COVID-19 ICS update - 1 October 2020

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information and key decisions from the Health Co-ordinating Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Measures to curb the spread of coronavirus
Since my bulletin last week there have been further restrictions in England, as well as locally in parts of the North East. Cases of coronavirus in our area continue to rise and sadly we are seeing this translate into more admissions to hospitals. So this is no time for complacency. We know this virus spreads easily and quickly which is why we must continue to remain vigilant. To recap, earlier this week restrictions in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Northumberland and County Durham were formalised in parliament – with tighter measures announced today for Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

Safe to attend
With cases of coronavirus increasing there is a risk that our communities will feel even more concerned about coming to health care setting for their appointments. Thanks to consultant radiologists Dr Anu Anand and Dr Naveed Altaf at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for sharing a very important message about this with Tyne Tees this week. They reminded our communities that it is safe to attend - a particularly pertinent message in October with it being breast cancer awareness month. Their interviews will be aired soon. You may also be interested in reading information being shared by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to reassure patients coming in for an endoscopy.

#DoYourBit this winter
Thanks to everyone who has supported our #DoYourBit winter campaign so far. It’s great to see so much of it being shared across the region. Just a reminder if you need to access the flu communications toolkit or other aspects of the campaign please do get in touch.
  • Think pharmacy, GP and 111 first
Last week we started the next phase of this campaign by reminding people to use services sensibly which includes not just turning up to A&E and to think pharmacy, GP and 111 first. You can read our release here. This part of the campaign will be rolled out further across the region later in October so we hope you will get involved and share this important message. We will keep you updated.

  • Flu
A huge thank you to everyone involved in this year’s flu vaccination programme – it’s no mean feat. We estimate that we will be vaccinating double the amount of people this year. This would be a challenge at the best of times, never mind in a pandemic. So, thank you to the many teams who are working round-the-clock and putting on extra clinics. This week also sees the opening of Darlington PCN’s appointment only drive-through clinic at the Northern Echo Arena car park which you may have seen covered in the media.

As an ICS we asked local areas to order extra vaccine supplies (by about 10 per cent) having anticipated increased demand earlier in the year; so we should have enough vaccines to immunise people at risk in our area. Delivery of supplies will be staggered.

We’ve had a few queries about what PPE should be worn within primary care settings when giving the flu vaccine. We have developed a simple visual to help guide practices and this will be circulated to teams soon.

NHS Covid-19 App
You will be aware that the new NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download for free. While encouraging everyone to download and use it – NHS organisations are advising staff to slide the bluetooth tracking function off when entering healthcare settings. At our Health Co-ordinating Group today people suggested it would be helpful for me to share this message with you.

Good luck to Lisa Crichton-Jones, Amanda Venner and colleagues for tonight’s Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) excellence in people awards. Lisa has been nominated for the HR director of the year award for her role as workforce lead at the ICS. Amanda Venner and colleagues have also been nominated for an innovation award for system workforce planning.

Please try and get some rest if you can this weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing to care for our communities and our dedicated teams of staff.

Best wishes, Alan

Alan Foster is the executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System

News and updates

The R number in the UK: The latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK can be found here on GOV.UK.

Public Health England dashboard: The Public Health England (PHE) dashboard can be found here. Daily reporting includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive COVID-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. The report also includes case rates per 100,000 resident population at lower-tier local authority level.

BBC Radio 4 – The Austerity Audit
Tomorrow (Friday) Sir James Mackey, chief executive at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will feature in a new series exploring the impact of 10 years of austerity starts on BBC Radio 4 at 11am. Hosted by Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the programme will examine lessons that have/can be learnt and is being broadcast on subsequent Fridays.

Health and wellbeing festival: On 23 October there will be a North East and Yorkshire virtual health and wellbeing festival, hosted in collaboration with ICS health and wellbeing leads, Skills for Care and the regional staff experience and engagement team. These are challenging times for all working across health and social care. Colleagues who join the event will hear from a variety of guest speakers and have the opportunity to learn from each other and hopefully leave the event feeling energised, inspired and ready to continue to support their colleagues through the challenges ahead. The festival is open to people working in any role that touches on the health and wellbeing of health and social care staff. For more details contact Karen Johnson

Great North Care Record update: The regional Health Information Exchange (HIE) continues to develop. Patient data from more organisations is being added to the HIE and was accessed over 100K times in September alone. These organisations are currently sharing data into the HIE, which is accessible to frontline staff across the region:
  • GP records in the whole of North East and North Cumbria
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT
  • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS FT
  • South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS FT
  • North East Ambulance Service NHS FT
Plans are in place to begin sharing data from the remaining trusts and the first adult social care systems before March 2021. For more information on the project visit the website or join the Great North Care Record Network.