Agenda and minutes

Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 6th July 2020 10:00am

Venue: Virtual/on-line at

Contact: Jonathan Lindop  Email:


No. Item


Quorum (6 required)

To verify meeting is quorate (six Members required).

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The Chairman verified that the meeting was quorate.


Declarations of Interest

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The Chairman declared an interest in all matters included on the Agenda as they related to services for the deaf/hard of hearing owing to his own condition/disability.   


Minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

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RESOLVED – That subject to the addition of the following in minute No. 4, the minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman:-


“The Trust’s Communications Director commented on the importance of Local Authorities leading by example especially with regard to the siting of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and questioned whether the County Council currently made such apparatus accessible on the outside of their premises”. 


RESOLVED - (c) That the Leaders of the County, District and Borough Councils in Staffordshire be requested to make West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) registered Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) widely accessible on the outside of their premises for use by the public, as necessary.


(d) That Leaders of Staffordshire District and Borough Council be also requested to contact Parish Council’s within their areas with a view to siting additional AEDs where possible.


(e) That WMAS be requested to supply further details regarding waiting times (from initial phones call to arrival at Secondary Care Centres) for Category 2 patients so that their performance in this respect can scrutinised, as necessary.       


Mental Health Burden and 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic in Staffordshire pdf icon PDF 709 KB

Joint report/presentation of Director of Health and Care (Staffordshire County Council), Chief Executive (Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) and Chief Executive Officer (North Staffordshire Combined Heathcare NHS Trust).

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The Committee considered a joint PowerPoint presentation/report (slides attached at Appendix A to the signed minutes) by the Chief Executive of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), Chief Executive Officer of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT) and the County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health Care and Wellbeing regarding the Mental Health Burden and 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic in Staffordshire.


Dr. Olubukola (Buki) Adeyemo, Medical Director; Lisa Agell, Head of Mental Health Services; Neil Carr, Chief Executive; Jennie Collier, Managing Director – Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Care Group, from MPFT were present at the meeting.


Peter Axon, Chief Executive Officer; Tosca Fairchild, Assistant Chief Executive Officer; Jonathan O’Brien, Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive Officer and; Liz Mellor, Deputy Director of Operations, from NSCHT, were present at the meeting.


Karen Coker, Senior Commissioning Manager (Children & Families, Health & Wellbeing); Dr. Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care, and; Alan White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing from Staffordshire County Council were present at the meeting.


Good mental health was integral to human health and well-being. A person’s mental health and many common mental disorders were shaped by various social, economic, and physical environments. Mental health was therefore facing an unprecedented challenge following the outbreak of the virus owing to its impact on the above-mentioned determinants. Whilst many outcomes were still largely unknown, the mental health of the general population was expected to be adversely affected to a significant degree. Various studies had already been published including:-


·       A Survey by Ipsos-Mori which suggested that 49% of respondents were feeling more anxious/depressed; 38% had slept less/less well; 35% had eaten more/less healthy food; 19% had drunk more alcohol; and 19% had argued more with those they live with. In addition, ‘coronavirus fear’ was an issue with 61% of respondents reporting concerns about using public transport; 61 reporting concerns about going to bars and restaurants; 43% reporting concerns about using non-supermarket shops; 67% reporting concerns about the long term impact on their children’s mental health and; only 35% willing to return to their usual place of work.  


·       A report published by the Centre for Mental Health (May 2020) entitled “Covid-19 and the Nation’s Mental Health”, which suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic was likely to lead to an increase in mental ill health, as a result of both the illness itself and the measures being taken to protect people from the virus.


·       A survey conducted by the University of Oxford (April 2020) which indicated that one in five primary age children were afraid to leave their homes and were worried that there would not be enough food to eat during the pandemic (NB. The study also found that for a small number of young people their mental health had improved).


·       A survey of young people with a history of mental health needs conducted by Young Minds (March 2020) which identified their top 3 concerns during the Pandemic ie (i) isolation/loneliness; (ii) not having enough food/supplies; (iii) managing mental health/mental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Residential Care Provision and 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic in Staffordshire

Report/presentation of Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing.

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The Committee considered a Powerpoint presentation/report (slides attached at Appendix B to the signed minutes) by the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health Care and Wellbeing regarding the impact of the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic on residential care provision in Staffordshire.


