Your council update is below.
Thank you for all of the things you are doing in the neighbourhood to help our community withstand the crisis.
It’s another week where we have continued to raise questions with health and council officials for answers on personal protective equipment (PPE), tests and care homes. It has been exasperating to watch the crisis unfold when we raised serious concerns with government 6, 7, 8 weeks ago.
At the start of the week I co-signed a letter to government ministers with the other political leaders on the council to push for much more PPE and sustainable chains of supply. One of the key issues is that we get supplies for only a few days at a time from government, which is leaving us unable to effectively use what resources we get and plan.
For the formally constituted groups in this mailing, the application form for The Police Property Act Fund is attached. The fund aims to support charities and voluntary and community organisations working to keep communities safe and feeling safe- applications can be up to £500. I can’t see a deadline but can chase queries and help with applications.
Further to pushing for the expansion for space for walking, outdoor exercise and cycling, we won the argument at yesterday’s committee, here’s our press release https://www.brightonhovegreens.org/2020/05/01/keep-toxic-emissions-low-and-expand-space-for-walking-outdoor-exercise-and-cycling-to-support-residents-now-and-in-future/
Brighton and Hove Buses have compiled information https://www.buses.co.uk/communitysupport
There are FAQs on Covid from the Clinical Commissioning Group attached. You may be aware there is some concern that people, understandably, have been reluctant to attend hospital etc, please see the updates from Healthwatch below.
We will answer your queries just as soon as we can. If you are self-isolating and need shopping or a prescription delivered or just a chat on the phone, both Hannah and I are more than happy to help.
Whether or not we have passed the ‘peak period’ or not, please, continue to stay safe.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader of the Official Opposition
Green Party Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, Brighton and Hove City Council
Opposition Spokesperson on the Policy and Resources Committee
Member of the Tourism Development and Culture Committee and Planning Committee
Greater Brighton Economic Board, Strategic Delivery Board, Board of Trustees Brighton Dome & Festival Limited, Representative to the Local Government Association
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ
Ward surgeries at 7.15pm on last Weds of every month at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Palmeira Square (except August and December)
Subject: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Date: 4.30pm Friday 1 May 2020
Briefing number: 41
Contact: Queries about this briefing can be sent to:
This briefing is sent out daily on weekdays to share the latest actions being taken in response to Covid-19 coronavirus.
These daily briefings include the latest information from across the council and partner organisations in Brighton & Hove.
The latest briefing will be published online soon after you are sent it. This is the link for sharing.
Additional briefings will be sent at other times if information needs to be shared urgently.
If the daily early evening Downing Street announcement requires major service changes to be made locally, this will be communicated as soon as possible. Updates will usually follow the next working day when changes are agreed.
Government guidance and announcements are available from the government website.
This briefing contains information directly related to the response to Covid-19. For an overview of all council updates, please visit our newsroom on the council website.
In this briefing
- Service changes
- Keep your distance, protect the NHS, save lives
- Covid-19 City Recovery Programme
- Join in with our meerkat hunt on your daily exercise
- Update on small business grants
- Protect our street cleaning team – dispose of used PPE at home
- Helping people get support in the city
- Celebrating Nature2020 at home!
- Take part in University College London’s Covid-19 research
Keep your distance, protect the NHS, save lives
As the lockdown continues Alistair Hill, Brighton & Hove’s director of public health, describes how important it is that everyone keeps to the restrictions to protect key workers and vulnerable people.
The latest figures suggest that more people have been going out to open spaces like parks and the seafront, and to shops. In some cases, people are not keeping at least two metres apart, increasing the spread of Covid-19 which is highly infectious.
On behalf of all health and care staff, please play your part in the fight to save lives.
Covid-19 City Recovery Programme
Yesterday’s Policy & Resources Committee agreed to establish the Covid-19 City Recovery Programme to help prepare and steer the council and the city through the recovery phase of the pandemic.
The Recovery Programme will aim to build a solid foundation for the city, so that Brighton & Hove has the best opportunity to emerge as a healthier and more sustainable city, through a three-staged programme.
We’ll also be setting up a five-member Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee, chaired by the council leader, to focus on the programme and make decisions quickly.
We’ll be working with businesses and communities across the city, including Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, the universities and the NHS.
