Agenda and minutes

Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 18th June, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Venue: You can watch this meeting at YouTube: Thurrock Council, either live whilst in progress or later as a recording.

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item

The Chair welcomed Members back to the Health and Wellbeing Overview Scrutiny Committee and stated that although there had not been an Annual General Meeting with Members having the opportunity to move around committees the Chair was personally honoured to be able to continue to chair this committee. The Chair continued to state that the committee was a very important part of health and social care in Thurrock and was happy to have the members who she believed contributed to this strong and productive committee.


The Chair made the following tribute to Ian Evans, the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee co-opted member, who sadly died on the 1 June 2020.


“Before starting the meeting people will notice that sadly we are missing an extremely valuable member of the committee. Sadly Ian Evans was recently diagnosed with an aggressive bladder cancer and sadly passed away surrounded by his family on 1 June 2020.


As Chair of this Committee over the years, Ian has attended and been a passionate advocate for so many issues. I knew he was extremely well respected at work, at the council, by everyone he met really however I didn’t know about him outside of this. I asked Neil Woodbridge to let me know a bit more about him and he sent such a lovely response I wanted to share it just in case, like me, you didn’t know Ian very well.  


Ian worked for Thurrock Coalition for the past ten years, a User-Led organisation, and was an extremely passionate advocate for the disabled residents of Thurrock; he worked closely with many local, regional and national organisations.

He delivered training, consultations and events to promote equality, human rights and the Social Model of Disability – raising awareness of people's rights, responsibilities, duties and entitlements and to remove physical, environmental and attitudinal barriers that disable people face, empowering others to have choice and control in their lives and the community.


As an independent member of Thurrock’s Health and Wellbeing, Overview and Scrutiny Committee, he looked at all the decisions of the Council that related to his areas of expertise and passed comment or suggested amendments.


He occasionally ran local campaigns for issues dear to his heart – for example he organised the community response to Network rails proposal to close the crossing at Grays. Now still open!


Indeed, from leaving Essex University Ian began his legal career at the United Nations in the Hague, followed by a period working for Refugee Migrants Justice in Bedford, representing refugees with asylum applications and appeals, before joining Thurrock Coalition where he built an unrivalled reputation through hard work and diligence, and was admired and respected by many local professionals and residents alike.

Ian was loved by many and made a memorable impact on everyone he met. He was softly spoken with a dry sense of humour, but nothing was ever too much trouble, he was generous with his time and would assist anyone if he possibly could.

He proudly promoted equality and independence and worked hard to ensure the local community had a voice; he was a very proud and dignified man, who hated asking for help as he valued his own independence and having control in his own life too.


Ian showed empathy and compassion to everyone. He loved his music, especially jazz music and often went to concerts and the occasional festival; his passion was to play the drums having obtained his first set as a young boy (not good when owning a VW Scirocco as it's a struggle to get a full drum kit inside). He was an enthusiastic member of a local band and would look forward to their practice sessions and jamming with friends.


Although Ian will be sorely missed by his family, friends, work colleagues and many Thurrock residents, his legacy to us all will be the confidence and belief he instilled in the local community - that everyone is equal and valued and their voice should be heard and respected when shaping the Thurrock Community for the future.


He bore the diagnosis with dignity and courage, as was the nature of this remarkable young man, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

The family have chosen a local charity called ‘Temple Springs’ - Based in the old post-office in Grays. They teach young people how to play music. Amazingly, they set a crowdfunded target of £500 and as of this morning it had achieved £8,700! 


A family funeral will take place soon, but a memorial event is planned once lockdown is eased to celebrate Ian's life and achievements and to allow everyone to pay their respects and remember him in their own way with fondness. Details of the event will be shared in the local media in due course.


Our thoughts are with Ian’s family.”



Minutes pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 5 March 2020.


Minutes of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on the 5 March 2020 were approved as a correct record.


Urgent Items

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


The Chair agreed to receive an urgent item of business in regards to the Cabinet announcement made on the 17 June 2020 that there would be a £1.5 million reserve for social care. The Chair stated this was the first time that she had heard this mentioned and asked for an update.


