Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Sam Kane said: “If you have a concern or wish to know more about the way our district is policed these meetings are a great opportunity to ask your questions.”
“The district has such a strong sense of community, and events like these are vital in ensuring we all feel safe and protected.”
“So come along and help the police understand the issues you’re facing, let’s work together to make our district a safer place to live.”
There are signs of improvement in services provided by Whipps Cross Hospital. Part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital has been in special measures following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. A presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council following the latest CQC inspections in May suggest the hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘overall requires improvement’. However, as one first-hand account of patient care at the end of the presentation demonstrated, there is still some way to go.
Dr Heather Noble – Medical Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Alan Gurney – Managing Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Signs of improvement at hospital trust
Alan Gurney, Managing Director said that any further CQC inspections today would see more improvements. However, he added that the condition of operating theatres was still a cause for concern. Investment in theatre refurbishments is scheduled for next year.
The CQC has seen an increase in the quality of the working environment and culture of the hospital. Bullying was previously identified as a major issue with high turnover of staff and heavy reliance on agency support. Significant improvements have been made in these areas. The hospital is also old. Many of its buildings pre-date the creation of the NHS. Investment is needed in new buildings.
Dr Heather Noble assured Councillor Steven Neville that issues around radiation exposure to staff had been resolved. Councillor David Stallan received assurances that Alan Gurney had no plans to relocate Whipps Cross, although the hospital is on a large site and could potentially operate from a smaller footprint.
Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about bed-blocking and capacity. Alan Gurney used the phrase ‘delayed discharge’ for which he had 11 cases at that moment. He assured councillors that he was working with partners to reduce discharge delays. No bed spaces had been closed this year and Mr Gurney considered it to be a lesser challenge than some other issues facing the hospital.
Councillors Mitchell and Sartin received further information in response to questions about bullying. Councillor Chambers explored the depth of hospital planning for the winter. Alan Gurney confirmed additional investment in building work and weekend cover arrangements to enhance winter cover. There is also additional ‘step-down’ coverage and coordination with partners in the ambulance service and care homes. The staff flu vaccination campaign is part of steps to prepare staff for the winter season.
Councillor David Wixley followed up on the issues of bullying and culture. Councillor Nigel Bedford focused on staff retention and reusing the defunct nursing home for other purposes. Alan Gurney provided assurance that recruitment and retention improvements are ongoing. He also felt that the site had plenty of capacity for development including accommodation for staff.
Responding to Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Dr Noble said that the Council could provide support by communicating the message about the need for redevelopment of outdated buildings.
Developing staffs careers
Dr Noble emphasised that managers as such ‘were not bad’ after Alan Gurney described how Whipps Cross was focusing on continual recruitment of nurses and a requirement for more doctors.
Dr Noble said that further work was needed in developing career and employment links with local schools and colleges. Responding to Councillor Holly Whitbread, she described good examples of work in Newham which could be adopted for Whipps Cross.
Mortuary facilities are old and in need of replacement but Dr Noble assured Councillor Bedford that the dignity of the deceased and care for the bereaved was a high priority.
Responding to Councillor Baldwin, Alan Gurney said that it would be wrong to say the use of Private Finance Initiative funding (PFI) was not an option but he added that there was no appetite for it.
Dementia care is also a priority. Responding to Councillor Aniket Patel, Dr Noble outlined some of the programmes including Dementia Friends and creating clinical areas more dementia ‘friendly’. Alan Gurney added that with the focus on older patients, dementia care was critical.
Councillor Mary Sartin, chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Mr Gurney and Dr Noble, concluding questions with reference to the caring and compassionate approach of staff recognised in the latest CQC report.
Learning from the past
Mr Gurney and Dr Noble were invited to stay at the end of their presentation questions for a statement by a local resident. Janis Crowder gave an emotional account of her mother’s poor experience as a patient of Whipps Cross last year. Accepting improvements have since been made, Ms Crowder felt it was important to explain to hospital managers the difficulties and inadequacies of her mother’s care.
Transport for London managers have agreed to attend the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss various public transport issues in January. Essex County Council is also to be invited to attend the Neighbourhoods Select Committee to discuss County bus services.
Epping Forest College 27 February 2018
Committee councillors also noted the scheduled attendance of the Principal of Epping Forest College at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 27 February 2018.
Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114
Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them
Light them at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back
Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket
Respect your neighbours, don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow
Take care with sparklers ,never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use
Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening
Know the laws on fireworks and don’t set any off after 11pm. On 5 November, displays can continue until 12am and on certain occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be set off until 1am.
If you are planning to have a bonfire make sure to:
Build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges
Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire
Never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
Don’t leave bonfires unattended
An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out
If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water
Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire
Stay safe and look out for other
“Bonfire night is always a busy time for our emergency services so wherever you are, remember to stay safe and look out for others” said Safer, greener and transport portfolio holder Councillor Sam Kane.
