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.
Halloween is a fun time of the year for many people but not everyone wants to take part. We ask trick or treaters if they see a poster similar to the posters below not to disturb that house.
To print a poster, download by clicking on a poster and right click save image as.
Not for everyone
“Trick or treating at Halloween has become increasingly popular and for most people it’s harmless fun. While many love to dress up as a ghost or zombie, it’s not for everyone” said Sam Kane, Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder.
“Some people would rather not have trick or treaters call at their home. They may not want to open their door to strangers at night time. They may have pets who are afraid of strangers, or small children asleep inside. We know that some elderly or vulnerable people can get distressed by unexpected callers.”
Respect their wishes and do not disturb
Councillor Kane asked trick or treaters: “If you’re out trick or treating and see a poster like this, please respect their wishes and do not disturb them. I hope that everyone taking part has a fun and safe Halloween, but not at the expense of those who wish to ignore it.”
Do not ‘check in’ on social media, as this identifies your house is empty
Secure and protect your home
Sam Kane, Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder said: “This is an extremely timely initiative from Essex Police, with the nights drawing in, our Community Safety Team would encourage every resident to secure and protect their homes by means of a few simple tips to help prevent household burglary.”
Let your friends and families know
“All the tips can be found on www.essex.police.uk/secure and we would like as many people as possible to take a few minutes to check out the advice. Small steps really can make a big difference to your home security” advised Councillor Kane.
“We are working with Essex Police to spread the word, so please do visit the website and let your friends and families know about these important home security checks.”
Keep your home safe
Councillor Kane ended with: “These are excellent tips for residents to employ, but if you’re concerned about security and want advice on how to keep your home safe, contact Ross Brazier, our Epping Forest and Harlow Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor. Call 101 or email email@example.com.”
“If you see someone acting suspiciously call the police on 101 or if you see a crime in progress call 999.”