Councillor Halden stated an announcement had been made by Cabinet on the 17 June 2020 for an extra £1.5 million into a reserve for social care. This reserve would be designated for exceptional use and needs of social care services. Councillor Halden stated an important message for anyone who are concerned for themselves or concerned about others they should come to the Council for help. In the current situation, the Council social care services were fully operational and still functioning. That additional work was being carried out to ensure the safety of residents in this time and services would be maintained.


The Chair stated that in the last 20 plus years there had been a hugely underfunded social care service and it was known that there was going to a greater demand on services. The Chair questioned how this money could be fed into that and questioned how the Council would deal with the competition of Thurrock’s neighbouring boroughs who were paying more to their care workers. Councillor Halden stated that the money put into the reserve was a one hit pot for those services identified by Officers for social care needs of Thurrock residents.  Councillor Halden agreed that there needed to be important conservations on the funding of long term social care and gave assurances and commitments to Members that nothing would be proposed until reports had gone through scrutiny. Councillor Halden then extended an invite to the Chair to attend the economic vulnerability task force that had been set up to which the Chair accepted.



Declarations of Interests


No interests were declared.




Healthwatch had no matters to raise.

The Chair welcomed Anthony McKeever, the interim Accountable Officer for Mid and South Essex to the meeting and thanked him for his time this evening and asked that he introduced himself and provide members with an update on the work undertaken since he started his role and on the merger of the five Mid and South Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups into one regional Clinical Commissioning Group.


Anthony McKeever stated that he was the interim accountable officer for the five Clinical Commissioning Groups which included Thurrock and was leading the work on the integrated care partnership across the Mid and South Essex and started in this post in March 2020. His first five days was meeting 500 new colleagues and had the opportunity to have a handover with Mandy Ansell and other colleagues. The next five days he was redeploying those 500 so that they could work remotely and then spent time in an incident room under national arrangements to manage the emergencies, linking with officers through the Essex Reliance Forum and working in partnership when dealing with problems such as those with COVID-19.


Councillor Muldowney asked for an update on the mismanagement of funds taken from Thurrock’s Clinical Commissioning Group to bail out Peterborough and Cambridge Clinical Commissioning Groups. Councillor Muldowney questioned referred to the services required by Thurrock residents that had been delayed because of this and asked for assurances that the money would now be repaid and this would not happen again. Anthony McKeever agreed to provide a specific update in writing to Members and agreed to pursue the handling of the repayment/debt.


The Chair stated that Thurrock’s Clinical Commissioning Group had managed their budgets well and had not overspent which the Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group and Members had been very proud of. In this case Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group had supported another Clinical Commissioning Group that had got into difficulties and questioned now that the merger had taken place would this be the case in the future. The Chair had concerns that although Thurrock would continue to manage their budgets, some other Clinical Commissioning Group may not and may continue to take resources away. Mark Tebbs, Director of Commissioning, NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group stated the Chair had expressed her concerns well and stated that all overpayment and business as usual work had stopped so that the NHS could give all their attention to the COVID-19 crisis. Mark Tebbs addressed members concerns that some services would be delayed in particular the Mental Health Crisis Services. Mark Tebbs confirmed that this service had now gone live during the COVID-19 crisis and there was now a 365 24/7 day mental health service available through 111.


Before moving onto the next item on the agenda, the Chair thanked everyone on the virtual meeting this evening, the NHS, healthcare workers, social care staff, officers and volunteers. The Chair stated that everyone had worked around the clock, day in and day out, working long hours over the last few months had meant that probably not much sleep had been taken. The Chair expressed her thanks and how grateful she was, as was everyone that had worked so hard to keep Thurrock’s residents safe and well during this pandemic.



Health and Adult Social Care System COVID-19 Response pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Additional documents:


Ian Wake, Director of Public Health, started this item by presented a PowerPoint to Members on the latest update on COVID-19 in Thurrock. This provided Members with details in regards to epidemic curve of laboratory confirmed number of cases and when these were reported and ICU Bed occupancy; data on the number of deaths; the impact of lockdown on health and wellbeing; the economics of lockdown; the current situations on positive test results and the R Value; exiting lockdown and future policy implications, Test and Trace and the next steps. This PowerPoint can be found from the following link:


Councillor Ralph questioned whether there was a link between the number of excess deaths compared to the number of general practitioner and hospital appointments that had been cancelled. Ian Wake stated he was unable to answer that question in great detail but there had been an unexplained level of non COVID deaths but this would be known more once analysis of the data had been carried out.


