Cllr Nick Palmer gives the heads up on what is happening at ‘Your Waverley.’

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Hi all,

Quite a bit to report. Everything I say is based on the best information I can get, but is not “official” – see the Waverley and Surrey sites below for the latest official news.

* Residents  in the highly vulnerable group are being phoned individually by a team on the council to find out if they need help.

A team of 11 have spoken to 1200 people on the initial list, but a new list arrived a couple of days ago with 700 more, so there’s still some way to go. There’s also a problem that some people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers – the council is trying to find ways of contacting them (e.g. through a neighbour) but it can be difficult Sainsbury in Beeston and Tesco in Haslemere are both making progress in getting the vulnerable on their delivery list,

* There remains a significant issue with people who are somewhat less vulnerable but still over 70 or with a somewhat less serious underlying condition – they shouldn’t be taking risks, but aren’t on the “very vulnerable” list. Age Concern is operating an effective volunteer network for the elderly, and the Waverley and Surrey websites have contact numbers for others to ask for help. The challenge is to make sure people know about that.

WW: We didn’t think Age Concern existed any more in Waverley? – Age UK Waverley  was scrapped by the Tories years ago – claimed it wasn’t needed in the borough any more!

Please keep reminding friends and family of these key reference sites:

* The local hospitals are not currently overwhelmed, and as the new infection rate seems to be dipping it looks as though they may get through it without having more than they can cope with (as some London hospitals have been close to doing).

* I’ve had no confirmed reports of a local care home outbreak. I saw one claim of it but the person reporting it on Facebook didn’t give any details despite my asking for them, and we should be sceptical about vague reports in the current climate.

* Generally social isolation seems to be pretty well observed locally, though there have been a few complaints about bonfires, which are unhelpful for people nearby with asthma.

* Biffa is still managing to maintain its services (except street sweeping), with a sickness rare of 15% as before – not all Covid.

To avoid bunching bin collectors together with higher infection risk, times for the routes are being staggered across the day. You can do your part by being patient – frankly we’ll all survive if our bins are collected a few hours later or even next day. If you see the bin collectors, please shout your thanks – they’re doing a brilliant job. Likewise supermarket staff, postal workers, utility engineers and all the other who are keeping society’s wheels turning.

  • Please give some credit to council officials, who are knocking themselves out 7 days a week to stay on top of this, coordinating help to the most vulnerable and ensuring that key services are maintained. If you can avoid making routine enquiries (e.g. about a planning application) during this period that would be great.


National overview

See SW Surrey Labour’s site for the non-partisan interview with a local member in the pharmaceutical industry for the outlook for vaccines, treatments and antibodies tests: (scroll down for the Adrian LaPorta interview).

Nationally, there are four key issues:

  • Shortage of protective clothing and equipment for NHS and care staff
  • Shortage of testing – our rate per head is 1 person in 230 tested, and has now been overtaken even by the US. This seems to be partly an organisational issue – there are repeated reports of testing facilities that are barely used, but also over-stringent Government rules, which mean that underused facilities are turning NHS staff seeking tests away unless they are actually showing symptoms (you can be infected and pass it on without symptoms, so this is a mistaken policy).
  • The waste, so far, of the 750,000 volunteers who were urged to sign up to help the NHS. Virtually none of them appear to have been used because the initiative was announced with fanfare without engaging local authorities to process the offers.
  • The apparent absence of any medium-term strategy. We gather that there will be some sort of relaxation in the some weeks or months, but there is nothing clearer than that. Both ordinary people and businesses are up for working seriously to make a plan work – but we need to know what the plan is?

I am not keen to score political points, but frankly the Government needs to up its game – Britain reacted more hesitantly than most countries, as a result of which the peak has come later, seemingly with many unnecessary deaths, and there are still people on the front line with completely inadequate protection. Giving carers a badge and clapping them are both nice but really not the immediate need.

Tactically, though, I think the national situation is getting slightly easier now, and the danger of NHS hospitals being overwhelmed may have passed – the critical issue there is testing and equipment of staff. It will be a long haul back to normality even if policy improves.

Do keep taking care – it would be silly to catch it now if it’s just passed the peak!

Best wishes

Nick Palmer

Leader, Labour group on Waverley Council

4 thoughts on “Cllr Nick Palmer gives the heads up on what is happening at ‘Your Waverley.’”

  1. Um, WW is right, Age Concern is history. But its descendant AgeUK is going strong at the Surrey level, see . I contacted them early on (being just over 70, pause to stroke beard), and they got back with an offer of help within a few days, though I was able to say I was sorted (my landlady gets deliveries so it seems sensible to share rather than take up two delivery arrangements). The lady said demand was heavy but they were coping and could take on some more if needed.

  2. With my wife clearly in the extremely Vunerable group, and my self in group 2, My experience was that it took 3 weeks to start getting texts telling her she was in the Vunerable group, it took 4 weeks to get emails from the supermarkets saying we could book priority slots. But the slots available were for 22 days time.

    We did receive 2 food boxes week 3 &4 . (thank you) and have stopped them as they didn’t meet diatribe requirements

    My two nearest councils launched their hotlines 3 weeks into lockdown.
    I thought councils did emergency planning drills?

    I have had to break from 12 week shielding to do 4 shopping trips
    And I have had 2 kidney ops, and fit a few other high risk groups.
    From our patient groups this is similar around the Uk.
    Councils are not reacting fast enough.

    Also an 82 year old with a recent hip op found she could no longer book tesco deliveries.

    Councils have not reacted fast enough, delivery slots have gone to the fastest fingers.
    Queueing systems have made it very hard to get meds, food limits have made it hard to buy extra for your neighbour.

    1. Yes, we too have experienced these difficulties particularly with Supermarkets which do not appear to recognise the vulnerable among our growing elderly population.

      We well remember when Waverley’s very own Age Concern boasted an army of gardeners, staff and volunteers who had a valuable database of the most vulnerable older people in the borough, but when the crash and burn Tories were in control they did exactly that – crashed it and let it burn along with hundreds of thouands of pounds of the taxpayers’ money which set it up under a Liberal Democrat administration, with the support of LABOUR COUNCILLORS – THE LEGENDARY DENNINGBERGS.

      We have heard from vulnerable old people they are calling on Age UK’s in Sussex for help!

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