working together to improve health and wellbeing in Cheshire & Merseyside

December 2014


Welcome to the final news bulletin of 2014. During a time of change and challenge we trust you will agree that 2014 has seen many effective public health campaigns and projects delivered. The Directors of Public Health would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have contributed to this success as well as wishing all colleagues and partners a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

If you have any feedback regarding this issue or would like to suggest content for future issues please email:

Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health, St Helens & Chair of the champs Directors of Public Health Executive Board.




Directors' News

The hypertension work is gathering pace with forthcoming insight work to be commissioned collectively to better understand professional perceptions about how to improve the quality of high blood pressure care. Halton is also commissioning a complementary piece of insight on public perceptions. An action learning event with PHE national team is planned for 9th March 2015 and will also give the opportunity to engage both the public and health professionals.

The collaborative service quarterly performance reports were given by each lead Director with busy work programmes in all areas and some excellent achievements. The support team is working on establishing its new business model, following an evaluation by Directors of Public Health (DsPH) and teams, and further information on this will be circulated in the New Year.

Pat Nichol presented the draft Suicide Reduction Strategy 2015 – 2020 where the ambitious vision is to eliminate suicides in Cheshire & Merseyside. The Board gave their support to the plan and received an excellent Suicide Audit Report prepared by Steve Knuckey from St Helens.

Read more

The Board received a paper on Sector Led Improvement by Adam Major proposing a new framework which has also been presented to the commissioning leads group earlier in December. The Directors supported the framework with the topics to be decided at their January development meeting.

Liz Gaulton presented a paper on the 0-5 health child programme and its transition and transformation to local government. The paper details work to date and the outstanding issues which are being monitored by the strategic leads group. The group is exploring the possibility of focusing on the 2 – 2.5 year review as a key opportunity to influence both transformation and public health outcomes which the Directors supported.

Mel Sirotkin, Centre Director from Cheshire & Merseyside PHE, gave an update on the PHE local centre changes and the weekly calls for managing the Ebola crisis. Katie Dee, Deputy Director, presented a paper setting out the principles and process for deciding joint priorities with the 9 local authorities, the collaborative service and PHE in 2015/16 which will be discussed at the January development meeting.


 NEWS - An evaluation of the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative Service.

The Directors of Public Health commissioned the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University to undertake a brief evaluation of the collaborative service and gather feedback from DsPH and teams.

Now the report is complete the Directors of Public Health (DsPH) have carefully considered the report and recommendations from the evaluation and have proposed some next steps. A focus group with representatives from local teams will take place in February to consider the recommendations further.

Can we once again thank everyone who completed the evaluation questionnaire. Your valued feedback is helping shape the future of the collaborative service.

To read the response from the DsPH, the next steps and the executive summary from the main evaluation report click here.


 CAMPAIGN UPDATE - Cheshire and Merseyside Domestic Abuse Campaign

A campaign focusing on domestic abuse from a public health perspective will run from February 2015 across the nine Cheshire & Merseyside Local Authority areas.

The broad aim will be to reduce the acceptability of domestic abuse–to take steps to ‘de-normalise’ domestic abuse amongst the public, who will be engaged to offer their support for measures to tackle domestic abuse in communities. The campaign development is based on the insight that:

  • Domestic abuse is seen as a private issue -so do not intervene; there may be repercussions
  • There exists a broad acceptance that domestic abuse is the social norm in some communities
  • The default opinion is that domestic abuse is mainly in “working class women”
  • People do want domestic abuse to reduce

To read a more detailed briefing note on the campaign click here.:


 NEWS - champs public health collaborative working alongside PHE to tackle Hypertension

Champs public health collaborative service, via the healthcare leads group, is pleased to be working alongside Public Health England (PHE) and a number of partners across local and national government, the health service, voluntary sector and academia with the ambition of improving the prevention, early detection and management of high blood pressure in Cheshire & Merseyside. A joint action learning workshop is planned for 9th March.

PHE has produced a report called "Tackling high blood pressure: from evidence into action" to provide evidence-based advice on how partners including local government, the health system and others can effectively identify, treat and prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

View the report here.


