Havering’s Health and Wellbeing Board is a high powered forum for the Council, the NHS, local GPs and the Council’s directors to discuss the ramifications of the pandemic.1 The 28th April meeting included GPs who offered expertise despite not being full members of the Board.
There have been eight meetings of the Board since the pandemic struck. Damian White has attended only two. The pandemic has been catastrophic for Havering, killing nearly a thousand residents. The Board discuss the ramifications of Covid-19 some of which are, as yet, unknown.
At the 28th April meeting, which Damian didn’t attend,2 there was a discussion of Long Covid. This illness is new and not yet understood. At its worst, it’s catastrophic and could be incurable. Neither Havering’s director of Public Health or the NHS know the scale of Long Covid. They know it’s emerging as a medical and social challenge.
Apart from the chair, Jason Frost, none of the other councillors were present. None of them offered apologies. They appear to treat this critically important forum as trivial. The worst offender is Damian White3. His behaviour is a disgraceful dereliction of duty. There should be a vote of ‘No Confidence’ from his own party or they will suffer the consequences.
Addendum One: Membership of the Board
Elected Members: Cllr Robert Benham, Cllr Jason Frost, (Chairman) Cllr Damian White, Cllr Nisha Patel.
Officers of the Council: Andrew Blake-Herbert, Chief Executive, Barbara Nicholls, Director of Adult Services, Mark Ansell, Interim Director of Public Health
Havering Clinical Commissioning Group: Dr Atul Aggarwal, Chair, Havering Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG) Ceri Jacob, BHR CCG
Other Organisations: Anne-Marie Dean, Healthwatch Havering, Jacqui Van Rossum, NELFT and Fiona Peskett, BHRUT
Addendum Two: Board meeting 23rd June 2021
All four councillors attended this meeting for the first time since the 21st October 2020. Damian went off camera at 41 minutes and didn’t reappear and was silent during the period he was there.
1 These are the Minutes of the most recent meeting 28th April 2021 For enquiries on this agenda please contact (havering.gov.uk)
2 Neither did Robert Benham, deputy Leader, or Nisha Patel. None of them offered apologies to the chair, Jason Frost. Nisha Patel has missed three meetings out of eight (two without apologies).
3 See Damian White and Havering’s Pandemic – Politics in Havering