The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) met virtually for a short system leadership meeting on Friday 20 March. The focus of the meeting was COVID-19 and the key messages are as follows.

  • PHE - David Hearne from PHE NW updated on the national and regional picture on COVID-19 and how the PHE centre will change how it operates with four new cells forming: Scientific & Technical Advice Cell (STAC), Communications, Local Authorities and Intelligence
  • NHSE/I - Julie Kelly from NHSE/I updated that they were awaiting guidance regarding screening and immunisation services and working with providers as they develop business continuity plans.
  • Local good practice - Each Director then gave an update on how they were responding to the pandemic locally. All areas had set up a strategic “command” group across key partners to lead the response with “cells” underneath to ensure the public were supported and essential services can continue. David Hearne commented on the excellent ‘sensible, level headed and collegiate’ work by local DsPH and teams.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - DsPH discussed challenges and opportunities to obtain PPE and felt it was vital that all health and care staff had access to PPE.  
  • Champs Collaborative Business Continuity Plan - Dawn Leicester updated on the Champs Collaborative business continuity plan. The Collaborative operational delivery plan and funded programmes are being reviewed and elements are being paused to ensure local and Support Team capacity can be redirected to work on COVID-19. 
  • Collaborative working opportunities - DsPH discussed opportunities for collaborative working including: promoting mental health and wellbeing for the workforce and general public by upweighting the PHE campaigns, creating a repository of best practice and lessons learned, commissioning support and strategic public health intelligence collaboration.
  • New Liverpool DPH – Matt Ashton DPH in Sefton will shortly be moving to become DPH in Liverpool. The DsPH would like to wish Matt every success and best wishes in his new role. Margaret Jones will become acting DPH in Sefton.

The C&M DsPH would like to thank all colleagues across the system for their commitment and hard work during this difficult time. Despite all the challenges, everyone has pulled together to work calmly and effectively to help reduce the spread of the virus and support local communities. Thank you to you all, you are making a difference.

The Every Mind Matters campaign has released some new resources to help mental wellbeing during this crisis and DsPH would encourage everyone to take care of their own mental wellbeing and promote the campaign to others.

For the latest Champs Collaborative news round up, please visit the website.