 NEWS - Funding Secured to Develop a Perfect Depression Care Pathway

Congratulations to the Cheshire and Merseyside Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network as they have been awarded funding to develop a 'perfect depression care pathway'. This will form a part of the new Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Reduction strategy.

The mental health network will lead the development of the new pathway, working with service users and alongside mental health experts at Liverpool John Moores University plus a wide range of stakeholders across Cheshire and Merseyside.  

Click here to read more


 NEWS - Fixed Odds Betting Terminal use and problem gambling across the Liverpool City Region

Liverpool Public Health Observatory (LPHO) was recently commissioned by the Merseyside Directors of Public Health to deliver a report on Fixed Odds Betting Terminal use and problem gambling across the Liverpool City Region and the project report can be accessed here. In Cheshire & Merseyside there are over 5,000 problem gamblers.

Margaret Carney, Health Lead for the Liverpool City Region Chief Executives and Chief Executive of Sefton Council and Liz Gaulton, Chair of Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Executive Board and Director of Public Health for St Helens Council, have written to the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and the Public Health Ministers to highlight the negative impact on health of fixed odds betting terminals.

Respondents across the Liverpool City Region who were interviewed by LPHO reported a wide range of negative impacts from problem gambling, including impact on family life, relationships and employment, as well as financial impacts. Problem gambling can lead to mental health problems with sleep difficulties, due to anxiety, and has a ‘ripple’ effect, as one person’s gambling problems can impact upon a lot of people. Staff who worked with people who had problems with gambling reported that their families were at risk of anxiety and depression.

The letter gives support for the recent Private Member’s bill - Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (Betting Shops) Bill 2014-15 - that received its first reading in parliament in July but also asks for additional powers for public health through the licensing process.

LPHO would welcome your feedback on the project and the report. Please answer six very brief questions by clicking here.


 NEWS - Developing the talents within champs public health collaborative.

Congratulations go to Helen Cartwright, Commissioning Improvement Lead at champs support team, Richard Holbrook, Head of Public Health Strategy and Intelligence at Knowsley and Helen Williams, Health of Public Health Programmes at St Helens following their acceptance on to the North West Public Health England (PHE) Public Health System Talent Management Programme (PHSTM).

The six month programme aims to develop those with the potential to take on influential roles in the public health and well-being system in near future. 

To learn more about the programme click here


 CAMPAIGN UPDATE - Drink Wise Challenge

Drink Wise aims to reduce alcohol harm and is collaboratively commissioned by the Directors of Public Health.

To coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week 2014 at the end of November, the Drink Wise Challenge was rolled out. This online and paper based challenge aimed to kick start conversations around alcohol and open up the debate directly with the public to ask if we need to do more to end pocket money pricing and tackle the pricing and availability of alcohol to children.  

Find the Drink Wise Challenge online here:



 CAMPAIGN UPDATE - Spread the word not flu

Almost two months since the launch of the seasonal flu vaccine campaign, the first monthly uptake figures show an encouraging start, but Public Health England (PHE) is urging all at risk people not to ‘put off’ getting the vaccination until flu is circulating more widely. 

Compared to the same period last year, there has been a 4.2% increase in vaccination amongst pregnant women, a 2.2% increase in over 65s, and a 1.8% increase for people under 65s at risk. 

To read more click here.


 CAMPAIGN UPDATE - Dry January  - Can you stay off the booze for 31 days?

Dry January is a campaign from Alcohol Concern, a national charity trying to change the conversations and attitudes people have about alcohol.

To amplify activity and help increase engagement and sign ups local areas can order resources to engage with the public and with employees. 

Local authorities wanting to order resources can do so by emailing

To learn more about the campaign click here.


 EVENT - Beyond Greenspace: How can nature create healthier and wealthier places?

The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice is hosting an event in collaboration with Nature Connected – the Liverpool City Region Local Nature Partnership – and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network.

People enjoy visiting and creating green spaces. But, whilst we may instinctively believe that parks and open spaces improve our quality of life and our physical and mental well-being, the inter-relationships between nature, health and well-being are complex and establishing a strong evidence base to change policy and practice is not straightforward.

To read more about the event and for booking information click here.