The Board received a report of the Director of Public Health, Durham County Council that presented an update on health protection assurance arrangements in County Durham (for copy see file of Minutes).
The Director of Public Health reported that the Health Protection Assurance and Development Group oversee five main strands of health protection activity and had given assurances that satisfactory arrangements were in place to protect the public on:
· Screening programmes
· Immunisation programmes
· Outbreaks and communicable diseases
· Strategic regulation interventions
· Preparedness and response to incidents and emergencies
The Consultant at the Health Protection Agency, Public Health England advised that there had been an increase in mumps in younger adults and teens and that good work had been carried out in Aycliffe Young People’s Centre. Work across the NHS had been taking place to increase the awareness and uptake of the MMR vaccination.
The Director of Public Health commented that flu continued to be a challenge especially for some groups such as pregnant women and children however the Flu Board would pick this up.
The Chief Clinical Officer, North Durham and Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Groups (ND/DDES CCG) asked what contingencies were in place should any cases of the Coronavirus present in County Durham. The Consultant in Public Health explained that this was a rapidly evolving situation nationally and guidance keeps changing as the situation changes. She assured the Board that there were contingencies in place and that support would be provided for those people returning from areas that were affected. Website information was being used as advice changes so quickly and a lot of communication had taken place with the local authority, schools, prisons and messages to GPs and hospitals about what to do if someone presents with the virus. The test results were taking approximately 24-48 hours to process and out of 97 UK nationals tested all had been negative so far. Further to a question from the Chief Operating Officer, evidence had shown from China that testing was carried out when symptoms presented as they were looking for the virus within the respiratory system.
Councillor Gunn commented that the working group at Aycliffe Young People’s Centre was recently judged by Ofsted as outstanding in terms of the children and young people involvement. The Director of Public Health assured the Board that the Public Health team work with Aycliffe Young People’s Centre and have identified a member of Children’s Services to become part of the Flu group to ensure that the health protection was part of every day business and that children had a voice.
(i) That the content of the report be noted.
(ii) That local performance continues to be higher than England and regional averages and above target for most screening and immunisation programmes be noted.
(iii) That the report provides broad assurance that effective processes are in place for each of the key strands of health protection activity be noted.
(iv) That the need for further assurance in relation to flu immunisation and the outcome of a national review of screening be supported.
(vi) That further identification and response to emerging health protection priorities and be updated accordingly be supported.