The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) are meeting weekly via Teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of today’s call was implementing the new national Test and Trace programme and the local government responsibility for outbreak management with complex settings.

An update from today’s call is as follows:

  1. Good news/gratitude:
  • The DsPH would like to thank all colleagues for their hard work especially as the system moves into implementing the national Test and Trace programme.
  • Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle has agreed to record a podcast for the Kind to your mind campaign.
  1. C&M Outbreak Control Plan – C&M is currently working on an Outbreak Control Plan for complex settings. The aim is for this to be a generic C&M framework with standard operating procedures for various settings (including schools, care homes and hostels) which can be adapted to meet the needs of each local area.  The early draft is expected to be ready by Monday 1 June and the DsPH would like to thank local leads including: Ifeoma Onyia, Chris McBrien, Ruth Du Plessis and Donald Read for helping to compile the framework together.
  1. Governance – The DsPH shared details of the emerging arrangements being discussed for the governance surrounding managing outbreaks, including strategic boards and local forums. More details on this will follow as structures are finalised.
  1. Data – DsPH discussed ensuring good data flows to local places with a new national Joint Biosecurity Centre being established and a proposal for a C&M Smart System combined intelligence function. C&M intelligence teams will consider how to best support DsPH and teams with surveillance for outbreaks whilst the new architecture develops.
  1. Workforce planning – DsPH agreed to further map out the workforce available in local teams to support outbreak prevention and control. Sue Forster updated on a call with Chris Samosa, workforce lead for the C&M Health & Care Partnership to explore training available and options to upscale capacity including bringing back retired public health professionals.

The next DsPH call will be Friday 5 June and a short update will follow.