Director’s Update October 2021

October 21, 2021

I was hoping not to write about the pandemic this month, but the increases in infections and deaths has changed my mind.

The current position of relying so heavily on the vaccination programme for protection looks increasingly less viable.

We have now fallen behind several European countries in getting first and second dose vaccines to the adult population.

The science suggests that boosters and inoculating children is not as effective at controlling poor outcomes from COVID.

So what’s plan B?

So far the government has resisted calls from NHS professionals and others to increase restrictions such as:

  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and that they need to behave more cautiously
  • Introducing mandatory Covid passports in certain settings
  • Making face coverings compulsory again
  • Advising people to work from home

But how long will they be able to hold back?

The impact on wider health and care services is critical, hospitals and doctors in East Sussex are already extremely busy and things get worse in the winter.

It’s not all doom and gloom, new ways of working are bringing benefits to the public, including wider access to remote and digital services.

Collaboration and partnership working between health and care organisations has increased, with less bureaucracy and speedier decision making.

Healthwatch East Sussex is working with partners across health and care to support initiatives that help restore and improve services.

At the same time, we continue to be the watchdog for East Sussex residents, making sure public concerns are heard by commissioners and providers.

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