To consider the report of the Chief Executive providing an update on the actions of the Leeds Health and Social Care system and Leeds City Council, working with broader partners, in response to and facilitating the recovery from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
(Report to follow)
Further to Minute No. 97, 16th December 2021, the Chief Executive submitted a report which provided an update on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic across the city including vaccination rollout, the recovery approach, outbreak management, and current issues and risks. The report focused upon the impact of entering into national lockdown restrictions, rollout of vaccinations across the city and the West Yorkshire sub-region, vaccination access, mitigating risks from the new Covid-19 variants and the support in place for people and businesses. The report also noted that the city’s multi-agency command and control arrangements continued to be used with the Response and Recovery plan, aiming to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on those in the city, especially the most vulnerable.
With the agreement of the Chair, the submitted report had been circulated to Board Members as a late item of business prior to the meeting for the reasons as set out in section 11.9 of the submitted report, and as detailed in Minute No. 112.
By way of introduction to the report, the Chair thanked Council officers, partners across all sectors and also the wider community for their continued efforts in response to the pandemic. An update was provided on a number of issues, including the roll out of the vaccine in Leeds, the latest infection rates, the establishment of Elland Road as a public vaccination site and the expected timeframe regarding further Government announcements regarding current restrictions. Members of the Board also paid tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, who had recently passed away, for his inspirational actions throughout the pandemic.
Emphasis was placed upon the work which continued to ensure that the number of people being vaccinated was maximised, with it being noted that this would continue to be a priority for the city and that Members would continue to be updated. With regard to vaccination levels, Members highlighted how crucial it was to ensure that clear and consistent messaging about the importance of being vaccinated continued to be conveyed to communities across the city, especially those where there was hesitancy in taking the vaccine.
Responding to a Member’s comments, the Board received further information on the actions which continued to be taken in collaboration with partners regarding the prioritisation of mental health services and the promotion of wellbeing, given the impact that the pandemic was having on many.
In conclusion, the Chair took the opportunity to thank Councillor Venner for extending her portfolio during the current period, to include both ‘Children and Families’ and ‘Health, Wellbeing and Adults’.
(a) That the change in restrictions announced on 4th January 2021, with the introduction of a national lockdown, be noted, and that the public efforts to stay at home and reduce contacts, be acknowledged; with the verbal update provided at the meeting on the latest positon also being noted, together with the fact that the national lockdown is due to be reviewed in mid-February;
(b) That the extensive work being undertaken across the city’s multi-agency partnership, in line with the integrated winter plan, as reported to December’s Executive Board, to roll out vaccinations as quickly as possible, control the spread of the virus, undertake local contact tracing, prepare for asymptomatic testing, protect the health service, and deliver support to vulnerable people and businesses, be noted, and that it be agreed that these priorities continue to be progressed;
(c) That the concurrent pressures on the system, which include winter pressures on the health and care system, flooding and extreme weather particularly through January, continued pressure on local government finance, capacity concerns and potential impacts from the uncertainty caused by the UK’s departure from the European Union, be noted;
(d) That in respect of the financial implications for the Council arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the contents of the submitted report be used as context when the Board considers the more detailed finance based reports, as presented elsewhere on the Executive Board agenda.
(As part of the discussion on this report, although not a declaration of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, Councillor Mulherin drew the Board’s attention to her recent appoint as Chief Executive for the Market Place organisation)