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Agenda item

First Annual Report on Immunisations and Screening in Slough


The Service Lead, Public Health introduced the first Annual Report on Immunisations and Screening in Slough.


It was explained that NHS England was responsible for commissioning screening and immunisation programmes throughout England.  Locally this was co-ordinated and managed across Thames Valley by the Public Health Commissioning Team at NHS England, South East.


Historically, Slough had some of the lowest uptake of screening and immunisation programmes in the South East of England, and this contributed to poor health in adults and children.  The uptake of screening and immunisation acted as a marker of health inequality in certain groups; therefore it was particularly important that the Public Health Team remained vigilantly aware of these issues. 


Some of the recent successes that had benefitted the local population included programmes to increase uptake, and improvements to data quality to allow closer monitoring of progress.  For example, the development of a GP toolkit to provided advice to primary care employees to improve the immunisation uptake of patients; the toolkit was now being used widely across practices in Slough.  In addition, data on immunisations delivered in primary care were now auto-extracted from the clinical record and entered electronically onto the Child Health Information System; this was both more efficient and improved the accuracy of the data. 


Joint working had been undertaken by Slough Borough Council, the school immunisation provider and NHS England to address cultural and language barriers to improving the uptake of immunisations and screening in groups with historically lower vaccination rates. 


The Chair then invited comments and questions from Members.


During the course of the discussion, the following points were raised:


·  The Healthwatch representative asked why the availability of the flu vaccine had been delayed.  The Service Lead, Public Health explained that NHS England distributed the vaccine; she agreed to find out if there had been a national delay or if this had been localised to Slough.

·  A Member asked what percentage of children in Slough had received a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation.  In response, the Panel was referred to Table 2 on page 22 of the report that set out the uptake statistics for children aged up to five years old in Slough compared to the national uptake.  It was reported that between 2016-2019 83.7% of children, aged five, had received their first and second MMR immunisations; this was slightly below the national average of 86.4%. 

·  In relation to the Bowel Scope screening programme, it was queried why a one-off test was only offered to people aged 55 years old.  It was explained that the programme was currently being rolled out, but was not yet available to the entire population.

·  It was highlighted that two out of ten people were affected by prostate cancer; a Member asked if there was a screening programme in place to detect for this form of cancer.  It was explained that prostate cancer was more difficult to accurately screen for than other forms of cancer.  Consequently, a misdiagnosis could give people a false assurance or cause unnecessary anxiety.  During the discussion, the importance of assessing the particular health needs affecting members of the black and minority ethnic populations was noted.  For example, it had been recognised that prostate cancer disproportionately affected Afro-Caribbean males.  The Service Lead, Public Health agreed to provide  some information to the Panel regarding Prostate Cancer screening.

·  It was noted that steps had been taken by Thames Valley Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) to improve access and the uptake of AAA screening in Slough by working with local faith groups to understand the needs of populations who had historically been less likely to take up the offer of screening.  As a result, the programme had recently revised its local screening clinic times to provide better access to men in the Muslim community.  A Member asked what more could be done to engage with residents of Slough.  In response, it was reported that on 6th February 2020 a Loneliness and Social Isolation event was being held at The Curve, Slough.  The event would provide an opportunity to explore different means of tackling isolation and building relationships with community groups.

·  Concern was raised that not enough was done by the Council to pro-actively raise awareness and prevent illness occurring.  It was explained that funding arrangements were complex and the reduction of the local government grant had had a detrimental impact on the resources available to promote initiatives.  The Council undertook collaboration work with partnership organisations to promote initiatives and communicate with residents.

·  A Member asked what arrangements were in place to ensure that children entering the community from abroad received the necessary immunisations.  It was explained that when a person registered with a GP, if necessary they were offered a full immunisation ‘catch up programme’ regardless of the age of the person.


On behalf of the Panel, the Chair thanked the Service Lead, Public Health for the report.


Resolved –


(a)  That the Service Lead, Public Health be requested to circulate information to the Panel regarding prostate cancer screening.


(b)  That the actions being taken to deliver the national programmes for immunisation and screening, and the progress in tackling health inequalities in Slough be noted. 


(c)  That an update on the progress of the Slough Local Action Plans for Immunisations and Screening be provided to the Health Scrutiny Panel annually (around June), to ensure the actions addressed the relatively low uptake of immunisations, and health inequalities relating to screening in Slough. 


(d)  That an Annual Report on Immunisations and Screening from the NHS England / NHS Improvement be provided to the Health Scrutiny Panel in January 2021.

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