Councillor Ralph questioned whether there was the capability to lockdown one particular area. Ian Wake stated he did not have the answer but potentially there could be powers attributed to local authorities to implement local lockdowns/settings but there was no clarity with Government working on decision frameworks at this time with clarity being available shortly. Ian Wake stated that local lockdowns would be difficult to manage for example identifying where a resident worked on the border and monitoring the transport and infrastructure going through that area.


Councillor Muldowney asked for more detail as to why the excess death rate was around +30-40% above what would be expected from the five year average. Ian Wake said he did not have the answer to that question but more readable data was being issued from the Office of National Statistics. The reasons were unclear but could be down to greater prevalence within the community, underlining health problems, transmission of settings, ethnicity or deprived areas. That a huge amount of work on the data was required to get those answers.


The Chair questioned what would the practicalities be if a school had an outbreak and staff and pupils were told to isolate for example due to the numbers of teachers sharing a staff room. Ian Wake stated that school’s protocol would play an important factor and advice would be set out with details of social distancing within settings such as staff rooms. Schools were currently operating in bubbles, with one bubble having 15 children and one teacher and would remain in their own social bubble. If there was to an outbreak that bubble would isolate on its own.


The Chair questioned how effective Test and Trace was when the news was reporting that a quarter of those identified from the 45,000 people told to self-isolate as a result of track and trace but could not be reached. Ian Wake stated this was one tool with a range of things to do to try and slow the spread.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Progress Update on Major Health and Adult Social Care Projects pdf icon PDF 169 KB


Roger Harris, Corporate Director of Adults Housing and Health, referred Members to the agenda which detailed the current status of the four Integrated Medical Centres and the work continuing on the 21st century residential care at Whiteacre/Dikes Wood.


Tom Abell, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, stated that COVID-19 had significantly shifted the way services operated and could not go back to the way that it was. The COVID-19 pandemic had given them the opportunity to review the services and therefore service models were being prepared with more services being moved to Orsett. The Chair agreed that local services should be kept in Thurrock and that Thurrock residents would want to see this.


Tania Sitch, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), and Les Billingham, Assistant Director Adult Social Care, updated Members on the key wider transformation projects as referred to in the agenda that supported the Council’s place based support model, provided services within the community and had been tailored towards those needs.


The Chair thanked Officers for the update and requested that an update be provided at a future committee to identify what the Council would change and how it would adopt in doing so.


Councillor Ralph raised his concern on the proposed parking arrangements at the Corringham Integrated Medical Centre due to the close proximity of the school. Councillor Ralph questioned whether the Integrated Medical Centre would be fit for purpose based on the area and the services needed and also questioned why there was a rush to have this facility ready when there was no plans to close Orsett Hospital. Tania Sitch stated that each Integrated Medical Centre would have different services and these would be presented to Members. A Stakeholder Group would be set up to include residents, school, highways and transport to which Councillor Ralph would be more than welcome to attend or to meet Councillor Ralph separately to discuss his concerns. Tom Abell stated that services had come out of Basildon Hospital into Orsett over a number of years and confirmed that Orsett would not close until the four Integrated Medical Centres were open.


Councillor Muldowney highlighted that the Council’s Consultation Portal would probably be the main channel of consultation to engage with residents going forward but had received feedback that the consultation portal was not easy to use. Les Billingham thanked Councillor Muldowney for the useful information and would direct to the appropriate team.


Councillor Ralph questioned whether the Orsett Hospital Task and Finish Group should be reinstated. The Chair reminded Members that the decision had been made to incorporate this item back into the scrutiny of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.




That the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered and commented on the report.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 117 KB


Members discussed the work programme.


The Chair requested a report to be presented at the 3 September 2020 committee in regards to the Mayfield Ward moving from Thurrock Hospital to Brentwood.


The Chair requested a report to be presented at the 3 September 2020 committee in regards to the COVID-19 Response.