Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 9 June 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108


Note No. Item



Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests and the nature of that interest, including the existence and nature of the party whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.


Any Member with an Affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest made.


There were no indications that members would be participating while under the party whip.



Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no items of urgent business.


Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


No submissions had been made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.



Minutes of previous meetings pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 7 April and 18 May 2022.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 7 April and 18 May 2022 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.



Work Programme Update

Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairs to provide verbal updates on the work programme and highlight any proposed changes such as scope, scheduling or duration.


Environment and Communities


The final meeting of integrated enforcement review was on 14 June where the Panel would present its findings and recommendations. The review report was due to be considered by the Commission at its July meeting. Scoping had begun for the next review which would focus on enforcement strategies and policies. In Q4 the Panel would review the implementation of the recommendations from the Registered Social Landlords review.


Education, Skills and Growth


The review on SEND was at the stage of developing recommendations. It had taken longer than anticipated as the Panel had interviewed more witnesses than originally planned. Representatives from Croydon Council had presented their SEND approach to members of the Panel and council officers. Scoping had begun on the next review which would focus on county lines and child exploitation. In Q4 the Panel would review the implementation of the recommendations from the Community Infrastructure review.


Health and Care


The final stage of the mental health review had been taking to the report to the Health and Wellbeing Board which completed recommendation 5. The Chair thanked Councillor Birch, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board for facilitating this. A Panel meeting was being scheduled to discuss the next review. The Chair reported he was attending the Disability Access Forum on 15 June to discuss with the forum members the Panel’s blue badge review.


Understanding the issues facing residents accessing GP surgeries pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission are keen to understand the issues facing residents accessing GP surgeries. They have invited representatives from Healthwatch Bracknell Forest and the Clinical Commissioning Group to provide a briefing to discuss the issues and in particular address:


·        patients’ experiences

·        statistics around the number of surgeries and ratio of patients to surgery and per doctor

·        the governance structure, organisations which influence GP surgeries, management of each surgery and factors driving mergers of surgeries

·        effects on other services from this increased demand

·        medical arrangements planning for an ageing population


Councillors are asked to submit technical questions in advance. 


Sitting as the Strategic Health Scrutiny Committee the Commission invited Tess Scott from Healthwatch Bracknell Forest, and Fiona Slevin-Brownand Dr Annabel Buxton from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to address the meeting in order to provide an overview on how well current health provisions meet existing and emerging needs.


The Healthwatch Bracknell Forest’s presentation relating to the review of access to GP services noted:


·       Healthwatch’s access to GP-led services project would provide high level feedback of primary care in Southeast England. 347 patients in Bracknell Forest responded to the survey as part of the project.

·       Main findings of the survey included patient frustration with lengthy telephone queues as they tried to contact their surgery and the availability of consultations. Telephone and online consultations had mixed feedback as some patients preferred this approach.

·       The findings also found that there was varied understanding among patients on the pressures of primary care and the way the triage system worked. There was positive feedback in terms of staff ability to demonstrate empathy when dealing with patient enquiries. A main theme of the responses was a concern that lack of face-to-face consultations could lead to an inferior service.

·       A website and telephone review was carried out in December 2021 which focused on all GPs in the Bracknell Forest area. The top three changes that Healthwatch recommended were removing lengthy Covid messages from the automated telephone welcome, designing a standardise template for local GP’s website homepage and explaining the triage access. Some GP surgeries had already adopted the website template and it had received positive feedback from patients.

·       The final report would be published in June 2022.


The Clinical Commissioning Group’s presentation advised:

·       General practice has adapted to new models of access rapidly to deal with the demands and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. NHS Digital data shows that general practice appointment levels have increased when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Despite this increase in capacity, patients continue to report difficulties in access in many areas.

·       A sustained significant increase in demand for all appointments since April 2021. Peaked in March 2022 at nearly 20,000.

·       Across the system there is an increasing demand across all channels. Significantly increased demand for appointments, with more patients considering their condition to be urgent. Particular increase in the working age, generally well population accessing general practice and an increase in “health anxiety” and mental health consultations. Clinical capacity stretched across routine, urgent, long term condition management and preventative services

·       General practice workforce and premise pressures experienced in Bracknell Forest include increased staff turnover, workforce capacity being stretched across all services, absence of staff for both Covid and non-Covid related reasons and longstanding premises pressures across surgeries.

·       Over the last 6 months the CCG has carried out wide ranging engagement to better understand the views of local people about access to health care services. These activities include surveys, focus groups, working with partners, listening across social media channels and a continued commitment to supporting local health and wellbeing charity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.