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Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were no disclosures of interest made at the meeting.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business for consideration at the meeting.
To receive an update on the current progress made with the covid-19 vaccination programme in Croydon.
The Sub-Committee considered an update provided by representatives from health and social care on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the borough. This item was included on the agenda for the Sub-Committee to seek reassurance that the pandemic response was being appropriately managed.
The presentation on this item covered a variety of different aspects of the response, during which the following was noted: -
Elective Recovery Programme
· Since December 2019 hospital care had been provided for more than 3,500 patients in need of either day surgery or a planned overnight procedure
· Since March 2021, treatment levels had returned to a pre-covid level, with elective care being delivered to approximately 275-300 patients per week.
· Those patients whose treatment had been delayed due to Covid were being prioritised, with the number of patients waiting over 52 weeks reduced to 72 at Croydon University Hospital.
· There was currently over 18,000 patients on the out-patient waiting list and 2,052 in-patient and day care cases. These lists were being reviewed weekly to ensure patient care was booked and prioritised according to clinical need, with input provided from primary care and clinicians
· The waiting time for investigations and diagnostic tests was an area of particular challenge due to increased demand. Staff at the hospital worked closely with their primary care colleagues to provide specialist clinical advice and to ensure requests for diagnostic tests were dealt with appropriately.
Improving access to cancer services
· The referral rate for cancer services had risen back to pre-Covid levels, with patients accessing primary care for cancer concerns in a timely manner.
· There was a regular review of breaches in standards for cancer care to address any issues, with new diagnostic standards being introduced from October 2021.
· GP practices had remained open during the pandemic and services were being restored to pre-Covid capacity.
· Demand has risen exponentially in primary care and general practice, with some GPs reporting a 200/300% increase in the number of telephone consultations. There was also additional pressure on practices to restore normal business as well as helping to manage the vaccination programme. As a result, the workforce was stretched and having to utilise additional staff.
· An additional pressure arising from the pandemic was the rise in the number of patients seeking support for mental health issues. A campaign was underway to encourage people to contact their GPs.
· Overall, the key message was that those patients who needed to be seen were being seen, whether face to face, at home or in a remote way.
Vaccine programme update
· The overall position was that over a quarter million vaccinations had been given to Croydon residents with a high proportion of people having had both doses.
· Overall, the vaccination take-up across Croydon and South West London had been good, but there was some hotspots where take-up was lower. This could be linked to a number of factors including deprivation and the level of black, asian and minority ethnic residents in that part of the borough, where ... view the full minutes text for item 16/21
The Health and Social Care Sub-Committee is asked to review the information provided in this report and at the meeting, to reach a conclusion on the following:-
1. Are the budget savings within Adult Social Care achievable?
2. Does the leadership team have sufficient line of sight over the savings programme?
3. Is there sufficient political oversight over the savings programme?
4. Are the financial monitoring systems in place sufficient to allow effective tracking of the budget?
5. Are the performance monitoring systems in place sufficient to allow any unforeseen impact, as a result of the savings programme, on vulnerable residents to be picked up and addressed at an early stage?
The Sub-Committee considered a report on the 2021-22 budget for Adult Social Care. The information was provided to allow the Sub-Committee to form an opinion on the deliverability of the savings proposed and to reassure itself that there was sufficient oversight and control of the budget. A presentation was delivered to accompany the report. A copy of the presentation can be found on the following link:-
Following the presentation the Sub-Committee was provided the opportunity to ask questions on the information provided. The first question asked whether the Council’s IT systems were sufficient to allow effective budget monitoring. It was highlighted that there was a new monthly monitoring process in place, along with a new system, which made budget monitoring more effective. The new system was still being embedded within the service, but so far it appeared to be more user friendly.
A question was asked about the move to direct payments and in particular how this was being communication to people to ensure they understood their options and how the system worked. It was acknowledged that direct payments could be challenging for some people, but a new system had been introduced that sped up the process. A working group had been set up to manage the direct payment process, including ensuring the availability of clear information and advice as well as tracking it through the system. It was noted that there had been a slight increase in the number of people opting for direct payments due to the pandemic, who wanted to buy in their own care.
In relation to the budget and in particular the recent history of overspends, it was questioned whether there was sufficient capacity in the Adults budget for 2021-22 which could be used as a contingency for unforeseen circumstances. It was confirmed that movement had been built into the budget, which alongside stringent budget monitoring processes, allowed unforeseen spikes in demand to be identified at an early stage and resources allocated accordingly. There was an improved process in place for monitoring risk and if an identified saving could not be achieved, there was an expectation that this would be replaced by an alternative saving.
It was noted by the Chair that the budget would continue to be an area of scrutiny throughout the year and officers needed to give further consideration to how best to demonstrate they were managing their budgets effectively.
The Cabinet Member, Councillor Campbell, was asked how she was able to retain political oversight over the delivery of the Adults budget and whether there was collective Cabinet responsibility on budget deliverability. The Cabinet Member advised that she met with the Executive Director on a weekly basis to review progress. She also attended regular meetings with the finance team to discuss the budget. It was planned that the Executive Director would attend future political Cabinet meetings to feed into the wider context of budget delivery.
In response to a question about whether the Cabinet Member met with officers working on the ... view the full minutes text for item 17/21
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This motion was not required.