Board to receive a verbal update on the local NHS system and the delivery of the vaccination programme.
Paul Jennings provided the following update on the local NHS system and the delivery of the vaccination programme:
· In regards to the hospital system, BSOL CCG still had approximately 500 active Covid-19 patients in their hospitals, with up to 80 people in the Intensive Care Units. Paul Jennings emphasised the significant pressure this placed upon the local system, as well as the impact upon the restoration of services, including elective, diagnostic and screenings.
· Due to the above, Paul Jennings stressed the importance of adhering to the lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules, to help contain the virus.
· In regards to the vaccination programme – over the next couple of weeks, there would be a considerable increase in the supply of the vaccine, enabling delivery at a quicker rate. It was anticipated they should be able to deliver up to 100,000 vaccines a week across Birmingham and Solihull.
· It was explained how the increase in supply would enable GP’s to deliver more vaccines, as well as allow greater use of the mass delivery sites. The priorities going forward included protecting the vulnerable, as well as ensuring as many people as possible were immunised – to reduce transmissions, as well as the opportunities for mutations.
· Paul Jennings highlighted the questions raised by Mr Tolman – he explained that, for GP services, a key element was the volume of consultations. It was noted that, across the whole of Birmingham and Solihull, there were well over half a million appointments again in Primary Care. It was detailed how the majority of these appointments were now face-to-face. In regards to the resources received for the delivery of the vaccine, it was emphasised it was down to each individual practice to determine how this was invested. However, it was noted the current volume of appointments demonstrated there had been focus upon restoration of services.
· In regards to the restoration and recovery of services, Paul Jennings explained how a significant piece of work on this was being undertaken now across Birmingham and Solihull, involving all of the hospital providers working together, with mutual aid arrangements in place. There was focus upon ensuring that the patients with the greatest need received the earliest treatments.
· Paul Jennings highlighted how the questions submitted made reference to ‘business as usual.’ He detailed how, as part of the coronavirus response, there had been instances of learning that could be continued into the future. It was explained how it was not possible at that stage to say when all services would be resumed in full, due to the ongoing demands and pressures on the acute sector. However, it was emphasised how the restoration and recovery of services was a key priority for all providers. Paul Jennings confirmed he would be happy to respond to any further queries Mr Tolman might have, which could be submitted via the Committee Clerk.
Councillor Sexton noted that the majority of GP appointments were now being held face-to-face – she queried whether the numbers for the proportion of face-to-face meetings could be provided. Paul Jennings confirmed he did not have this information immediately to hand, but would provide it following the meeting.
Councillor Sexton highlighted physiotherapy services, noting that, at one stage, this was being provided largely by telephone – she queried whether face-to-face appointments had been reintroduced here. Richard Kirby, Chief Executive, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explained how they anticipated that Solihull would be in a similar place to Birmingham. Here they had started to restore community therapy services, with initial focus upon face-to-face appointments for the most urgent patients. It was emphasised they were still operating a reduced level of service, due to staff being redeployed to support people to leave the acute sector.