Agenda item

(a) Introductory Comments

Chief Executive (Devon County Council), Chief Officer for Adult Care and Health; Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Health; and the Interim Accountable Officer NHS Devon CCG to report.


(b) System Response

Report of the Associate Director of Commissioning (Care and Health) and the Director of Commissioning (Devon CCG), attached


(c) A Public Health Overview of the Pandemic

Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity (PH/20/01), attached


(Councillor A Leadbetter attended in accordance with Standing Order 25 (1) and spoke to this item at the invitation of the Committee highlighting and thanking the County Council officers   and staff working with NHS and partners across health and care for their exceptional work during this pandemic).


(a) Introductory Comments


The Chief Executive (Devon County Council) with the Director of Public Health and Accountable Officer (NHS Devon Clinical Commission Group) and the Chief Officer and Adult Care and Health (Devon County Council) reported on the previous and current measures being undertaken by the County Council with the NHS and the private/voluntary care sector to safeguard the public and mitigate the wider impacts of the COVID-19 virus.


The Officers responded to Members’ questions relating to:


·         the effective work of the Council with NHS partners and the relatively low incidents of infections and mortality in the County both in hospitals and in the community including care and nursing homes which was a tribute to all Health and Care staff across the system;

·         the support for key workers across the County;

·         governance and local decision making and planning arrangements and the County Council’s designation as a Beacon Council, leading in the South West;

·         the approach of the recovery phase including assessment and mitigation of the wider economic, societal and health impacts including the suppressed other health demands and their implications;

·         the procurement arrangements to ensure proper supply of personal protection equipment (PPE), redeployment of staff across to support the 111 service, Devon Doctors and local hospitals;

·         new joint crossing working arrangements led by Public Health and the ongoing planning through for example a Pandemic Incident Management Team;

·         support provided to all CQC registered care homes with close working between the CCG and the County Council to ensure adequate PPE supplies, infection control and testing;

·         partnership working with Public Health on the local deployments of the national Test and Trace service and the Local Outbreak Management Plan;

·         Lessons were to be learned from discharge from hospitals into community settings  and the need for early testing, trace and isolate processes; and

·         the need for and development of local control to manage effectively any further local outbreaks and with low levels of incidents the chances of success would be enhanced.  


(b) System Response


The Committee considered the Report of the Associate Director of Commissioning (Care and Health) (Devon County Council and NHS Devon CCG) and Director of Commissioning – NHS Devon CCG on the background to the pandemic, planning and preparation, the ongoing response, restoration and transformation, and activity and performance.


The Directors and the Chair of the Devon CCG and Dr D Jones (GP) responded to Members’ questions relating to:


·         the quick effective roll out and use of digital technology for remote consultations to help ensure safety for GP surgeries and the public across the County and the anticipated  increase of such use in the future;

·         the possible impact of the pandemic and its indirect consequences on the Long Term Plan across the health and care system and partners;

·         the complex process for the recording of deaths and analysis of excess (non COVID-19) deaths and subject to verification the lower than expected numbers in Devon;

·         the possible impacts of the pandemic on Mental Health and domestic abuse for example and the wider implications which were being examined by the County Council;

·         removal by Government of routine burdens to assist surge planning within the NHS (a full list would be provided to Members);

·         the existing and developing work across health and social care by the Health Protection Board on testing processes including all staff and residents in care settings and preparation for further outbreaks (and the Director of Public Health undertook to provide a briefing note to Members on social care and health developments in these areas); and 

·         the impact on care homes and possible future closures.


It was MOVED by Councillor Randall Johnson, SECONDED by Councillor Ackland and




(i) that the summary of arrangements for planning for and responding to the COVID-19 emergency within the health and care system in Devon be acknowledged;


(ii) that the restoration and transformation of services following the COVID-19 emergency be supported; and


(iii) that the commitment and achievements of all health and care staff across the period be recognised and accordingly all staff be thanked for their dedicated service.


(c) A Public Health Overview


The Committee considered the Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity (PH/20/01) in an overview of the COVID-19 Pandemic and context for the impact on the Health and Care system and the responses.


The Report covered national preparation for pandemics through modelling, the impact of social distancing measures including data on the population and international comparisons, deaths in Devon and the future including identified risks and implications, financial, legal and equality considerations.


The Government recently asked Upper Tier and Unitary Local Authorities to establish COVID-19 Health Protection Boards (chaired by their Directors of Public Health) and Local Outbreak Engagement Boards (Chaired by Leaders) to ensure outbreaks of COVID-19 could be managed at local level.  Work was underway to prepare Local Outbreak Management Plans with the expectation that these would be in place by the end of June 2020. Devon County Council had been selected as a ‘Beacon Council’ in the South West to develop and share best practice, one of eleven nationally.


The Committee noted the overview report and supported the further work taking place on the development of Local Outbreak Management Plans. 




Supporting documents: