The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Health & Care Partnership (HCP) Prevention Board met virtually on 31 July, chaired by Eileen O’Meara, Clinical Lead and Director of Public Health for Halton. The key updates are as follows:

  1. Eileen O’Meara is now a member of the C&M HCP System Partnership Board and will be taking a paper on 30 August to the Board summarising the public health priorities moving forward post COVID-19. Eileen commented that the current priorities of alcohol harm, CVD, mental wellbeing, physical activity and AMR were still important and had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Dave Sweeney of the HCP updated that the focus for the HCP will be on reducing health inequalities even more than ever following COVID and prevention activity is key to this. Reprioritisation and closer working with local government and system partners will help influence the work.
  3. Lisa Jones from LJMU gave a presentation on the recent rapid evidence review on the direct and indirect impacts on health and wellbeing from COVID. The review found both positive and negative effects and that the impact has not been felt equally across our communities. The Board will use the findings to inform their work programme going forward. The report is available to view here.
  4. Dr Mel Roche commented that a focus on health inequalities is being seen through many national work programmes and three key principles are being incorporated as we recover from COVID
  1. To restore services inclusively
  2. To engage those in greatest need
  3. To protect those at greatest risk
  1. Alcohol update – Ravi Menghani updated on the work programme for reducing alcohol harm. A fundamental underpinning workstream is for Alcohol Care Team (ACT) Competencies. An audit of all ACTs across C&M is in progress and expected to report in September/October with a gap analysis, together with a programme of training and support to all staff, helping them to deliver improved services, consistently across the sub-region.In terms of ACT specification and pathways, liaison with national and local partners has identified that documents issued prior to lockdown are still valid. Adaptions in service provision during lockdown are being evaluated. Digital delivery of IBAs, due to the restrictions on face to face contact during lockdown and evidence of increasing drinking (both local and national), particularly amongst heaviest drinkers, is being considered.  Contact has been made with LA’s in the North West that are currently commissioning the services to understand effectiveness and lessons learned. Discussions with partners around resuming the Fibroscan Project will also be held. The Board agreed that work on the alcohol programme should continue.
  2. Physical activity update – Tom Douglas from Merseyside Sports Partnership updated that they are working with Active Cheshire to develop a costed plan for the September Prevention Board meeting including a physical activity campaign. The campaign will target early years, workplaces and older adults.
  3. CVD/blood pressure – Dr Mel Roche updated that the Happy Hearts website had been updated and relaunched 7 weeks ago and has seen 1000 new users. A Happy Hearts Facebook advertising campaign, targeting deprived populations, has reached 150,000 people twice per week. The kiosks for taking blood pressure are currently paused but the team is looking at restarting them as a way of monitoring blood pressure as well as home monitoring.
  4. Pharmacy – There will be a trial with 11 GP practices in Knowsley for high risk patients (such as those with COPD and Diabetes) to receive blood pressure home monitoring equipment. There is some work to do on the pathway for this but it is a positive step while pharmacies cannot offer BP checks.
  5. AMR update – Raj Rajesh updated that AMR still needs to be a focus as increases in antibiotic prescribing had been seen during March and April as a result of telehealth during COVID. This was in both primary and secondary care. Rates dropped for the month of May but it will be some time before we see the real impact on prescribing rates. Antibiotic guidelines have been completed for C&M which is a great achievement.
  6. Prevention Pledge – Matthew Philpott of Health Equalities Group advised that the Prevention Pledge consultation and engagement phase was completed in February and then the pilot phase with secondary and tertiary care organisations paused due to COVID. There is now a Pledge support pack and expression of interest for organisations wishing to be involved so this will be progressed.
  7. Marmot Community – Work on becoming a Marmot community was paused due to COVID, however, it was agreed that the Prevention Board would seek an update with the Marmot team as to progress.
  8. Obesity Strategy – The recent Government obesity strategy was welcomed by the Prevention Board and the Board agreed it was a good opportunity to focus on encouraging people to exercise and have a healthy diet which will contribute to reducing the risk of CVD.  
  9. The Prevention Board will next meet in September and an update will follow.