“Organised events are always the safest way to enjoy fireworks and North Weald Airfield is holding another fantastic event on Friday 3 November. There are many other organised events across the district, but if you do choose to have your celebrations at home, please follow the safety tips so that you and your family remember the night for all the right reasons.”
6 local community and voluntary groups have been awarded £12,840 in grants helping the district’s social and physical wellbeing.
Hertfordshire Boat Rescue £830 for radio equipment for use by volunteers on rescue missions and events
Playground at Theydon Association (PAT) £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the Theydon Bois playground
Fyfield Bridge Club £1,200 contribution towards the cost of new scoring equipment for the club
Ongar & Villages Voluntary Care £1,770 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Loughton Voluntary Care £1,540 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Fyfield Village Hall £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the gentleman’s toilets and cloakroom
Keeping our communities thriving
Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “Our grants go on to help such a wide variety of people throughout our community, giving our parents and children a social place to be active in new playgrounds, to giving our older resident’s opportunities to get out of the house and gain more independence with Loughton’s voluntary care community transport service.”
“I am proud that these grants are actively helping people in our district, giving much needed and valued services the boost they need to go on and keep our communities thriving. Can you think of a community group or voluntary service that could use a cash boost? Don’t delay, apply now.”
Apply for a £5k grant
If your community group could use up to £5,000 to help with your one-off project, initiative or even the further development of an existing scheme, apply now.
Epping Forest District Council welcomed the first tenants into John Scott Court, Waltham Abbey this week.
50 guests gathered for the official opening ceremony, an event which marked the completion of Phase One of the Council’s House-building Programme to provide 23 new affordable rented homes in Waltham Abbey.
The development is named after former District Health and Housing Officer and Joint Chief Executive John Scott as a tribute to decades of service to the Council and the local community.
Guests, including John Scott, MP Eleanor Laing and local councillors joined council officers, contractors and tenants to open the nine newly built homes at John Scott Court, all of which are being let to local residents in need of housing.
Energy efficient homes
The brand new energy-efficient homes, which are built to Lifetime Homes Standards, are built on a formerly under-used garage site.
Resident delighted with her new home
One new tenant, who was delighted to move into her new home said: “I moved in last week and am so happy in my new home. I am very impressed with the size of the rooms, my son has lots of space for his toys. I’ve shown lots of friends and neighbours around my flat and they all want to live here!”
Programme of over 300 homes
The new homes at John Scott Court are the latest completions in the district-wide programme of over 300 new affordable homes to be built during the next 10 years. They will shortly be followed by the completion of Phase 2 of the Programme in Burton Road, Loughton, which is on schedule to complete by March 2018.
Proud to work with residents
Councillor Syd Stavrou, Portfolio Holder for Housing attended the official opening and said: “We are committed to making the best use of our housing stock and are continuing to build new homes for people in housing need within our community. We are proud to be working with residents and partners, building more well-designed homes for affordable rent in our district”.
After the ceremony there was an opportunity to visit another new development of six houses and flats at Hockley court, Waltham Abbey.
Along with members of the Waste Management Team and City of London Volunteer Wardens, Youth Councillors dressed in protective clothing cleaned up over 550 laughing gas canisters in Epping Forest, Traps Hill, Loughton and Cornmill Lane, Waltham Abbey.
So what is laughing gas?
The Home Office has found Nitrous Oxide (N2O) more commonly known as laughing gas, to be the second most popular recreational drug among 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales.
Nitrous oxide is not a controlled drug, and has legitimate uses in medicine and dentistry.
Under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, it is illegal to sell to under 18s when the seller believes the substance may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication.
While it is not illegal for an adult to inhale the gas, many authority’s across Britain are concerned about its use.
Youth Councillors are currently conducting an on line survey in schools, aiming to identify
Young people’s understanding of drugs
What drugs they have tried
What made they try them
Curiosity or boredom
The findings will be published as part of the Youth Council’s drug awareness project.
Youth Councillors are currently designing a poster campaign to take into their schools and raise awareness of the dangers of the laughing gas craze.
Youth Councillor Nina Honey said: “It is important young people understand the serious health risks the substance can pose.”
“Nitrous oxide can be very dangerous when misused. When inhaled the gas restricts oxygen getting to the brain and can cause someone to become faint or unconscious and can even cause heart attacks.”
“The amount of canisters we found whilst out and about is worrying and it shows laughing gas is a real issue for young people today. Through our drug awareness project we hope to highlight the risks and make young people aware of the damage they are doing.”
