Members of the public were invited to take part in West Essex CCGs September Board virtually, in a meeting chaired by Dr Rob Gerlis.
The committee officially welcomed its new attendee, Cllr John Moran, Essex County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member responsible for health and social care. Cllr Moran joined the Board recently after the sad loss of long serving Board member, Cllr Terry Cutmore, who remains much missed.
Rob said: “We formally welcome John today but also remember Cllr Terry Cutmore, who served on the Board with us for a number of years and who sadly passed away this year.”
The meeting was also shown a moving video featuring a 10-year-old mental health ambassador who spoke about her own experiences in a bid to raise awareness.
Chloe, whose sister was born with NFI (Neurofibromatosis) type 1, was referred for play therapy and talked about how she had become a young ambassador for Essex Healthwatch following a relapse of her condition brought on by the recent challenges of COVID-19.
The effect of the pandemic on mental health formed a large part of discussions at the meeting, which also focused on a report produced by Essex County Council about the challenges which may face people in months ahead, including the increasing risk of health inequalities.
The Board also reflected on how the past few months had affected patients, staff and those working within the health and social care sectors, with Board clinicians relaying their experiences and the impact on colleagues delivering a variety of roles in practices.
Members discussed the on-going plans for the new building for the Princess Alexandra Hospital receiving feedback and questions from the public.
It heard sickness rates among staff are currently low and there are plans to bring in mandatory unconscious bias training. Focus was also directed on the mental health of the workforce, including developing the role of mental health first aiders.
The ways in which the CCG is continually working together with other stakeholders, including District Councils and the County Council to have a more integrated approach to healthcare, was also shared.
The Board meeting in public will next take place on Thursday 26 November, 2020. The Board papers and joining details will be shared on the West Essex CCG website closer to the date.