Issue - meetings

Update on Covid 19 - Adult Social Care

Meeting: 07/07/2020 - Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing & Social Care (Item 14)

14 Update on Covid 19 - Adult Social Care pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report to be published on 6 July so as to reflect the most current situation.


The Cabinet Member noted the report. The report is for information only and is not subject to call-in.


Andy Biddle, Assistant Director of Adult Social Care (ASC), introduced the report. Most of ASC's response to the Covid 19 has been in response to government guidance as it is governed by three pieces of legislation. ASC already had a business continuity plan for pandemics, not necessarily Covid 19. ASC has worked with the Local Resilience Forum to maintain supplies of PPE with support from an officer and team and can now supply past 48 hours. Patients are discharged in three hours from being declared medically fit. ASC is pleased not to have applied any of the easements to the Care Act permitted under the Coronavirus Act 2020 as they want to supply a basic level of care for all. The post-discharge isolation unit at Harry Sotnick House opened on 1 June. Support for providers includes a minimum income guarantee which will taper down from July to October. ASC is now considering the logistics of testing care home staff weekly and residents monthly. Support and feedback from partners and providers during Covid 19 has been very good.


The Cabinet Member felt the Prime Minister's recent criticism of care homes not following guidance was disgraceful and that the government response had been very poor in general. ASC acted early and worked for weeks before lockdown and the local response was outstanding. Portsmouth was 140/150 for local authority infection rates and its low death rate is a tribute to the council, the NHS, care homes and domiciliary providers. There had been very little guidance on how local authorities should interact. Care homes have had a difficult time and they need support, not criticism.


Mr Biddle said guidance, especially for PPE, was frequently updated. It was partly driven by the phase of response to transmission generally and perceived threats. Portsmouth was already working with the organisations in the wider health system across South East Hampshire and shared the latest guidance with providers to make sense of a rapidly changing situation. Helen Atkinson, Interim Director of Public Health, said Covid 19 was a completely new virus and evidence developed very quickly, especially at the beginning, and some changes of advice were due to greater understanding. Public Health worked closely with the council, the CCG and NHS Solent to ensure they all adapted and there is good evidence of their speed in adapting to changes. Hard data shows how outbreaks at the start were managed very effectively and there have been no cases for several weeks.


The Cabinet Member agreed with members that the Prime Minister's comments should be rebutted. The Cabinet said he would write to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State to issue a rebuttal and to suggest that they should apologise for their comments.


The Cabinet Member thanked Mr Biddle for his report and the huge amount of hard work undertaken across all areas of ASC. Working from home has not always been easy but services for the support and wellbeing of Portsmouth vulnerable residents have been maintained in partnership with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14