What’s happening because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Last Wednesday (11th March 2020) Wirral Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board met (its meetings aren’t webcast by Wirral Council). As Leader of the Council Cllr Pat Hackett was absent, it was chaired by Cllr Chris Jones (Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health).
She agreed for an extra item to be added to the agenda for the meeting, which was an update on coronavirus (which lasted around 15 minutes) and can be watched below.
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Julie Webster (Director for Health and Wellbeing) referred to a “rising tide of people with coronavirus in the country”. She stated that it had been announced that afternoon another two cases had been announced in the Wirral who were people who had travelled from Italy.
She referred to lots of planning that had happened since WHO (World Health Organisation) had made a statement about the coronavirus on the 31st January 2020. Julie Webster stated that none of the coronavirus cases on the Wirral arose from the isolation unit next to Arrowe Park Hospital. Continuing she stated the communication messages about washing hands and not touching your face.
Julie Webster stated that people were “working hard”.
Simon Banks (Wirral CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)) stated that on the 2nd March the Wirral CCG had had a letter from Keith Willett, who was part of the national team that had previously led on Brexit preparations, he’s the National Strategic Incident Director. That letter placed the NHS, which was reported in the media the day after on what’s called a level 4 setting – a command and control situation whereby COBRA tells the NHS what needs to happen and the NHS responds. Each organisation then established an incident management team functioning seven days a week and a single point of contact for liaison on all COVID-19 related management and to ensure there was business management and business continuity processes in place.
Acute care providers, ambulance trusts and community healthcare providers had additional asks around their response. He went on to refer to the role that the Wirral CCG has in supporting the 51 general practices on the Wirral as business continuity arrangements applied. Because they were in a tier 4 incident they’d made the following arrangements and he referred to Category 1 and Category 2 responders in the Civil Contingencies Act.
Mr Banks referred to greater demand on providers and in terms of business continuity, they were in a command and control mode and were implementing existing procedures and protocols.
Various other people then spoke on this item including Cllr Phil Gilchrist, Graham Hodkinson (Director of (Adult) Care and Health) and Julie Webster.
Since that meeting the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) from today (17th March 2020) for three months has suspended all face to face assessments with healthcare professionals for PIP (Personal Independence Payment), ESA (Employment Support Allowance), Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and some Universal Credit claims.
The May 2020 elections in this area for councillors, Police and Crime Commissioner and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayor will be postponed to May 2021.
The Grand National 2020 at Aintree has also been cancelled.
According to a study by Flexioffices on remote working, only 34% of workers in Liverpool could work from home, the amount that could varied from sector to sector with 66.67% (two-thirds) of legal professionals given the option to work remotely or flexibly, but only 14.29% of those in the education sector given this option.
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