Please note: we have now sent this letter, so there’s no point adding your name to it.
Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together agreed at a recent meeting that there is a pressing need for scrutiny of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System’s response to the Covid19 pandemic.
But Councils have suspended their Scrutiny meetings, because of the Covid-19 Emergency.
So we have written an open letter to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee, asking them to meet as soon as possible – virtually and in public – for this purpose.
You are welcome to sign the open letter, if you agree with it
The open letter is downloadable here:
Please note: we have now sent this letter, so there is no point adding your name to it. Many thanks to the 60+ people who did.
Why the role of scrutiny is vital at this time
Scrutiny of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System response to the Covid 19 emergency is vital, as we start to move to the second phase of response to the Covid19 pandemic.
We need Councillors to scrutinise the Integrated Care System’s plans for when, where and how to ease the “lockdown”.
First, in order to make sure that Nolan principles of integrity in public life prevail under the wide-ranging and hastily legislated Coronavirus Act 2020. Particularly the principles of objectivity, accountability, openness and leadership.
Second, in order to function as a critical friend to the Integrated Care System, in a similar way to the New Zealand Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee. This Committee has contributed to the success of the New Zealand government’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic, by scrutinising it as a critical friend at every stage.
Third, from now, on local primary care and public health systems must be central to the response to Covid19.
There are well-grounded fears that unless the conditions for easing the lockdown follow WHO guidance, the result will be a second spike in Covid-19 infection and deaths
The World Health Organisation guidance on transitioning from lockdowns specifies the requirement that:
“Sufficient public health and health system capacities are in place to identify, isolate, test and treat all cases, and to trace and quarantine contacts.”
We are aware that there are significant weaknesses in the government’s centralised and privatised test/trace/track scheme. It sidelines local NHS labs and local public health and environmental health services. Data from the Deloitte/Lighthouse Lab testing system is not being shared with local authorities’ public health departments and GPs.
This makes it impossible for GPs and Councils to put in place proper health care for Covid19+ members of the public, and effective virus suppression measures including contact tracing and isolation support.
At the moment around 20 community-led contact tracing and isolation support pilots are being set up across the country, based on the Sheffield Community Contact Tracers pilot model. This includes at least one pilot in West Yorkshire, which is soon to go live.
We urge West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to make scrutiny of the Integrated Care System’s response to the government’s test/trace/track strategy a key focus before it is too late
We are particularly concerned about how the parallel Public Health and privatised systems can effectively function, without cross purposes.
Please note, we have now sent this letter so there’s no point adding your name to it