Join in with our meerkat hunt
Children (and parents!) across Brighton & Hove are being given the chance to add a little more fun and adventure to their daily exercise outing.
The council is looking for nursery and school children across the city to take part in a new meerkat trail and scavenger hunt while out walking, scooting or cycling as part of their once-a-day exercise routine.
More details about how to take part and a link for printing off your meerkat can be found in our newsroom.
We’ve been working hard to reach out to eligible businesses to arrange payment of small business grants. As a result, we’ve already paid more than £42 million to nearly 3,000 small businesses.
We estimate there are around 1,000 eligible businesses who have yet to get in touch. We are proactively making contact with businesses, but if you run a small business or know of a business that might qualify, please ask them to contact us by sending their details through our secure online Covid business support portal.
While applications where we need to double-check records are taking longer to process, we are treating the payment of these grants as a priority to ensure small businesses benefit as soon as possible.
Businesses can also check what financial support they are entitled to using the government’s online financial support checker.
Protect our street cleaning team – dispose of PPE at home
We’re sending out a reminder about the need to dispose of used gloves, masks, other PPE and tissues double-bagged in your waste at home.
To protect our street cleaning team and everyone else from infection, please do not dispose of any of these items in the city’s litter bins.
We are still seeing these being put into litter bins – please be mindful of our staff working hard to keep the city tidy. We’d like to thank our street cleaning team for the excellent job they’re doing helping to keep residents safe from infection.
Please follow government advice on safe disposal:
Helping people get support in the city
If you know someone is finding things tough right now, whether it’s food, money, wellbeing or loneliness, they can search for support on the Covid Brighton & Hove help directory.
Vulnerable people who have no-one who can help them at the moment can also request additional Covid-19 related support, including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection by contacting the council’s community advice and support hub.
Celebrating Nature2020 at home!
The Living Coast team have been really boosted to hear how residents in the Round Hill area of Brighton got creative so they were still able to celebrate Nature2020 despite the current lockdown.
Nature2020 was planned to be a year-long programme of events marking the UN Decade of Biodiversity. Unfortunately, with the exception of the City Nature Challenge, all events scheduled in the spring and early summer have been cancelled or postponed.
The Round Hill residents haven’t let the lockdown stop them from celebrating biodiversity in the Biosphere and on our doorsteps.
Take part in Covid-19 research
University College London is running a study into the psychological and social effects of Covid-19 in the UK.
The results are being used to understand the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness in the UK and to inform government advice and decisions.
We’re looking for adults in UK who are happy to take part and spread the word about the study. Participation involves answering a 10-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter follow-up survey once a week whilst social isolation measures are in place.
To take part, visit the Covid-19 Social Study UK website.
Covid-19: Healthwatch update
We are hope you are all keeping well. This week’s briefing includes information on the work we have been doing to support the NHS ‘Open as Usual’ campaign, and the results from issues we have escalated including PPE and access to GPs for the d/Deaf community. We have included updates on the government’s testing programme and local data on new Covid-19 cases.
Recent press releases
(1) NHS ‘Open for Business’ campaign
This week the NHS launched its ‘Open for Business’ campaign to encourage people with urgent medical needs to visit their GP, A&E or other health professional. Healthwatch issued a press release encouraging anyone to access NHS services for non-coronavirus medical issues where they have an urgent medical need or have been instructed to.
The focus of the NHS over the last six weeks has rightly been on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and treating those affected by the virus, but it is now clear that thousands of people who might normally have gone to their GP, dentist or their A&E department have not attended. There is now a concern that for some of those who are not seeking early help for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and mental health issues, they will experience poorer health and that their conditions may be more difficult to treat. You can read more on our website.
Over the coming weeks, we will be working with the CCG, key health officials and colleagues across other Healthwatch teams in Sussex to deliver targeted messaging to higher risk groups. Look out for further information from us on this.
(2) Basic amenities for all
Last Friday evening, Healthwatch issued a press release raising concerns that some people in Brighton and Hove had no access to water, sanitation and washing facilities. We welcomed the Council’s engagement and response to our concerns. Following this, yesterday the government announced new guidance to mitigate impacts on Gypsy and Traveller communities.
