Merton Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: This will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location, in accordance with s78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Link: View the meeting live here

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Thomas Barlow Councillor Rebecca Lanning and Co-opted Member Saleem Sheikh. Councillor Oonagh Moulton and Councillor Joan Henry attended as substitutes.





Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interests




Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 53 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record.


Update on COVID-19 - NHS South West London CCG - Verbal Update.


The Locality Executive Director said during the COVID-19 Pandemic the NHS went into a command and control model working as part of NHS England. This resulted in a central control room in daily communication with health partners. Focus now is on recovery and return to normal levels of healthcare for non-covid patients, and preparing for winter and a possible second wave. COVID-19 has led to innovation in a number of areas and the NHS want to ensure that the learning is embedded across all services


A programme of work on planned care was paused and there has been a backlog of surgery. Hospitals are reviewing waiting lists and aiming to get patients into services as quickly as possible. There are now different standards on infection prevention and control to ensure it is COVID-19 compliant.


Work is taking place to prepare intensive care for a possible second wave. The aim is to maintain capacity for elective patients. The CCG are working with St George’s to create elective care capacity.


Cancer referrals dropped by 80% during the height of the Pandemic. Patients are presenting with more advanced symptoms and services are aiming to get diagnosis and treatment as quickly as possible. The CCG worked closely with the mental health Trust in July, as there has been increased mental health challenges due to COVID-19. There has been increased investment in psychological therapy services to support people.


Primary care faced huge challenges as well as great innovations during the pandemic. Workforce challenges are significant and the CCG are working with practices to support communities.  During COVID-19 this resulted in Practices working in collaboration.


A Panel member asked about the impact on children’s preventative health such as vaccines. The Locality Executive Director said they are working with Practices to ensure there are capture measures in place. There are other impacts on children such as those who are vulnerable and have complex needs. Some of those services have fallen away and the CCG working with schools and partners to ensure they are restored.


A panel member asked about the flu vaccination programme highlighting that the Boots Pharmacy  have begun advertising which is key to preparing for the winter.  It is was asked how community champions are contributing to sharing key messages around Covid-19. The Locality Executive Director said they are in discussion with Practices about flu vaccines, they will be arriving soon and there will be advertising campaigns. The CCG will use community champions as part of the community prescribing network.


A Panel member asked about the progress with the backlog of cancer patients and those with other treatments pending and what preparations are being put in place for a second wave. The Locality Executive Director said they aim to get to 90 percent of historical levels by the end of the year, will share information on trajectories when they are confirmed. There has been learning from the first wave, and a better understanding of how to use sites.


A panel member asked if we  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Commissioning arrangements in South West London - Verbal Update


The Locality Executive Director said the merger took place on 1st April 2020 there is a borough committee for Merton. There are meetings  with other boroughs and it is the main forum for agreeing the response to the pandemic



Update on COVID-19 - - Merton Community and Housing Department pdf icon PDF 135 KB


The Assistant Director for Adult Social Care said at the start of the pandemic there has been a focus on hospital discharges to enable flows to continue given the numbers of COVID-19 patients. The department along with the rest of London/UK had to deal the with the challenges of sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) and had to provide a wraparound service for those who were shielding in Merton. Day centres were closed in line with government guidance around social distancing with only one day centre remaining open for people with complex learning disabilities.


The Director of Public Health said councils have produced outbreak control plans – to monitor rates of new COVID-19 infection rates. A new Health and Wellbeing Board Community Sub group has been established. The aim is to bring the community and voluntary sector together to share important messages on tackling the spread of COVID-19.


Panel members asked about the development of the track and trace process, including when will the new test and trace app be rolled out and if it will work locally.


The Director of Public Health said it is being piloted in the aim of this is to see how the app can complement the rest of the system.


A Panel member noted that fewer people are wearing face masks and asked what can be done to re-educate people. The Director of Public Health said she will pass concerns to the environmental health team and the chamber of commerce. It is important that we all become role models, to help make mask wearing a mask a norm.


A Panel member said the lockdown had a terrible effect on older people in the borough, lots of people are very depressed. We need to get people into groups again. The Assistant Director of Adult Social Care said people’s lives have been upended. The council have been contacting people who attended day centres and setting up small socially distanced groups. It was also reported that the council are working with mental health colleagues, planning for people with mental health problems as a result of the pandemic.

What support to vulnerable communities if they do not use technology. The Assistant Director for Adult Social Care said My Merton was utilised to get the message out around community hubs and what it could offer. The voluntary sector was utilized to reach groups; local communities set up Mutual Aid to provide support to neighbours in communities.


A Panel member asked if the council will urge the government for more testing in care homes and teachers. The Director of Public Health said the national strategy is for more testing capacity, there is more demand than supply. Public health helps to prioritise those who are symptomatic. There are high risk groups, will be working with NHS partners and aim to increase testing in care homes amongst staff and residents.




The Chair thanked staff and volunteers for all their efforts to protect  communities




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB


The work programme was noted.