Tesco’s has teamed up with Groundwork to help fund community projects. The ‘bags of help’ initiative sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 being awarded, which is all raised through the sales of 5p bags.
3 groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.
Voluntary Action Epping Forest
VAEF is part of a nationwide network of independent agencies that act as “matchmakers” for people seeking volunteering opportunities for non-profit and charity groups needing volunteers.
They match the interests and skills of local people with the needs of groups operating in the Epping Forest district. They also encourage and support organisations to operate good practice in volunteer management.
VAEF aims to use the funding to reach more potential volunteers and increase recruitment of volunteers for community groups in the area.
Cast your vote
Voting is open throughout September and October
Cast your vote in Epping, Theydon Bois and Ongar Tesco stores
Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for September and October. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”
Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury said: “We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”
Make a positive difference
Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “We are thrilled to see VAEF shortlisted. The work they do for our community bringing people and services together through volunteering makes such a positive difference.”
“Along with Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra, who through the grants service help fund the vital and much needed work, we urge you to cast your vote for VAEF. Allow them to continue to the vast and varied work throughout our district.”
Want to volunteer?
Interested in becoming a volunteer? VAEF has a variety of opportunities for you to get involved with, take a look.
A new Police helicopter base, anti- social behaviour in Waltham abbey and the Oakwood hill depot were among items discussed at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting Thursday 7 September 2017.
North Weald set to become new Police helicopter base
North Weald Airfield is set to become a new base for the National Police Air Service. Three helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft will be based at the council-owned airfield.
Asset Management Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg put forward recommendations for a 25 year lease with the helicopter service. The proposals would include a new hanger and buildings to support a range of police helicopter activities.
The Police will be joining a range of other aviation tenants including the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance which has operated very successfully from North Weald for several years. Receiving reassurances about flight lines and noise levels from members of the National Police Air Service at the meeting, councillors welcomed the report and the aspiration for continued development of aviation at North Weald.
Councillor Sam Kane was welcomed to his first Cabinet meeting as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder by Council Leader Chris Whitbread. Councillor Kane has stepped into the role previous held by Councillor Gary Waller who recently passed away.
Councillor Kane’s first act was to deliver a strong statement regarding anti-social behaviour in Waltham Abbey.
Councillor Sam Kane’s Statement:
“Fellow Councillors will know that Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with local residents and other organisations to improve the quality of life for everyone in and around Hillhouse on the Ninefields housing estate in Waltham Abbey.
Work has started in just the last few weeks on a brand new leisure centre. Health, housing and social facilities are coming together in a major multi-million pound investment.
The vast majority of residents in this area are the most decent and law-abiding citizens you could ever wish to meet. We also know there is an element of anti-social behaviour, a group of people who seem intent on making the lives of everyone else miserable. We are working with all our partners including Essex Police to tackle this behaviour but events in the last day or so have taken a new and very ugly twist.
Fishing line has been tied at knee height between posts and fences with the deliberate intention of tripping and hurting people. This mindless and stupid act has resulted in injury to a small child. Pictures of the serious cuts to his face have been circulated on social media.
I know this will come as a shock to you and I know every councillor would wish to send our sympathy to this innocent young child and his family.
Local residents and all right-minded people will be incensed by this latest incident. Through this meeting I want to let our residents know that we stand with them. The anti-social behaviour of the last few weeks must now stop.
A temporary dispersal order has been put in place from tonight. You will appreciate that many other things are going on behind the scenes that I cannot discuss in public.
Council staff have been working incredibly hard. Plans of action drawn up with Essex Police even before this latest event are being put into effect now. We believe we know who the perpetrators are. It saddens me to say that they are very young. We have been working with our local schools and have passed the identities of the perpetrators to Essex Police.
Enough is enough. Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities which must end. As the action plan goes into effect, I expect to see the situation improve significantly. I also know that you can never eliminate all crime, but with the support of my council colleagues I want to send out a clear message. We stand with all the decent and law-abiding residents of Waltham Abbey.
We will not let the few ruin the lives of the many.”
New council office and depot facilities accommodating Grounds Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance and the MoT centre opened recently at Oakwood Hill in Loughton. Latest proposals for the transfer of the Council’s Housing Repairs service to Oakwood Hill were scrutinised at Cabinet.
Proposals for additional staff car parking received particular attention. A petition opposing the use of green space opposite the new facility was delivered by Councillor Chris Roberts.
Councillors agreed the recommendations in the Cabinet report with the proviso that alternatives to the proposals of additional parking would also be investigated. Full public consultation would also take place as part of any planning application process if the proposals for parking set out in the report went forward.
Council Leader Chris Whitbread updated fellow councillors on a range of projects geared towards improving customer service including a new public customer service reception, plans for which are due to come before Cabinet by the end of the year.