funding towards the Parish/Town Nurse project. We continue to be incredibly grateful for SWF Town Council’s support and funding too.
  • The Town Nurse project is suspended due to lockdown etc but planning work for it continues so this can be re-started as soon as possible.
  • Mid and South Essex Hospitals (Broomfield, Basildon and Southend) did merge on 1 April 2020 but their transformation development has been suspended at the moment due to COVID-19.
  • The consultations and process towards the amalgamation of the five Clinical Commissioning Groups (PPGs) for Mid & South Essex continues within the constraints of COVID-19.
  • CVMC is working incredibly well within the COVID-19 situation and when possible we will return our attention to the debrief and aftermath of the move of all health services for the Town to CVMC.

We will consider how best to deal with our Annual Report for 2019-20 and our AGM which is due in July as soon as COVID-19 allows.

The following three questions were raised after considering our report to you on 10 March 2020 and the answers are in bold:

  1. whether the Receptionists based downstairs in the building are aware of the other services provided within the building, representative advised that they are  aware  although  as  they  are  separate  clinics  they  know  the  services which are  provided  in  the  building  but  not  on  which  days  as  they are separate receptions.

Downstairs receptionists were given full details of upstairs services before lockdown.  Also signage has been improved.

2. whilst there are additional services being provided in the building this isn’t actively being  promoted  to  residents  and  it  is the  responsibility  of  the resident to find out what services are available, this will be reported back to the doctors.

Both SWF Patient Participation Groups and Dengie PPGs were promised an up to date list for publication but we suspect events overtook before this was ready.  Key point is that nearly all those services are offered after GP or other health professional referral. All patients receive a letter from the relevant service advising them of appointment etc.  There is a communication issue raised by PPGs in that although some services are available in CVMC sometimes residents are referred to facilities outside SWF for medical or staff availability reasons.

3. Councillor O’Brien suggested that as Councillors are now invited to the quarterly meetings at the Health Centre that a member is appointed as a representative at the May Council meeting.

We understand it has been agreed that Councillors will be sent to these meetings.  The individual attending will depend on availability.  At least one, possibly more.  Cllr O’Brien was scheduled to go to the next one which was cancelled.

Our communications and contact details are:

Website  https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk

Facebook: @swfhealthsocial

Twitter: @SWFhealthsocial

Email: swfhealthsocial@outlook.com

Tel: 01245 322079 (Voicemail – Peter’s landline, checked a few times daily)