Council chief executive accused of 'indifference' over Covid-19 response

Fenland Council chief executive Paul Medd (left) has been accused of 'indifference' by Whittlesey town councillor Eamonn...

Fenland Council chief executive Paul Medd (left) has been accused of 'indifference' by Whittlesey town councillor Eamonn Dorling (right) - Credit: Archant

A town councillor believes a response from the chief executive to questions he asked about Fenland District Council’s Covid-19 response demonstrates “indifference to the most serious issue in living memory”. 

Cllr Eamonn Dorling of Whittlesey Town Council raised his concerns during last Thursday’s meeting.  

He asked what is being done in Fenland to effectively communicate the current situation and enforcement of legislation. 

And he also wanted to know Fenland’s performance in respect of vaccinations of the four most vulnerable cohorts and how does it compare with the best in England. 

The questions were forwarded to chief executive Paul Medd the following day by Whittlesey town clerk Sue Piergianni. 

Cllr Dorling said of a response by Mr Medd: “To be honest the platitudes demonstrate indifference towards the most serious issue in living memory.” 

Cllr Dorling told the town council: “The NHS is under immense pressure; there is no evidence that vaccinations will reduce the infection rate leading to hospitalisations and possibly death. 

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“In education there are concerns about who will be included in the following prioritisation of vaccination cohorts after the first four have been dealt with.” 

Mr Medd replied that since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic “a significant multi-agency approach to communications and engagement has been implemented within Fenland”.  

He said regular updates had been provided to both elected members and the public.  

He said the council uses press releases, its website, social media and “individualised resident correspondence where appropriate” to get over their messages. 

There had also been ongoing communications with businesses where Government business support grants are concerned, and public statements made by the director of public health, Dr Liz Robin”.  

Mr Medd said town councillors had been kept updated by their district councillors and the overall work was being co-ordinated through the county local resilience forum.  

He added that the council’s environmental team was leading on the work in Fenland to enforce the Government’s rules on COVID-19. 

“They will intervene where there is evidence that either residents or businesses are failing to comply,” said Mr Medd. 

“In order to support such interventions, the council will work with police colleagues if/when required.” 

On vaccinations, Mr Medd said Cllr Dorling would need to contact the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group. 

Cllr Dorling said he had replied to Mr Medd “which I am sure will generate no action at all”.  

He also said he would contact the commissioning group “but the rates are still much too high in Fenland. 

“I have daily figures from Public Health England since October 20 for Fenland, Peterborough, Huntingdonshire, South Holland, East Northamptonshire and East Cambridgeshire - I am sending that data to Mr Medd for his comments”. 

Mr Medd rounded off his response to Cllr Dorling with the footnote that “I trust that you find the responses to your questions both helpful and informative”.