The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) held their weekly call, with colleagues from PHE North West on Friday 27 November. The update is as follows:

COVID Mass vaccination programme – Dianne Draper, Screening and Immunisation lead for C&M, joined the DsPH to outline the plans for mass vaccination to priority groups. Sites have been identified and the “green book” with guidance on the vaccine has been released (subject to MHRA approval). Dianne will continue to update DsPH as things progress.

Exceedance report – Sam Ghebrehewet from PHE North West reported that rates are continuing to decline, however the decline is slower for the over 60s. Schools are now confidently dealing with cases and there has been some indication that outbreaks in care homes are reducing.

C&M contact tracing hub – DsPH discussed the new hub activity update from the CSU which is welcomed. The update will be further improved with accompanying commentary. There are many case studies showing successes within the hub which will be written up and shared.

MAST update – DsPH discussed how they are prioritising high risk settings to receive access to the 10,000 rapid lateral flow tests. Local staff are taking part in training with the military following the Liverpool pilot on the logistics involved.  Details are being worked out around how much community testing will be possible in each area.

Good news and gratitude:

  • Progress on a rapid health protection training offer to be rolled out for hub and local authority colleagues, building on an existing Master’s programme delivered by PHE.
  • The DsPH expressed their thanks and gratitude to Marie Coughlin who has been instrumental in supporting and progressing the C&M cancer screening uptake project and Stephen Flannagan who has been key to the establishment of the C&M hub as they move away from these programmes of work and onto new challenges.