28 Sep Norman’s Notes September 2021
Workplace health checks
There has been notable interest in the free Mid Sussex District Council Workplace Health Check and Weight Management programmes, which are being offered in all 3 towns and at Cuckfield Rugby Club.
Workplace Health Checks or MOT’s include goal setting with follow up, or referral to weight loss support, smoking cessation, alcohol reduction or a menopause talk. Mental Health face-to-face talks and support for Managing Stress or Mental Wellbeing can also be arranged.
There is a good deal of additional information on the link below, or you could be signposted to other services if you wish.
If you would like to access any of these services for yourself or your staff, contact the Wellbeing Team here: https://midsussex.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/
If you are a patient at Moatfield Surgery, I am told that a Wellbeing Health Coach will be commencing work there early in November too.
Continue to take Covid precautions
It’s important that we continue to take precautions and do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid to keep each other safe.
Here’s how to do your bit:
- Test regularly – order or pick up test kits or have a supervised test at a local pharmacy. Find out more about testing here: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-and-information/test-trace-and-isolate/
- Have both doses of the vaccination and a booster if appropriate.
- Remember hands, face, space, let fresh air in.
Find the latest local Covid-19 data here: https://wsx-c19-mobile.netlify.app/
Impact of Covid on the West Sussex Economy
Each month the West Sussex County Council Insight and Economy teams create a monthly snapshot report looking at the impact of the pandemic on the West Sussex economy.
We will all have heard about the impacts on Crawley, where over half of all jobs are dependent on Gatwick Airport. Government support has cushioned local businesses from the full impacts with more than £261million being paid, via the districts and boroughs, to local businesses affected by lockdown.
Our MSDC team have paid out over £48million to local businesses during the pandemic.
Keep up to date with these monthly impact reports and more, here: http://www.businesswestsussex.co.uk/covid19snapshot
West Sussex Transport Plan Review
West Sussex County Council has published the draft West Sussex Transport Plan (WSTP) 2022-2036 for consultation until 8 October.
They are reviewing the WSTP to update the County Council’s approach to investment in, and management of, the transport network.
To address climate change we urgently need to reduce transport emissions, but transport is part of almost every aspect of our lives, including how we work, socialise, access education and health services. WSCC therefore must plan for our future transport needs in order to protect and enhance our very beautiful and prosperous county.
WSCC are consulting on the draft version of the plan to get feedback on its content and the strategies that it sets out.
See more and contribute here: https://yourvoice.westsussex.gov.uk/draft-west-sussex-transport-plan-consultation
Getting to see your GP
A number of constituents across Mid Sussex have approached Mims Davies MP raising concerns regarding seeing their GP on a face-to-face basis now that Covid restrictions are lifting in many areas of life.
Our MP has been in contact with the Practice Managers of Ship Street and Judges Close surgeries to seek answers and clarity. Reports of long waiting times on the phone and availability of appointments have been received.
It is important to remember that the safety of patients remains the NHS and GP’s priority and that, unlike many other things we can now do with greater flexibility, GPs are still required to maintain many existing pandemic restrictions. This sadly limits opportunities for face-to-face appointments and capacity in waiting rooms.
For a number of years, practices have needed to adapt and evolve to new ways of working. Each takes into account patients’ needs, expectations and requirements. An increased occurrence of online appointments and telephone triaging have become the way the service is developing, to complement face to face appointments. These changes had already started to come in prior to the Covid pandemic.
Very few of us like change, so Mims Davies understands the fears and frustrations residents face. She says, “I am assured by some surgeries that they are engaging with more patients than before the pandemic because of these evolving ways of working.”
At Ship Street Surgery, Judges Close Surgery and Dolphins Practice in Haywards Heath, she is aware they are upgrading their telephone systems and this has caused extra difficulties, but she has been reassured by each surgery that they are listening to patients’ concerns and addressing issues as a matter of priority.
GPs are, in fact, set up as businesses commissioned by Sussex NHS Commissioners (CCG) to provide a range of NHS services. The Clinical Commissioning Group provides NHS funding and support to GP practices. As well as engaging with Practice Managers directly, our MP has raised the challenges surgeries are facing directly with the CCG to press for the appropriate assistance for each surgery, alongside feeding in constituent’s concerns.
