Coronavirus (COVID 19): Advisory Subgroup on Public Health Threat Assessment minutes: 4 August 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the Advisory Sub-Group on Public Health Threat Assessment, held on 4 August 2020.

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies 

The chair welcomed members to the fourth meeting of the group and invited the following, first-time attendees to introduce themselves: Andrew Buist, David Connell, Martin Connor, Julie Lusk, Kerri Neylon, Alison White

Apologies: Lillian Cringles, Joanna MacDonald, Jim McMenamin

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.

Vaccination programme

The group considered draft advice on vaccination.

There was a discussion of the different types of premises where vaccinations could be administered and the role that GPs would play in this. 

It was agreed that Covid assessment centres should not be used for a vaccination programme.

It was suggested that the retired medical workforce could be called upon to facilitate a vaccination programme.

The chair suggested that an improvement science approach and the sharing of health board’s individual plans would benefit the organisation of a vaccination programme. 

The group noted the importance of considering equalities issues in relation to the location and timetabling of a vaccination programme. 

It was noted that health board remobilisation plans had been sent to the Scottish Government and that these would show the various issues faced.

It was suggested that premises identified in heath board’s existing flu pandemic plans might be suitable locations for a vaccination programme. 

The chair highlighted the importance of data collection in relation to a vaccination programme. 

Point of care testing 

The group was given a briefing by Public Health Scotland on the methods and challenges related to Point of Care testing. 

The group was given an overview by the Scottish Government’s COVID Testing and Contact Tracing Policy Division of the new Point of Care rapid tests; DNA Nudgebox and Rapid LamPORE Test.

The group discussed where the tests should be placed in hospitals and in the community. It is important to consider where patients are placed while they are waiting for results.  

The group agreed the importance of seeing independent data in relation to both tests. 

The importance of an effective public health information approach in reducing the spread of Covid-19 was noted. 

It was noted that pathways for testing where being developed by the Scottish Government.

The chair highlighted the importance of establishing the different pathways for Covid-19 testing in different communities.

The group had a discussion about the universal testing of all emergency admissions to hospitals. 

The group noted that individuals could be tested for Covid-19 and Flu at the same time. 

The chair noted making recommendations on testing pathways and the linking of patient data to testing would be important for the group.

Initial report on preparing for a winter emergency

The group had an initial discussion of its draft report on preparing for a winter emergency. The chair invited written comments via the secretariat.

The chair suggested that the report would be used to encourage an improvement science approach and the sharing of best practice between health boards.

The group discussed care home testing and also to what extent asymptomatic cases had resulted in the spread of Covid-19 in the community. 

AOB and date of next meeting 

The group agreed that the next meeting would be on Wednesday 12 August.

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