An update on our work
(1) PPE for carers
Yesterday, the Council launched a new online form to allow carers to apply for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Applications can be submitted where the care is unpaid, provided through a care agency, funded through direct payments from the council, privately funded by the person receiving care or provided in the person’s own home. Healthwatch has been liaising closely with the Council and CCG over the issue of PPE and are pleased that this new facility is available. We continue to ask for clarification on some aspects of this service. We would like to express our thanks to one of our Healthwatch volunteers for bringing this to our attention and their help in pushing this important issue forward – proof that together we really can deliver improvements to the health system for everyone. We would also like to congratulate the Council and CCG for introducing this facility.
In addition, from 1 May, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against Covid-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period.
(2) GPs services offering services for deaf
From this week, d/Deaf people across Sussex will benefit from a new Video Relay Service (VRS), which has gone live in all GP practices and offers telephone consultations to British Sign Language (BSL) users. The new, improved service will see GP practices being able to offer the consultations with support from Signlive, a free to download App that connects the caller to a fully qualified interpreter before connecting to the recipient. It will mean d/Deaf patients across East Sussex will now be able to call their registered practice for free, using the standard telephone number, speak with receptionists and book a telephone appointment with a GP, just as a hearing person can. David Liley, CEO of Healthwatch, had escalated this issue with the CCG and we are extremely pleased to see this new service going live. We would like to congratulate the Council and CCG for introducing this service.
NHS responders (volunteers)
It is now possible for people to refer themselves for help from an NHS volunteer. This new site will provide you with further information if you are self-isolating and are in need of support.
Testing and treatment
This week testing was extended to include more people. Those now eligible for testing include NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents whether or not they have symptoms; essential workers; everyone in England aged 65 and over with coronavirus symptoms along with symptomatic members of their household and symptomatic workers who are unable to work from home also eligible for testing.
Mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces will also travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing. Units will respond to areas of highest demand. The new units will work alongside the country’s drive-through test sites.
In addition, a major home testing programme for coronavirus which will track levels of infection in the community was announced this week. It will help improve understanding of how many people are currently infected with the virus, and potentially how many have been infected and recovered. The testing programme will help identify an antibody test that is accurate and easy to use. In the first part of the programme, 100,000 randomly selected people from across England will be invited to provide swabs, which will be tested and look for evidence that someone is currently infected with the coronavirus. In the second part of the programme a number of different antibody tests will be assessed for their accuracy and ease of use at home.
Clinical trials of 6 new drugs offering potential treatment options for those with Covid-19 were announced this week, accelerating the development of new drugs for patients hospitalised with the virus.
A clinical trial has been given approval to determine if plasma donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help those battling the illness. If effective, up to 5,000 severely ill patients with COVID-19 could soon be treated each week.
Data on deaths from Covid-19
The way data on the numbers of deaths from Covid-19 changed this week, showing an increase in overall numbers. The revised data includes deaths in all settings with COVID-19 for the first-time including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. The new figures do not show a sudden increase in the number of deaths as it includes retrospective data.
This link will take you to a set of graphs which show that numbers of people in hospital with Covid and deaths from the virus are both falling.
Brighton and Hove & Sussex data
There are 355 confirmed cases in Brighton and Hove, out of a local population of 290,395. In the South East, 2,310 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus.
Adult Social Care
An adult social care recruitment campaign launched last week to boost workforce levels. ‘Care for others. Make a difference’ aims to attract people with the right values to take up work in social care, now and in the future. You may have seen adverts on television, radio and social media.
Other items of interest
The government has supported the development of several online apps which offer additional support to people who may be particularly vulnerable or isolated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Apps include:
Beam is a digital platform that supports the homeless and vulnerable. Beam takes referrals from local authorities and homeless charities, then ensures goods are funded, delivered and documented.
Vinehealth is a mobile app to support cancer patients and their loved ones during treatment by allowing them to easily track and understand their care, including their symptoms, side effects, appointments and medications.
Due to the lock down there is concern that we may see a potential increase in domestic abuse. Support is available. RISE, a local charity. People can email and talk to Anita Johal over the phone. More information has been produced by the government which can be accessed via this link.
Brighton and Hove STI week
This week, our city’s annual STI (sexually transmitted infection) Testing Week launched. Sexual health is often forgotten, and the present situation offers people an opportunity to order online testing kits to check their sexual health. (#BAHTW20). More information is available on twitter and THT Brighton’s facebook page. People should be sexually distancing at this time. Further information is available on the SHAC website.