If you have a particular concern about accessing your GP please do contact our MP by email at: email@example.com or via the contact form on her website: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/contact and a member of her team will be in touch to support your enquiry.
The state of adult social care.
Over the last 18 months, those working in social care have moved mountains. They have cared for vulnerable people and kept them safe as we’ve faced the biggest challenge in living memory.
The pandemic has added to the challenges the NHS and those who work within care were already facing: an ageing population, financial pressures and a workforce in need of more training and support.
Our government wants the NHS and social care to work as one to provide the world-class service we expect: free at the point of use and paid out of taxation. But government can only do that if they address historical problems about how social care is funded.
No responsible government wants to bury their head in the sand and pass these problems onto the next government – or the next generation.
The recently announced levy shares the burden across employees, employers, and pensioners alike, to pay the costs of care. No one will have to pay more than £86,000 in care costs over their lifetime. That cap will apply to everyone – it will not matter what condition they have, where they live, how old they are or how much they earn.
Government is also casting out the safety net further by expanding means-tested support, so many more people can benefit from having the costs of their care covered. Taken together, this will ensure a more sustainable footing for social care in the years to come.
Crucially, there is an additional half a billion pounds being invested in our hardworking social care workforce. The funds – spread across three years – will go towards new qualifications, better training, clearer career routes and stronger mental health and wellbeing support. Currently over 25% of care staff posts are vacant and this has to be addressed.
While this is not a total overhaul of the system, it’s an important first step for a sustainable future of the sector and a massive investment in a workforce that has done so much for us. Together, this investment will make sure many millions more get the chance to live happy and healthy lives.
Sussex Police and Crime Panel
I attended the Police and Crime Scrutiny Panel on Friday 24 September where we scrutinised one of the Police and Crime Plan priorities.
There are three police and crime priorities for 2021/22 as identified by the Police and Crime Commissioner and set out in the Police and Crime Plan. They are:
Public Priority 1 – Strengthen local policing, tackle crime and prevent harm
Public Priority 2 – Relentless disruption of serious and organised crime
Public Priority 3 – Support victims and safeguard the vulnerable
Specific areas covered in the report include domestic abuse, rape and serious sexual offences, stalking and harassment, elder abuse, quality victim support services, safeguarding the vulnerable and improving access to justice.
We will also be reviewing the use of Stop and Search powers in Sussex and how the Chief Constable is held to account for ensuring that the use of these powers is both appropriate and proportionate.
See more here: https://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/about/police-crime-panel/
New electric cars to cut emissions
MSDC’s Parking Enforcement team will be keeping the air clean while they keep the streets clear, thanks to three new electric vehicles.
The Civil Enforcement Officers carry out daily patrols across the District to ensure public safety and the free movement of traffic, especially for the emergency services. Converting to electric cars will help to improve local air quality in Mid Sussex and will save more than 9 tonnes of carbon every year.
The switch to electric vehicles is part of the Council’s Sustainability Strategy, which looks at ways to protect the environment, tackle climate change and cut Greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Other energy saving initiatives introduced by MSDC include the installation of solar panels on Council buildings and switching to energy efficient windows, heating and lighting.
The Parking Enforcement team is a partnership service between Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council, providing enforcement both on street and in car parks across Mid Sussex. The rest of the parking enforcement fleet will be replaced with electric vehicles when their current leases expire.
Gatwick Airport consultation on northern runway
As you will know by now, Gatwick Airport Ltd is consulting on proposals to bring the existing Northern Runway into regular use alongside the Main Runway.
Departures could be shared between the two runways. The Northern Runway could be used for smaller aircraft. All arrivals could continue to use the Main Runway.
The plans also include development of supporting infrastructure and facilities.
MSDC is working with neighbouring councils and will be commissioning work to respond in detail to proposals. As Community Cabinet Member, I am especially keen to see that communities in the north of our district do not lose out; we must see appropriate road and rail improvements, air quality protected and noise levels carefully controlled to provide the lowest possible levels of disturbance without impacting on job creation.
Gatwick are inviting comments, for 12 weeks, until 11:59pm on 1 December 2021.
Find out more about the plans at https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/future-plans/northern-runway/