|There were no declarations of interest.|
|Consideration was given to the minutes from the Committee meeting held on the 20th October 2020.|
|The Committee was presented with the recently published Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees Living with Covid-19 (Public Engagement - April - June 2020) report following engagement with local people to find out their views and experiences of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, and how this had impacted on their lives and their health and wellbeing.|
To gain this information, Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees conducted a Coronavirus / COVID-19 survey on Survey Monkey. Engagement with Healthwatch volunteers and the use of social media, telephone and email contact with support services in the local area enabled them to promote the survey, which 205 people subsequently completed.
Examples of the responses given to each of the nine survey questions was included, along with a summary of the findings. The report culminated in five recommendations aimed at pharmacies providing a service within the Stockton-on-Tees area, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHFT), Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (SBC), and services that provide antenatal and postnatal care. Members were given the following updates on responses to these recommendations from the relevant organisations in question:
1) North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust to consider providing residents with health and wellbeing guides. The guides in booklet format can be delivered through the post to residents homes: response received from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and information has since been circulated across the Borough.
2) Those delivering health and social care services need to make it clear why appointments, treatments and service provisions are being cancelled: responses received from NTHFT that patients had been contacted by letter to explain any decisions taken, and from SBC who confirmed that they had not suspended any home care services, unless specifically requested to do so by the client or a member of their family.
3) Services need to be in regular contact with all women receiving antenatal and postnatal care: response received from NTHFT that they had commenced recovery of maternity services, including face-to-face appointments.
4) Maternity services to promote and encourage the use of mental health support services and information and guidance to support mothers and those who are expecting with their mental health and wellbeing: confirmation received from NTHFT that midwives do provide advice and signposting to such services.
5) Pharmacies to engage with local voluntary organisations who can support with the collection and delivery of medications: noted that this report was not circulated to all pharmacies within the Borough, and that one pharmacy has since provided a response.
The main issues discussed were as follows:
Members thanked Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees for conducting this survey (and producing a report that was easy to digest) and emphasised the importance of continued public engagement despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The recommendation around the provision of a health and wellbeing guide was endorsed (particularly a hard-copy format for those who do not use computers / the internet), though concerns were expressed around how this had been circulated as some Members had received a leaflet and others were unaware of one. It was therefore suggested that contact was made with NTHFT and / or the CCG to establish how and when any guidance had been circulated.
The Committee re-iterated concerns around access to primary care services since the emergence of the pandemic, as well as pharmacies - it was felt that all pharmacies should have access to this report and should note the relevant comments within.
Regarding antenatal and postnatal care, Members highlighted the sense of isolation felt by some young families due to the impact of COVID-19 on service provision which would have had a significant effect on their early parental experiences. Healthwatch noted that it was difficult to ascertain the number of women who were pregnant at the time they responded to the survey.
Concern was expressed regarding the comments in relation to the suspension of home care services, particularly since the country could be about to re-enter a national lockdown. Healthwatch confirmed that there had been three specific responses about home care services, but as the survey was anonymous, it was very difficult to trace any comments back to an individual or to therefore raise a specific incident with a provider (if not explicitly named).
Responses around the negative impact of the pandemic on mental health were widely prevalent within the report, and Members echoed that this was something they were certainly seeing within their own Wards.
The effect on communication between organisations, and to the public, as they deal with the impact of COVID-19 on their own services was highlighted. This was not limited to the health and care sector, and included wider partners such as housing providers.
The Committee felt it was also important to understand the impact of the pandemic on children. Healthwatch advised that a report on this demographic had been produced and would soon be presented to the Councils Children and Young People Select Committee.
|The Committee was presented with the latest quarterly summary regarding CQC inspections within the Borough. It was again noted that the report was unusually brief as the reporting period (July to September 2020) had been affected by the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the CQC inspection programme.|
It was explained that, whilst seven inspection reports were published during this period, five of these were focused inspections which had been introduced as a result of the pandemic, and involved checks on infection prevention and control management (a link to the published report was provided rather than a full briefing report). The exception to this was St Marks Care Home, where a full briefing was included in light of previously identified issues.
Regarding St Marks Care Home, Members were informed that all remaining residents had been safely re-homed in a timely manner ahead of its closure. At present, no official closure date or future plan had been received by the Council from the provider, Qualia Care Ltd.
Reflecting on the briefing for Primrose Court Nursing Home, the Committee heard that, whilst it had been a difficult time for the provider during COVID-19, the service was moving in the right direction and a stable management structure was now in place. Even more positively, the recent inspection of Green Lodge had improved its overall rating from requires improvement to good.
The main issues discussed were as follows:
Members asked when the next inspection of Primrose Court Nursing Home would likely take place, and were informed that this would be within a year, though the exact timing was uncertain due to the pandemic (with the CQC presently prioritising work around designated settings and focused inspections).
The Committee sought information on any outcomes from the focused inspections, noting previous concerns raised around infection control at Mandale Care Home and asking whether the CQC had actually been into the home as part of the recently published inspection. Members were informed that no issues had been raised in the focused inspections listed within the quarterly report.
The closure of St Marks Care Home, which provides significant dementia nursing places, was discussed, and Members asked if the remaining residents (and their families) were happy to be relocated. The Committee heard that discussions with each resident and their family were undertaken to ensure everyone was happy with the various options available so they could make their own choice with the support of Care Managers.
|Consideration was given to the latest Regional Health Scrutiny Update report summarising developments regarding the Tees Valley Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and the North East Regional Health Scrutiny Committee. Attention was drawn to the following:|
It was confirmed that the next meeting of the Tees Valley Joint Health Scrutiny Committee would take place on the 20th November 2020 (meeting papers had been circulated to Members for information), though the Tees and Darlington Suicide Prevention Plans item has been deferred until the January 2021 meeting.
Further to the paragraph regarding the AGM of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), details of the forthcoming (24th November 2020) Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) AGM had been circulated to the Committee (along with a regional dental care update).
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the Health and Wellbeing Board from the meetings in February 2020 and September 2020.|
|Ahead of the resumption of the second phase of the Scrutiny Review of Hospital Discharge (discharge to an individuals own home), the Committee was asked to consider the existing scope and plan which had been previously agreed back in January 2020 before it was amended to include the first phase focusing on discharge to care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.|
It was proposed to use the next Committee meeting in December 2020 to gather the views of the individual via Healthwatch, the Councils Carers Service and Eastern Ravens. Subsequent evidence-gathering sessions could then be used to get statutory providers (i.e. NHS Trusts) to respond to any of the issues raised, in addition to their own views and experiences on this scrutiny topic.
|Consideration was given to the Committees current Work Programme. The next meeting was scheduled for the 15th December 2020 and would include the CQC State of Care Annual Report for 2019-2020.|
|The Chair had no further updates.|