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Cllr Dr.Paul Barrow - Report for Parishes - January, 2021

on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 5:57pm

A message from Paul Barrow, District Councillor for Ridgeway Ward, Vale of White Horse

Please don’t forget that if you have any issues that need taking up/addressing, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or on 07557 953862.

Health

There are a number of issues related to health, although not specifically to Covid-19. I have kept the parish councils up-to-date with information on this so please contact the parish council or myself if you feel you need more information.

  • I sit on the county health scrutiny committee (JHOSC) and we have been concerned about the high mortality rate in care homes in Oxfordshire and are seeking assurance that measures have been put in place to prevent this happening in the current wave. I believe they have done this but we want to make sure!
  • You may have seen in the local paper that Oxford Health have assured the future of Wantage Hospital with a range of services which will be run at and from the hospital. The sticking  point is the future of in-patient beds which is currently being discussed with Wantage Town Council. The review of health services in OX12 is being replaced by a full county-wide review. More on this in due course.
  • Our county test-and-trace is working better than the national scheme, I’m pleased to say, picking up a lot of cases missed by the government system. Vaccination has started to be rolled out in Oxfordshire as you read this! Some good news!
  • Primarily (it must be said), as a money-saving measure, a proportion (20%) of hospital services are going to be shared between Oxfordshire, Bucks and West Berks. We don’t know which 20% and how this will be scrutinised. Lots of questions from us to them and I will keep you posted on this.

Electric vehicle charging problems

One of the problems of increased use of electric vehicles is charging where no off-road parking is available. The Park and Charge Oxfordshire project offers an initial alternative solution by providing residents with the opportunity to park for free overnight in council-owned car parks, whilst giving access to top-of-the-range electric charging points. This is being rolled out initially in Bicester and West Oxfordshire.

Oxford – zero emission zone

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have launched a final consultation on proposals for the pilot stage of the Zero Emission Zone for Oxford. This first stage covers an area of central Oxford and is due to be launched in August 2021. It aims to help cut vehicle emissions in the city and improve local air quality. The consultation runs online until 17 January 2021 and can be found at https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/formalzezpilot/consultationHome

New speeding taskforce group

A new speeding taskforce group has been established involving Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner. It aims to include educating drivers about the dangers of breaking the speed limit and helping communities to tackle the issue.

Tackling illegal parking in the Vale

The Vale has agreed to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE).  The move could see responsibility for parking enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council by the end of 2021. This is of most relevance to the towns in the Vale.

Enforcement for on-street parking in the Vale is currently carried out by the police which puts pressure on police resources. 

Following approval by the Vale, working with South Oxon DC, Cherwell DC and OCC, the proposals will now move forward with Oxfordshire County Council submitting a joint CPE application to the government for approval.

Enforcement for off-street car parks in the Vale will continue to be managed by the district council via its contract with Saba.

Roads and flooding

We have had another bout of heavy rain which has led to localised flooding on the A417 and in some of the villages. We are going to put some serious pressure on OCC to resolve some of these problems, some at least of which results from years of neglect of drainage! Watch this space.

Covid-19 vaccination update

It will still take several months for the whole population to be vaccinated and people are asked to be patient and be reassured that they will be invited for a vaccination as soon as possible.

The vaccination programme is being phased in across the county following the national guidance on prioritising patients. For your information, the guidelines can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948353/Priority_groups_for_coronavirus__COVID-19__vaccination_-_advice_from_the_JCVI__2_December_2020.pdf.

Some people have already been vaccinated and others are waiting to be invited.

The groups in order of priority are:

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19 for description of clinically vulnerable individuals.

  • Please do not contact your GP or another NHS service to seek a vaccine – GP practices are still open for providing care to patients and their phones could become swamped, please wait until the NHS contacts you.
  • When the NHS does contact you, please be ready and attend your booked appointments
  • Please continue to follow all the public health guidance to control the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
  • A set of FAQs about the vaccine and the vaccination programme is available (https://www.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/documents/COVID%2019/Advice/Patient%20...). You can also find further information about the vaccine on the www.nhs.uk website. 

Paul Barrow

District Councillor for Ridgeway Ward