Report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services.
The Committee considered a report of the Directors of Community and Children’s Services and Public Health in respect of Covid-19 testing and contact tracing.
Members noted that, since the production of this report, a number of local authorities had been invited to run a pilot, including the City and Hackney (as they have a single Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Public Health Team. The Director of Public Health advised that this opportunity would help to shape the system and provide learning from the unique population mix across the City and Hackney. Furthermore, as lockdown eased, the City would have a unique insight into commuter behaviours. Members noted that the GLA was very supportive of the pilot. The Ward Members for Portsoken advised the Committee of their strong community links and offered to help the Director of Public Health with communications.
In response to a question about the upcoming target of 1st June 2020, the Director of Public Health (DPH) advised that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) managed test results but the Directors of Public Health could advocate for GPs to receive them. The Public Health Directors would obtain information from contact tracing updates and petition for as much detail as possible. Furthermore, good working relationships existed between local Public Health Directors, Public Health England and its Sub Regions. Members also noted that there would be more intense local involvement should there be an outbreak in a local care home, for example. Plans for local training of contract tracers across London were also underway.
Members noted that the City and Hackney Public Health Team have very effective health intelligence and more analytical capacity than other teams. They were also working with the North East London STP (NHS) to understand patterns and clusters.
In concluding, the Director explained how the system would evolve throughout the outbreak, and as lockdown measures eased. As an outcome, the Director thought it was likely that there would be more public health presence at a local level, with more specialists in post.