Agenda and minutes

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 18th November, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Madeleine Shopland  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Grandison.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 405 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 September 2020 and the Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 19 October 2020.


Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 September 2020 and the Minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on 19 October 2020, were confirmed as a correct record and will be signed by the Chairman at the next available opportunity.


Councillor Frewin asked about an update on ambulance response times.  It was confirmed that an update was still being sought.


Councillor Firmager indicated that as it was his first meeting as a Committee member, he would not vote on this item.


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


Councillor Jones declared a Personal Interest in item 33 Royal Berkshire Hospital, on the grounds that he had recently been elected to the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust Board of Governors. He also declared a Personal Interest in this item on the grounds that a family member worked at the hospital.


Councillor Frewin declared a Personal Interest in item 33 Royal Berkshire Hospital, on the grounds that a family member worked at the hospital and also as he was a First Responder.



Public Question Time

To answer any public questions


A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.


The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.


Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to


There were no public questions.



Member Question Time

To answer any member questions


There were no Member questions.



Royal Berkshire Hospital

To receive an update from the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust on how it has been working with the Council during the Covid 19 pandemic.


Dom Hardy, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, provided a presentation to the Committee.


During the discussion of this item, the following points were made:


·         Dom Hardy thanked the Members, residents and all the organisations that had supported the Trust during the first wave of the pandemic, either by doing the right thing, providing donations or providing free food or services for staff.  The Trust had been grateful for the solidarity, which had improved staff morale.

·         The hospital was fully open with all services running.  All necessary precautions such as PPE and social distancing were being taken.

·         The Trust was keen that patients attended their appointments and were aware that some people had concerns about visiting a health care facility during the pandemic. 

·         The Trust had a number of aims over the winter;

Ø  to deal with hospitalised Covid patients, although the number of people hospitalised during the second wave was not at the same levels as during the first wave.  Whilst the prevalence of community transition had increased this had not translated into such a high hospital admittance;

Ø  continuing to provide urgent care to non Covid patients;

Ø  Sustaining major pieces of work such as the development of a Strategic Outline Case for a new hospital development.  If this was successful an Outline Business Case would be developed followed by a Final Business Case.  Councillor Miall commented that the survey on the mini site regarding potential options was now closed.  Dom Hardy indicated that the Committee could send further comments to him if they wished.

·         Services were currently running at normal levels and inroads were being made into the backlog, which had built up during the first wave.  Services would be sustained so long as it was safe to do so.

·         Members thanked the Trust for their hard work over the course of the pandemic.

·         Councillor Frewin commented that he had heard examples of services such as the cancer services, continuing to run effectively during the pandemic.  He commended the Trust on that achievement.

·         Councillor Frewin asked about the outcome of the Prime Minister’s recent visit.  Dom Hardy commented that he had visited in relation to the review of hospital food but the opportunity to impress on him the importance of investing in the health infrastructure had been taken.

·         Councillor Frewin commented that Healthwacth had had feedback that the communications letters in the maternity service had not been updated to reflect Covid measures.  Dom Hardy indicated that he would take this up.

·         Councillor Firmager asked how long it was anticipated to be before the backlog in services, was cleared.  Dom Hardy commented that there was an operational standard to ensure that no one waited more than 52 weeks for treatment.  There were currently approximately 1200 patients effected, and assuming services did not have to be suspended, it was anticipated that the backlog would be cleared by April/May.  Where patients had an urgent need e.g. cancer, they did not have to wait this long and treatment was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Update on work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To receive an update on the work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.

Additional documents:


The Committee received an update on the work of Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.


During the discussion of this item, the following points were made:


·         Jo Dixon introduced the report on perinatal services.  The Committee asked that this report be resent to Members and considered at a future meeting.

·         With regards to the Healthwatch Covid 19 – people’s experiences of Health and Care services and accessing information survey, Councillor Jones questioned how Healthwatch selected who completed the survey.  Jo Dixon indicated that the survey had been publicised on Healthwatch’s website and social media and that no specific groups had been targeted.

·         Councillor Jones noted that 30% of those who responded had indicated that they had decided not to use NHS and health and care services during lock down, and questioned how many people this equated to.  Nick Durman indicated that it was 30% of 178 responders.

·         Nick Durman informed Members that he and representatives from the Reading and West Berkshire Healthwatches had presented the findings to the united Executive.  Nearly 700 responses had been received in total between the three.

·         Nick Durman stated that he had been informed by the Flu Group that a high percentage of people with a high BMI were choosing not to take up their flu jabs.  Many people had concerns about attending health care facilities during the pandemic.  Targeted communications was needed to ensure that people felt safe to attend to take up their flu jab.

·         Councillor Jones felt that it was positive that 61% of responders had said that they would be happy to have a video appointment again.  He questioned whether the video appointments saved time for the clinicians.  Nick Durman stated that many people had found it a positive experience but some had experienced technical difficulties.

·         Councillor Jones questioned whether the response ‘I have had ups and downs’ to the question about the responder’s mental wellbeing, meant that the person usually had ups and downs but that it was worse during the pandemic.  Nick Durman felt that it could be read either way. 

·         Members discussed CAMHS and waiting lists for the services.  Jo Dixon indicated that service users had indicated that wait times had increased and that Healthwatch had recently been informed by some parents that the service was no longer accepting new referrals, however, this was yet to be confirmed.  Councillor Loyes suggested raising the matter with the relevant Director and Executive Member.

·         Members expressed disappointment that some residents had had to ask their surgery repeatedly for a shielding letter.

·         Councillor Bishop Firth asked about what type of fears people had about accessing health and social care services during the pandemic.

·         Members were pleased to see a large number of positive comments from responders.

·         Councillor Jones expressed concern that some GP surgery websites did not have information about wearing masks, whether patients could be accompanied and where they would be waiting prior to their appointment.

·         Nick Durman stated that he was meeting with the CCG regarding the GP Patient Survey results.  Some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Forward Programme pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To consider the forward programme for the remainder of the municipal year.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the forward programme.


During the discussion of this item, the following points were made:


·         It was suggested that the update from the Wokingham Borough Wellbeing Board be moved from the January to the March meeting.

·         Members agreed that the update on dental services be moved to the unscheduled items section and a further update sought as to when an update may be possible.

·         The Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee had recommended that the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee look at various aspects relating to children and young people’s mental health, including depression and anxiety levels and whether specific groups or those living in particular areas were affected.  It was also suggested that self-harm rates in 15-19 years olds be considered. 

·         Councillor Miall suggested that suicide prevention be taken to the January meeting if possible.

·         Members agreed to the holding of an extraordinary meeting in February to hear from the CCG on how they had worked with the Council during the pandemic.  An update would also be sought on the outcome of the GP Surgery Patient Survey.


RESOLVED:  That the forward programme be noted.