Cheshire and Merseyside given £3.3 million to further develop local contact tracing offer

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has awarded Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health £3.3 million to further develop an integrated system for effective, efficient and resilient contact tracing in the subregion.   

The funding, offered by DHSC to all local authorities in England, will be used to enable stronger collaboration across the national-to-local system with regards to delivery of test, trace services. This aim is swift and effective follow up of cases and contacts to reduce onward transmission. The resource will also ensure dedicated capacity in the Cheshire and Merseyside Contact Tracing hub until March 2022, enabling greater system resilience for any future rise in cases of COVID-19. 

Directors also seek to accelerate the development of a future all-hazards model for Health Protection in Cheshire and Merseyside and create a sustainable model for future epidemics and infectious diseases.   

A total of £12 million has been awarded to areas across the country to improve contact tracing and self-isolation with innovative and creative ideas, including providing alternative accommodation for people in overcrowded households, social care support such as increasing existing social care support for vulnerable adults and providing ‘buddying’ services for people whose mental health has been affected by lockdown and the variant outbreaks, and language communications support for individuals where English isn’t their first language. 

The Champs Public Health Collaborative, which is led by Cheshire and Merseyside’s nine Directors of Public Health, will use the funding to focus on four key areas of local contact tracing:  

  1. Creation of an integrated, one-team contact tracing system for Cheshire and Merseyside  
  2. Piloting better day-to-day support for cases and contacts self isolating 
  3. Further developing the local Case Management System to provide additional functionality 
  4. Developing a public and stakeholder communications campaign  

Cheshire and Merseyside’s lead Director for contact tracing is Julie Webster, Director of Public Health for Wirral, who will oversee this work. Operations will be managed by the Collaborative’s Support Team, led by Dawn Leicester, Director and Helen Cartwright, Head of Programmes.