At the beginning of the meeting, the Chair made an opening statement:
"The tram incident:
On Wednesday 9th November The tram from New Addington tram took the Sandilands corner at speed, left the track and overturned.
Seven passengers died; some passengers were injured, some shaken and shocked. The first ambulances were there in minutes. Croydon and Transport Police, Fire service, and Croydon Resilience team swung into action. Voluntary services gave support. Local people, John Ruskin School, and a nursery, none trained for a major incident rallied round to support the rescue teams through the night and the next few days. A book of condolences was opened. The Mayor of London came and promised support for those effected.
Croydon University hospital received 30 patients at A&E in a temporary accommodation. St Georges received some people including serious trauma cases. Some out-patient clinics were cancelled. The event touched the whole community of New Addington and many others in Croydon.
Can we please observe a minute's silence to remember the dead, their families and everyone touched by this terrible incident."
There followed a minute's silence for the victims of the tram incident on 9 November.
John Goulston mentioned that everyone should feel proud of the speed with which people worked and came together over the tram incident. A number of families visited Croydon University Hospital wanting to know what had happened and staff responded wonderfully in the difficult circumstances.
Rachel Flowers announced that a multi-agency group is looking at recovery procedures. "This was the first time an incident has occurred in Croydon with major injuries since the Health & Social Care Act 2012. Meetings are being held to find out what we can learn. The recovery went really well but it was new territory for many staff from various agencies working together. Teams are learning from the psychological first aid but we are at an early stage. NHS England and CCG are involved and we would welcome input from the emergency services and voluntary sector."
Cllr Maggie Mansell emphasised the importance of staff involved being well supported. Some of the police responders were new to the job and did very well.
Duncan McMillan stated that the officers who went to the scene learnt a lot from the experience. The police are building inexperienced staff back up. Young officers were much affected. The body recovery team has experience but borough officers are unfamiliar.
Councillor Mansell also reported on two other matters:
The Sustainability and Transformation plans for the NHS 2020 have been published. The NHS and Local Councils have been meeting to work on the STP for South West London. There is general agreement on the direction of travel for the out of hospital services. This is familiar to all of us: accessibility of information, advice and self-help, supported by GPs, Pharmacies, social services and the voluntary sector. These matters have been discussed here and elsewhere. The future of Hospital services was not discussed publically. There is an engagement process, but the detailed work for SW London has not been done, so there are no plans and no options to discuss. What is clear is that the financial envelope within which the NHS planners are operating is severely constricted and does not match the increasing needs of the population.
The STP said that a saving could be made by reducing the number of acute centres from 5 to 4 but it would cost more to reduce to 3. More work needs to be done and NHS England (London) will engage with the public next year.
The Council leaders of Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Merton wrote to NHS England (London) to express concern at the lack of public engagement on the acute services. The Croydon Leader and I wrote similarly but separately because Croydon has some unique characteristics compared with the others. That letter has been circulated to members.
We also wrote to the Secretary of State. Mr Phillip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Health, replied and I have subsequently written a longer letter. Both have been circulated to members. I recognise that some members of the committee are unable to discuss fiscal allocations because they are politically restricted or work for the NHS. My letter has pointed out the inadequacy of the funds provided for the NHS and social care and asked the government to allocate more money to the NHS and train more health staff now."
Cllr Mansell confirmed that correspondence will be circulated later today regarding the STP.
Members will remember that we agreed a strategy for mental health strategy in October 2014 to improve assessments and community services to reduce out of borough in patient placements. Since then concerns have been raised about access to CAMHS, and availability of talking therapies both of which have received a little finance from government. Concerns have also been raised as to whether Black patients are treated differently.
There have been other studies in Lambeth and elsewhere. I have discussed this with Cllr Tony Newman, Council Leader who has agreed that the H&WB should conduct a Review into the effectiveness of the Mental Health Strategy and services to the people of Croydon including the experience of Black people. It was also agreed that Cllr Louisa Woodley would conduct an initial review into the working of the joint strategy and report to the Cabinet and H&WB. We will then be able to consider what further investigations or we should take.
Councillor Maggie Mansell also mentioned that Stuart Routledge is retiring after many years of valued work in the voluntary sector. He was unable to attend this last meeting but was representated by Julia Powley, also from AgeUK.