Covid-19 emergency response needs scrutiny now, for all our sakes! Please support this call!

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

41 comments

  1. Gilda Peterson, Leeds Keep Our NHS Public
    Andrea Engish, ANP and CK999
    Judith Crossland
    Mark Metcalf – Trade Union Liaison Officer, Halifax CLP (personal capacity)
    Shelagh Whitehead
    Vasiliki Skepatari
    Nick Jones, Leeds Keep Our NHS Public
    Anthony Johnson
    John Hedges
    Laura Hedges
    Anna Hedges
    Robert Parker
    June Jones

    Like

  2. As a current chemotherapy patient, I would like to be assured that easing lockdown will not lead to services being swamped and my future treatment being impacted.

    Like

  3. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I would also like detailed information, on how the public will be protected in all key areas, to be made available to the public.

    Like

  4. In the absence of a caring, cohesive and intelligent response to Covid-19 from our national government, we now need to strengthen and coordinate organisation within our local communities and civic bodies. I agree whoeheartedly with this letter. It is also an opportunity to establish better working practices for future challenges in our society.

    Like

  5. I fully support democracy and this letter calling for proper scrutiny of WY&H Integrate Care System.

    Like

  6. I agree wholeheartedly with the demand that West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny Committee should scrutinise the Integrated Care System’s response to the government’s test/trace/track strategy most urgently.
    “No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding;and from that understanding comes support or opposition and both are necessary.” John F. Kennedy.

    Like

  7. I entirely agree that West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny Committee should urgently scrutinise the Integrated Care System’s response to the government’s test/trace/track strategy. Effective public health implementation and democratic accountability demands no less.

    Like

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