Currently there were 243 active Care Homes in Staffordshire, with a total of 7,599 registered beds. Approximately half of all Care Homes in the County had reported at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 amongst either residents or staff and there had been a total of 202 deaths from the virus outbreak so far. 


In response to Central Government requirements and having regard to the County Council’s duty to the health and care of local residents, the County Council had worked with Clinical Commissioning Groups and other stakeholders to Implement a Care Home Support Plan. This plan set out the various support measures available to the residential care sector, in an attempt to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic and covered:- (i) advice and guidance; (ii) training in infection control (iii) supplies of Personal Protective Equipment; (iv) surveillance and response to cases and outbreaks; (v) clinical support; (vi) testing; (vii) intensive support with staffing where required; (viii) arrangements to reduce the movement of staff and (ix) additional funding available.


During his presentation, the Deputy Leader also outlined the clinical, operational and financial risks to the sector in the short, medium and long terms arising from the outbreak.


Members then scrutinised the Authority closely seeking clarification and asking questions where necessary, as follows:- (i) the frequency of the current testing cycle (four weeks) and whether it was often enough; (ii) communications by care homes with residents’ families during lockdown; (iii) the on-going financial viability of Staffordshire care homes and consequences of failure; (iv) the robustness of infection control measures within care homes and actions to be taken by the County Council to re-assure relatives; (v) workforce recruitment and retention and reliance on agency staff.


In response, the Deputy Leader explained that:- (i) four week testing of all Care Home residents was being undertaken in line with national guidance; (ii) whilst effective and timely communications with residents’ families were challenging during this time, monitoring by the Authority had indicated that most homes were coping well. However, in the event the Committee were made aware of any issues in this respect, appropriate action would be taken upon receipt of relevant information; (iv) whilst the long term financial viability of care homes was a concern, it was too early to state how the market for residential care would develop in the medium to long term; (v) changes to operating policies, practices and standards could be incorporated into the Authority’s existing contracts with providers, as necessary. Considerations such as these were subject to close scrutiny, nationally and the Authority would remain vigilant and implement revised procedures, where necessary.


The Chairman then thanked the Deputy Leader for his attendance, and an interesting and informative presentation.


RESOLVED – (a) That the presentation/report be received and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


District and Borough Health Scrutiny Activity pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Report of Scrutiny and Support Manager

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The Committee considered a report of the Scrutiny and Support Manager giving a summary of the health scrutiny activity which had been undertaken by Staffordshire District and Borough Councils under the standing joint working arrangements, since their previous meeting.


During the discussion which ensued Members expressed their continued disappointment that several District/Borough Councils had either not responded to requests to provide written updates for inclusion into the summary report or not undertaken any health scrutiny activity since the previous update (3 March 2020). The Chairman acknowledged that whilst there might have been difficulties in convening Committee meetings at the start of the outbreak, the present situation was unsatisfactory owing to Partners’ continued responsibilities, under the Code of Joint Working Arrangements, particularly during this time.


Therefore, the Chairman undertook to write to the Leaders of all Staffordshire District and Borough Councils together with the Chairmen of their respective Health Scrutiny Committees/Panels etc to:- (i) remind them of their responsibilities under the above-mentioned Code (having regard to the recommendations of the Francis report); (ii) clarify the roles of District/Borough and County Councils in relation to health scrutiny as set out in the code and; (iii) suggest Agenda items they might wish to consider in the near future given the current health crisis.


RESOLVED – (a) That the report be received and noted.


(b) That the action to be taken by the Chairman to facilitate better involvement by the Staffordshire District/Borough Council’s in health scrutiny, be supported.     


Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 400 KB

Report of Scrutiny and Support Manager

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The Committee considered a rolling Work Programme for 2020/21 (Appendix D to the signed minutes).


The Chairman informed them that, in accordance with the decision made at their previous meeting, he had met with the Vice-Chairman and Shadow Vice-Chairman on 11 June 2020 to give further consideration to potential items for inclusion into their Work Programme. Accordingly, (i) “Backlog of Hospital Appointments as a Result of Covid-19” had been included for their meeting on 10 August 2020 and; (ii) “Hearing Aids” and “Winter Plans” included for their meeting on 10 September 2020.


RESOLVED – (a) That the updated Work Programme be approved.


(b) That the Chairman in consultation with the Vice-Chairman and Shadow Vice-Chairman, give further consideration to potential items for inclusion into their Work Programme 2020/21 (in particular their meeting scheduled for 26 October 2020), so that the necessary arrangements may be made.