Portsmouth Labour Councillors update on the weekly Covid-19 conference call briefing for City Councillors from the Chief Exec and other senior staff at the council. They were given updates on the council response to covid-19 and asked questions to officers that you have been raising with them over the past week. Updates came from across the council on the Tipner testing site, PPE supply, social care and mental health support. It’s clear everyone at the council is working incredibly hard under what are difficult and challenging circumstances.
Cllr Stephen Morgan MP, the Labour group leader, asked for updates on the council’s PPE supply and the council’s partnership with Solent NHS trust and service providers to support the mental health of residents and those working on the frontline.
Stephen said: “We must ensure local services are working together to ensure the next pandemic is not a mental health one. That means investment in support services now, and ensuring those working on the frontline have access to help for as long as they need it. I welcome work underway to plan for services when communities start to recover”.
Speaking at the weekly update, Cllr George Fielding asked for clarity around the involvement of private companies in the Tipner testing facility. The suite is run by the Department of Health but has outsourced to Deloitte and Serco to carry out actual testing and managing the traffic on site.
Cllr George Fielidng said: “Following reports of issues at other testing sites across the country with private companies’ handling of samples and results going missing, I wanted to ensure that this was being addressed by the council to minimise risk of spread because of wrong results. I am assured this is being addressed by the council’s chief exec and the wider LRF (local resilience forum)”.
Raising concerns around dentistry access in the city after a number of residents got in touch, Cllr Graham Heaney said: “I’ve asked the council about this important issue and for further details on the plans for a new dentistry hub for those needing treatment. Those in need of a dentist should contact their practice who will carry out a telephone assessment. They will be able to offer advice, prescribe medication and referrals to the new hub if they believe you need urgent care”.
Charles Dickens Cllr Cal Corkery asked council officers about testing in care homes in light of the statement from Government last week that care home residents would now be getting tested. Officers confirmed that this had not yet been rolled out in Portsmouth and this was being followed up with government through the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum.
Cal said: “This is yet another example of government saying one thing but the reality on the ground being quite another. Testing in care homes is essential to protecting staff and residents as well as monitoring the spread of the virus. More must be done to support those on the front line who are doing their best to keep services running and people safe.”
Our Councillors and city MP Stephen Morgan have also been working with trade unions, local businesses and NHS providers in the city this week as well. Stephen also caught up with Portsmouth police and the district commander about policing issues in his postbag from constituents. Stephen was assured by the local police force’s common sense approach with communities and enforcement measures, being taken where irresponsible behaviours are observed.
Cllr Judith Smyth and Graham Heaney have also been raising the idea of extending the weekend road closures along the seafront to a more permanent arrangement whilst in lockdown. We are pleased to hear that the administration have taken on board this feedback and this will now happen from the 1st May!
If you’ve got questions you’d liked answered or want our team to raise something on the next call you get in touch with them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find lots of answers to common questions on Stephen Morgan MP’s website by clicking here: http://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/covid-19-frequently-asked-question/